Brief Outline Itinerary
The bus will take us out of Ulaanbaatar to the south, across the Bogdkhan mountain, and some 120-150 km over the treeless steppes until finding a family of famous horsebreeders and their gers. We will select some good riding horses among the hundreds available, saddle up, and ride until the steppes start to give way for the Gobi sands. Our gear will be loaded upon traditional wooden carts, used by the locals. Bactrian Camels will be tied to the carts.
Day 1 : Ulaanbaatar
Arrive the Mongolian capital and transfer to the hotel. Tour briefing after dinner.
Day 2 : To Southern Töv
A.m. Drive south across and continue across the steppes to a place in the middle of nowhere called Holboo. Pitch camp by horsebreeding nomads. Selection of horses. Horseriding briefing and try riding. Overnight in tents.
Day 3 : To Saran Tolgoy
Today we will start our ride across the steppes for 20km. Gobi high altitude fauna such as Argali Sheep (Ovis ammon) are present in the hills and rocks, and possible to be seen during this day. Moreover small herds of Gazelle may be seen on the steppes, and maybe some wolves.
Day 4 : To Arburd Sands
A full day ride, for 25-30km towards Arburd Sands. Today we will pass several nomadic herdsmen families. The human features of this open and vast landscape is perhaps to most interesting, since all families in the zone, are nomadic herdsmen. In the summer they move with their herds in search of green pastures. Our hosts in the area are themselves keen horsebreeders, and compete in the different Naadam competitions. The Mongolian equestrian tradition is a living cultural heritage since the time of the Huns and Genghis Khan. Still today, the Mongols allow their horses to roam freely in a semi-wild condition, in harem groups with a stallion. There are no fences nor any stables. They fend for themselves and forage what they can throughout the harsh winter period, and they also successfully defend their foals against the numerous wolfs. Overnight in tents throughout the expedition.
Day 5 : Arburd Sands
The ride today is a short one, but it cuts through the Arburd Sands, a giant 20km long sand dune, which is a hideout for numerous wolves. Our camel carts will make their way around the dunes, while we will be riding right through, providing for Sahara like landscapes.We will stay at Arburd Sands Ger Camp for two nights.
Day 6 : Steppe Ride
Today we will ride in a smaller loop to some nearby families. Today is also a chance for those who would like a break to remain at the camp, or just ride a little bit.
Day 7 : To Ikh Zorgol Khairkhan Uul
The Gobi steppes are in this area quite variable since we ride through the transition zone of the Gobi, meaning there are true steppes, semi arid steppes, sand dunes and also giant rock formations.Today we will ride for 25-30 km across populated steppes and for the full day we can see the Zorgol Hairhan giant rock formations in the distance. They are several hundred meters high, and have dramatic features in the middle of the steppes.
Day 8 : Ikh Zorgol Khairkhan Uul
We will spend two nights camping in this dramatic landscape, and make a day trip around the area. Here is the second opportunity to possibly view the elusive Argali Sheep, the largest wild sheep in the world.
Day 9 : To Baga Zorgol Khairkhan Uul
Continue riding east, passing a small Gobi lake, with perhaps some interesting birds. The distance is 25 km to the smaller – but still giant – Zorgol Hairhan Mountains and rock formations. The lakes act as “islands” for waterfowl flying across a “sea of grass”.
Day 10 : To Manhan Sands
Full day of 20-25km ride across the steppes to the smaller sands at Manhan.It is a small sand dune that visibly have cut its way through the steppe, as it have been moving itself, so pushed by strong winds, towards the east. Tonight is our last night with the wranglers.
Day 11 : Bogd Uul National Park
Drive back for half a day to Ulaanbaatar. At lunchtime we will break the journey near Zuunmod, and enter Bogd Khan Mountain, a forested mountain area due south of Ulaanbaatar. Here are the Manzhir monastery ruins and good chances of seeing Red Deer (Cervus elaphus). The drive from Manzhir to Ulaanbaatar is thereafter only one hour. Check into the hotel.