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Camel Trek

Introduction

On this Mongolian Camel Trek you will explore the little traveled Ikh Nartiin Chuluu Nature Reserve in the eastern part of the Gobi Desert. This diverse upland area is consisting of rock formations, grasslands and desert steppe and it is often hot and very dry. There is a population of approximately 1000 Argali sheep (Ovis Ammon), the largest species of wild mountain sheep in the world. Although there is no guarantee to see them, they are actually not that shy here. The rocky outcrops are home to about 200 Siberian Ibex (Capra Sibirica) as well. Sometimes herds of Mongolian Gazelle (Procapra Gutturosa) migrate through the area. The reserve also has a sizeable population of Eurasia‘s biggest vulture, the Cinereous Vulture (Aegypius Monacha). We will set out towards the East Gobi on the Trans-Mongolian railway line. For three days, we will explore this spectacular East Gobi Desert area on foot (If you are an experienced horse rider, a horse may be rented for you). We will use our seasonal Ikh Nart Wilderness Ger Camp and, while on the trek, will set up our own private Wilderness Camp of gers (Mongolian yurts). All our luggage and equipment will be loaded on to camel carts in the same way as Mongolian nomadic herders used to transport their belongings, when moving from one pasture to another. Mongolian nomads (herders) come and go to the Ikh Nart Nature Reserve area. As they are essentially reliant on pastures and any precipitation in the dry environment, they migrate a lot. The Gobi nomads (herders) are very interesting, hospitable and hardy people.

Trip Details

Itinerary
Tour Dates
Prices
Practicalities

DAY 1: TO IKH NART NATRURE RESERVE
Our Mongolian Camel Trek will start by picking you up from your hotel in Ulaanbaatar at 08h00 and transfer to the Ulaanbaatar railway station. Depart by the slow train at 09h00 and spend 6h20 travelling southeast over the grassland steppe, which gradually turns into more arid Gobi Steppe. Disembark at Shivee Gobi railway station, the next stop after the town of Choir. The train platform is seemingly in the middle of no­where, but actually there is a small town called Shivee Gobi just 1½ km distant. It serves a nearby open pit coal mine. From there we will drive 60 km to our Red Rock Wilderness Ger Camp, which is located on its own, right next to the Ikh Nart Nature Reserve.

DAY 2: CAMEL TREK
Today we load your luggage and all provisions to the camel carts and set out on our guided walk through the reserve. It is labyrinth of rock formations and it is easy to get lost. We explore the ruins of a temple, that has been destroyed in the Stalinist purges of the 1930s. Because of horrible stories, locals avoid the place. There are fantastic petroglyphs in the area as well as ancient graves from Hunnu Empire, Turkic Khanate Empire, Imperial and Manchurian times. All layers of Mongolian archaeology are present. We will arrive at our remote cozy ger camp at Elst, which has been set up ahead of time. The name Elst indicates this is an area of minor sand dunes.

DAY 3: ELST AREA
We will remain in the ger camp at Elst for another night and explore this wild area of rock formations, sands and grasses, growing up to two meters high. There is also a small ephemeral (seasonal) lake, which sometimes has desert tadpole shrimps (Triops spp.), a relative of other tadpole shrimps found in the deserts of the Middle East and the south­western United States. The surroundings are rich in petroglyphs and rock art, and we may come across Argali Sheep and Siberian Ibex as we explore this dramatic area.

DAY 4: MANKHAN ELS
Today we load the camel caravan with our luggage. We walk north to the Mankhan Els area, situated at the edge of the Ikh Nart plateau. The dunes here are much higher than at Elst and offer fabulous views over the vast desert steppe plains below. We set up our camp here for the night.

DAY 5: TO ULAANBAATAR
At mid-morning, we set out for our journey back to Ulaanbaatar by car or minibus. We will drive until the tarmac road, and further on we will visit some remote Buddha statues in the rock faces at Choiriin Bogd Mountain. It is a detour to the east from the ugly little Soviet built town of Choir, 80 km away from camp. Choir is also a railway station along the Trans-Mongo­lian Railway between Ulaanbaatar and China. We will have a picnic lunch and then we will continue the drive back to the capital which takes approximately 4½ hours.

DATES EX. ULAANBAATAR:

CML01: 16-20 May (Thursday/Monday)
CML02: 26-30 May (Sunday/Thursday)
CML03: 05-09 June (Wednesday/Sunday)
CML04: 15-19 June (Saturday/Wednesday)
CML05: 25-29 June (Tuesday/Saturday)
CML06: 05-09 July (Friday/Tuesday) Naadam opt
CML07: 12-16 July (Friday/Tuesday) Naadam opt
CML08: 22-26 July (Monday/Friday)
CML09: 02-06 August (Friday/Tuesday)
CML10: 12-16 August (Monday/Friday)
CML11: 22-26 August (Thursday/Monday)
CML12: 02-06 September (Monday/Friday)
CML13: 12-16 September (Thursday/Monday)

PRICE EX ULAANBAATAR:

2 – 8 members: USD 900 per person

Single supplement (4n): USD 680

Rent of riding camel: USD 140

Private trip supplement:

2/4 members USD 300 per trip

5/up members no charge

Children: 0-2 years free. 3-12 years 25-50%.

Group discounts available on request for 4 persons or more.

TRANSPORT:
On this tour, apart from the short drive to the starting point of our trek and back to the city we will not rely on any motor vehicle support. Instead we utilize traditional wooden carts, that Mongolian families occasionally still use, when moving from one pasture to another. Here we will travel by camel cards and camels.

ACCOMMODATION:
The gers in our mobile camp equipped with foldable bed-cots and full bedding. There is no need to bring a sleeping bag. The showers and toilets are in traditional Mongolian tents. A Mongolian ger (yurt) will serve as mobile restaurant. For one night there will be spacious tentipi tents for accommodation. We trek in style!

STAFF:
An English speaking Mongolian guide will accompany the group at all times. There will also
be a cook. In addition, local herdsmen will be employed. They provide the camels, camel carts and will accompany us on the trek.

MEALS:
Our cook will prepare the meals. We pride ourselves in having exellent cooks adept at both western and Mongolian cooking on our trips. There is no problem accommodating vegetarians on our trips. We can usually buy fresh milk and yogurt from local herdsmen.

RIDING HORSES:
This tour doubles very well as horse riding trip. There will be an opportunity for experienced riders at the time of booking to order a saddled riding horse, with a horse-man to follow.

TRIP EXTENSION:
We also offer fixed dated treks supported by Yak carts in the Khan Khentii Strictly Protected Area and enjoy the beautiful wilderness of the Khentii Mountains.
Or trek through the Central Mongolian Hangai region surrounded with eight pristine mountain lakes Naiman Nuur Trek with pack yaks, offering a stark contrast to the Ikh Nart Nature reseve.

ADDITIONAL:
We can organize hotel accommodation, city tours and transfers in Ulaanbaatar. Please make sure to arrive in Ulaanbaatar by the evening before as there will be a welcome dinner and trip briefing.

INCLUDES:
Guide and all meals outside Ulaanbaatar. Camping equipment and all local transport.

EXCLUDES:
Beverages. Transfers and accommodation in Ulaanbaatar. Air or train tickets in and out Mongolia.