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Arburd Sands Private

Introduction

Surprisingly close to the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar one finds the northernmost reaches of the Gobi steppes; treeless grasslands stretching to the horizon and beyond. We will explore Arburd Sands, an area where the steppe, dotted with nomads camps, slowly gives way to sand, culminating in a 20 km long sand dune. Close-by, Zorgol Hairkhan Uul, a gigantic rock formation rising almost vertically out of the plains, is habitat to Argali Sheep (Ovis Ammon) and sometimes Siberian Ibex (Capra Sibirica). It is a place of great natural beauty, fraught with history and legends. The Mongolian nomadic steppe culture is still intact here. All of the herdsmen lead a traditional way of life, raising herds of horses, cows, sheep, goats and camels. We have a low-impact, fully collapsible ger (yurt) camp here, owned and operated by a local family. They are famous horse trainers who regularly participate in the annual Naadam Games and also operate our Gobi Steppe Ride and Steppe Nomads Ride. Their herd of horses is large and offers an ample selection for both the amateur and the competent rider. There are no other ger camps anywhere nearby, as few tourists actually come here.

Trip Details

Itinerary
Tour Dates
Prices
Practicalities
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DAY 1: TO ARBURD SANDS

In the morning, we pick you up at your hotel. We drive south across the treeless steppe for some two to three hours to Arburd Sands. We arrive at the camp before lunch. In the afternoon, we visit some nomadic families in the vicinity of our camp.

DAY 2: ZORGOL HAIRKHAN MOUNTAINS

We drive 35 km across the steppe to the Zorgol Hairkhan Mountains, emerging almost vertically out of the middle of the steppe. En route we will find some secluded petroglyphs of extraordinary quality. We will explore the area and perhaps have a chance to spot the rare and elusive Argali Sheep, the largest wild mountain sheep in the world. There is also a chance to see Siberian Ibex on the ridges, though we need some luck to see them. Zorgol Hairkhan is a sacred mountain, already mentioned in the Secret History of the Mongols, the oldest surviving literary work in Mongolian language. There are many traces of holy sites here, such as caves and springs, where local people make offerings.

DAY 3: ARBURD SANDS

Today we explore the immediate surroundings of Arburd Sands. We may hike or use camels or horses to ride through the middle of the sand dunes which extend for 20 km. Strangely enough, a good number of Wolves – being wary of man – have taken refuge in the sand dunes and can sometimes be seen. We will most likely meet some herdsmen and will no doubt be invited into their gers and learn about their ancient lifestyle.

DAY 4: TO ULAANBAATAR

After breakfast, we drive back to Ulaanbaatar. Check into your hotel and explore the city on your own. Distances are short and nearly all points of interest can be reached by foot.

ITINERARY MAP

DATES EX ULAANBAATAR:

Daily mid May to end of September.

PRICE EX ULAANBAATAR:

2 – 12 members: USD 700 per person

Single supplement (3n): USD 120

Additional night: USD 180

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

Group discounts available on request for 4 persons or more.

TRANSPORT:
This tour is supported by a private jeep or minibus (depending on the number of travelers) to and from Arburd Sands Ger Camp.

STAFF:
An English speaking Mongolian guide will accompany you at all times. The camp staff consists of an English speaking camp manager, a cook and several local employees. Additionally the services of local herdsmen can be employed to provide riding horses or transport animals.

MEALS:
Meals are served in the restaurant ger three times per day. Breakfasts are buffet style. Lunches and dinners consist of 2-3 course set meals. In the restaurant ger you will find a good selection of wines. Tea and coffee are available all day long. If you go on day hikes or excursions our cooks will prepare packed lunches for you.

ADDITIONAL:
We can organize hotel accommodation, city tours and transfers in Ulaanbaatar.

INCLUDES:
All meals outside Ulaanbaatar. All overnights in double occupancy gers. All local transfers. All activities in the camp.

EXCLUDES:
Transfers and accommodation in Ulaanbaatar.