East Gobi Ride

Introduction

On this new trip we explore the rich and unique landscapes of the Eastern Gobi on horseback. This is the closest you get to a safari experience in Mongolia. As the we ride through the arid steppes and through a labyrinth of maze-like granite rock formations, we will come across game such as an estimated 1000 Argali Sheep (Ovis Ammon), the world’s largest wild sheep with impressive horns. Further about 200 Siberian Ibex (Capra Sibirica) and sometimes Mongolian (Procapra Gutturosa) and Goitred Gazelles (Gazella Subguttorosa). And a fox every now and then. The area also abounds in prehistoric burial sites, petroglyphs and ruins of Buddhist monasteries, representing all layers of Mongolian archaeology. This horseback journey offers close encounters with Mongolian horsemen, nomadic people who have thus far been able to withstand modern pressures and lifestyles. There is no other nation in the world that depends on horses to such an extent. Mongolian horsemanship is famous and in many ways different than anywhere else. The herders keep their horses in a semi-wild condition, allowing them to graze freely in harem groups. During the harsh winter with extreme subzero temperatures, the horses fend for themselves and protect their foals against predators such as wolves. Fences or stables are virtually unknown. We will undertake this horse ride as a “Nomadic Journey”, e.g. without vehicle support, in wild terrain. All our luggage will be loaded onto camel carts; even a ger (Mongolian yurt) will be carried to serve as our mobile restaurant. After a week of camping in spacious Tentipis we come to Nomadic Journeys’ own Red Rock Ger Camp, a seasonal, low impact ger camp located on its own, at the edge of the reserve area.

Trip Details
East Gobi Ride
11 Days / 10 Nights

Trip Details

Itinerary

Day 1: Ulaanbaatar

Upon your arrival in Ulaanbaatar you will be met by our horse guide, and transferred to your hotel. There will be a tour briefing and dinner.

Day 2: To Ikh Nart

After breakfast, we transfer to the trainstation and board the domestic train bound for Sainshand in the East Gobi.  The train ride is a great way to experience the gradual change of landscapes from the central grasslands into the drier Gobi.  It takes a bit more than six hours and a picnic lunch will be provided on board. We get off at the station Shivee Gobi. We are met by our local driver and will soon be on our way across the Gobi plains until the Ikh Nart plateau.  We will pitch camp at Adaatsyn Hudag, one of the many Gobi wells, which is about an hours drive. Here we will meet the local herders with the camel carts and our horses. We will get to know the horses and go an short trial ride.

Day 3: To Zuun Khondlon

After breakfast, in our fully private Tepee camp the entire camp, including the ger, is packed up and loaded onto the caravan of camel carts. We will head out in a long loop eastwards, while the camel carts will take a straight route to Zuun Khöndlön, which is only 8 km away.  Along our way we pass by some ponds and tiny lakes with rocks with fossilized trees from prehistoric times. Actually one of the longest surviving animals on the planet are the Desert Tadpole Shrimps, which are living fossils, having survived and changed little since the early dinosaur era.  If it is arid there is no water, and no shrimps, but be sure to have a look if you find any small puddles.  We also see some burial sites and tombs dating to the 13th century, i.e. from the times of the Mongol Empire under Genghis Khan and his sons and grandsons.

Day 4: To Baruun Khondlon

Today we start our ride to Baruun Khöndlön. Early in the morning we first ride around the Ovoot Mountain to spot some wildlife which might be Mongolian Gazelles (Procapra Gutturosa) and some waterfowl near a lake. This area is strewn with basalt stones from ancient volcanoes and many small lakes and ponds sometimes appear between the rocks.

Day 5: To Engeryn Tsohio

Today we ride over the vast plain to the south to reach the Ikh Khad area. Ikh Khad means “many rocks” in Mongolian as this place has many interestingly shaped and colored rocks. Along the way we have a fair chance seeing Argali Sheep, Siberian Ibex and Mongolian Gazelles.

Day 6: To Engeryn Bulag

After breakfast, we ride to the southwest where many raptors like eagles, falcons and vultures will be spotted. Mongolia has an unusual large diversity of rodents, which explains the numerous raptors everywhere. The Cinereous Vulture (Aegypius Monachus) is the largest of all Eurasian raptors, and rivals the Condor of the Americas in wing span and weight. This vulture builds huge nests made of twigs on rocks and in small trees.

Day 7:  To Togrok Lake

We pack up and ride to the southwest along the plain until we reach a rocky and sandy area, where many 13th century burials and tombs of local kings and lords can be found. There is also a burial site of Buddhist lamas dating to the 1700s to 1800s. There are many petroglyphs and Tibetan writings on the rock faces. Togrok Lake is tiny and does not always hold water. Ground water however comes up and there are very tall grasses surrounding it. It is located in very a scenic area of rock granite formations.

Day 8: To Ikhnart Rocks Wilderness

In the morning we ride to the Ikhnart Rocks Wilderness Ger Camp. We ride north to Red Rock Valley, on of the the spring-fed green places, with elms and poplars.  Wildlife come here for water and so do small birds on migration such as warblers. In May, sometimes one can see Japanese Sparrowhawks on feeding frenzy targeting warblers. We continue to ride north until Khalzan Springs, where there is a derelict camp from the Soviet era, frequently used by locals, as the springs has medicinal properties. To the east, in the Khalzan Mountains, there are more petroglyphs and tombs dating from the Hunnu period, called Xiongnu by the Chinese, which may date back to 200 BC. Later the Huns evolved to become the first pastoral people, and perhaps some made it to Europe, to topple the Roman Empire.  We will ride south until Bichigt Had, (Rock Inscriptions), where close by the Red Rock Wilderness Ger Camp is et up during season.

Day 9: Ikhnart rocks

From the Ikhnart Rocks Wilderness Ger Camp we ride to the east between the rocks. We visit the natural wonders of Bichigt Had, Els Had and also have a chance to spot Argali Sheep. We can also visit a Gobi nomad family and learn about their daily life. You may also try riding a camel. We ride back to the camp before dinner time.

Day 10: To Ulaanbaatar

After breakfast we are picked up by a driver and return to Ulaanbaatar. Picnic lunch will be provided along the way. Back in Ulaanbaatar check into your hotel. You have free time to relax or explore the city on your own. Distances are short and nearly all points of interest can be reached on foot.

Day 11: Departure

Transfer out back home or on to your next destination.

east-gobi-ride-map
Gallery
Prices

DATES ex Ulaanbaatar: 2017

Mid May to Mid October

PRICE 2017 ex Ulaanbaatar:        

USD 2200 per person (2/10 riders)

Single room/tent/ger supplement: USD 400

There are other language guides such as French, German, Italian, Korean etc. available at additional cost, which need to be booked and confirmed ahead of time. Please enquire.

Includes:

English speaking guide. Breakfast in Ulaanbaatar. All meals outside Ulaanbaatar. All overnights in hotels (2n.), gers (2n.) and tepee tents (6n.) in shared doubles. Camping equipment and all local transport. Local medevac coverage.

Excludes:

Imported drinks. Laundry. Lunch and dinner in Ulaanbaatar. Air or train tickets in and out of Mongolia. Bring your own sleeping bag, riding helmet and short chaps!

Practicalities

Practicalities:

Transport:

Apart from the drive to the starting point of our horse riding adventure and back to the city we will not rely on any motor  vehicle  support.  Instead we  utilize traditional wooden carts, that Mongolian families  still  frequently  use,  when  moving from  one  pasture  to  another  (Although  increasingly  small  trucks  are  being  used). Animals prevalent in the region pull these carts.  Here in the Gobi we will use camels.  The services of local herdsmen will be employed by the expedition, and they will provide us with their animals.

Accommodation:

During the horse ride we will sleep in spacious Tentipis. It allows us to use large foldable cots, sleeping well above the ground. Bring your own sleeping bag. We take along a Mongolian ger to serve as our restaurant, as well as showers and compost toilets housed in traditional Mongolian marquee style tents.  For two nights we stay at Nomadic Journeys own  low-impact  Red  Rock  Wilderness  Ger  Camp.  For two nights in Ulaanbaatar you will stay at a centrally located hotel.  All accommodation in double occupancy.  Single room/tent/ger is available at an additional cost of USD 400.

Staff:

A Mongolian English speaking guide will accompany the group at all times. A cook will follow with the camel cart caravan until Red Rock Wilderness Ger Camp. In addition, the services  of  several  local herdsmen will be employed along with their animals. The horsemen follow a traditional lifestyle in the areas where we will be riding. If the group consists of four riders or more, we will also have a Mongolian doctor  accompanying us as part of the crew.

Meals:

Our cook will prepare all the meals. We pride ourselves in having cooks adept at both western and Mongolian cooking on our trips.  There are always vegetables available, and we have no problem accommodating vegetarians on this trip.

Minimum riding ability:

You should be a competent rider, fit and capable of riding at all paces confidently. We will cover varying terrain, and will be in the saddle for several hours on most days.

Reversal of trip:

Trips may be done in the reverse for operational reasons.

What our guests say

We appreciate your feedback about our tours and services.

  • Living the mongolian way

    Great place to stay and experience mongolian way of living, no tv, wifi, phone. Just nature and great company of the staff and livestocks of mongolia. The toilet is a hole in the ground covered by a shed. It is clean, but can be smelly to those used to city life. Not hot water supply, inform the staff that you like to hot water half an hour earlier so that they can boil it over camel dung 🙂

    5 star rating

    joycel
  • Living the mongolian way

    Great place to stay and experience mongolian way of living, no tv, wifi, phone. Just nature and great company of the staff and livestocks of mongolia. The toilet is a hole in the ground covered by a shed. It is clean, but can be smelly to those used to city life. Not hot water supply, inform the staff that you like to hot water half an hour earlier so that they can boil it over camel dung 🙂

    5 star rating

    joycel

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