MONGOLIA – Gobi Desert Trek
2nd - 13th May 2016
Mongolia is the least densely populated country on earth … the place to go if you are looking for solitude, wide open spaces, clear blue skies and a true wilderness experience. It abounds in rare wildlife, pristine scenery and unique culture. The southern part of Mongolia is dominated by the Gobi Desert, an area rich in stunning vistas, authentic nomadic culture and some of the best trekking to be found in Asia.
Some of the highlights of our 2016 trip include:
- A stunning journey deep into Mongolia’s Gobi desert, with an opportunity to trek through mountains, ice gorges, desert plain and sand dunes.
- The opportunity to spot abundant birdlife and a number of rare animals. The desert is home to wolves, ibex, argali, snow leopards and plenty of rare birdlife.
- A genuine chance to live with nomadic people and experience authentic cultural interchange. Many of our hosts have been friends and colleagues of our team for over 11 years.
DAY 1 Arrive Ulan Bator
You will be met at the airport for the transfer to your hotel in Ulan Bator. Chek-in at your hotel and rest of the day at leisure, experiencing Mongolia’s capital. Dinner will be spent with the team, and the rest of the group for a relaxed briefing.
O/N UB Hotel (D,B,B)
DAY 2. Mandalgov
Following a breakfast and relaxed start we will hop onto our vehicles and drive south to the town of of Mandalgov. Along the way we will visit nomadic people in their traditional ger homes and witness their unique way of life. We will be spend a night in the town of Mandalgov where we will have the option of visiting some local projects and an orphanage built by a Scottish charity.
Day 3. Dalandzadgad
Following breakfast we will continue our drive south to Dalandzadgad, the administrative capital of the Gobi Desert. Along the route we will witness the terrain changing dramatically as we close in on the southern desert regions. We will witness the harsh existence of the local camel farmers and have a chance to have lunch with one family. On arrival in Dalandzadgad we will spend a night in pleasant gers.
Day 4. Yol Valley
After a traditional Mongolian breakfast we will begin the trekking phase of our journey with a walk through the stunning UNESCO protected Yolyn Am ice gorge. This gorge holds ice for 365 days a year and is home to some remarkable wildlife including yaks, snow leopards, marmots, ibex and argali. The event will be spent in the foothills of the Gurvan Saikhan mountain range in our tented village. Trekkers will be able to visit a small market featuring locally made crafts after dinner.
Day 5. Bayan Bag
We continue our trek through the stunning mountain gorges, before exiting onto the famous Gobi desert plain. With views stretching over 80km west to the massive sand dunes of Khongyron Els this is truly an iconic moment of the journey and will be relished by all. We will camp on the edge of the desert plain.
Day 6. Gurvan Saikhan Mountains
Following the rigours of two days of gorge trekking today we will trek along the desert plain as it steadily rises into the foothills of the Gurvan Saikhan mountains. As we enter the mountains we will hunt out some old friends who live here, and herd goats. Hosted by this family (who we have known since 2009) we will gain firsthand direct experience of desert living. Guests can milk goats, cook Mongolian food and even try their hand at gold panning! The evening will be spent gorging ourselves on a classic Mongolian dish – the HorHog (an entire goat roasted with hot stones on a fire) before we sit back and enjoy a fine desert sunset.
Day 8. Mountain Pass
Bidding our hosts farewell we now head north for a tough trek across the mountains of Gurvan Saikhan. The trail is hard but undulating and gradual and we will soon be rewarded with stunning vistas and amazing wildlife sightings. Lunch will be taken in the mountain and as the afternoon arrives we will begin descending onto the desert plains to the south of the remote town of Bulgan.
Day 9. Today we will arrive at another UNESCO World Heritage Site – the ‘flaming cliffs’ of Bayanzag, a stunning gorge rich in fossils and dinosaur finds made famous when paleontologist Roy Chapman Andrews discovered dinosaur egg fossils there last century. After dinner we will have an opportunity to visit a fascinating market established by local nomads.
Morning will be spent exploring trekking through the Bayanzag area with an excellent opportunity to fossil hunt and enjoy the stunning views. After lunch we will make our way toward the sand dunes of Molson Els, where we will set up camp for the night. As we watch camels and meet a family of local nomads we will prepare ourselves for a dune walk the following day.
Day 10. Making our way to the beautiful Molson els sand dunes, this will be our final trek day. It will be a (relatively) easy days trekking and will offer a great chance to relax and reflect on the achievements of the preceding days. After the trek we will stop for a refreshment before jumping into our vehicles and heading back to Dalandzadgad for a celebration dinner, certificates, medals and drinks.
Day 11. Today we will awaken in a ger camp located in Dalandzadgad. Leaving early morning we will travel 6km to the airport and take a one hour flight to Ulan Bator, where we will be uplifted and returned to our hotel. Now the relaxing can begin in earnest with some well earned sightseeing and culinary delights for all.
Day 12. Return flights.
Per person sharing: £1395
• Pre-departure support
• All in country accommodation and transport
• Fully organised community projects
• All trekking activities, including guides, transport, food and water
• End of trip dinner in Dalandzadgad, certificates and prizes
What’s not included:
• Personal medical expenses
• Personal spending money (budget approx £200)
• Personal Travel insurance
• Personal refreshments and alcoholic drinks