We offer guided horseback riding expeditions through the cultural and wilderness landscapes of two of Mongolia’s premier parks, Gobi desert tours, hiking trips and herder family ger (yurt) stays. Our team of experienced trip leaders and guides is made up of Mongolian and international personnel who have worked in conservation, tourism and wilderness travel.
Winter Camel Trekking in the Gobi is an adventure true to local traditions, a great option if you are looking for experiential travel. It combines cultural and landscape experience with a very special way of adventure travel.
Winter camel trekking in the Gobi gives you insights into the life of the nomadic herders who have used these desert landscapes for millennia. You learn about Bactrian camels – with two humps – and their great adaptation to this harsh environment, and you will enjoy the slow pace of desert travel as our little caravan moves along. You take in the grand and diverse landscape of the Gobi, and spot wildlife in the canyons and plains we travel through. You experience the desert winter – typically calm and with blue skies, and you will be amazed by the incredible night skies.
Even though the Gobi has milder winters than most of Mongolia, keep in mind that this is still a winter adventure – in the coldest desert on earth! Warm clothing and warm boots are a must. And for our trekking camps we use appropriate shelter and equipment, both modern and traditional, to make this adventure a fun experience, with some of our usual camping comforts you may know of if you have been on a wilderness horse trek with Stone Horse Expeditions.
Bactrian Camels are at their best in winter! Covered in warm wool that insulates them from the temperature extremes. They graze on the sparse vegetation of shrubs and small plants on the stony and sandy ground. Their feet are like big, padded cushions – you will soon know the characteristic foot prints in the sand that we leave behind.
The traditional camel saddle is of woolen carpet material, with colorful ornaments. Like with any riding, it takes a few days to get used to. But once you found your seat between the two cozy winter humps of the camel, it can be quite comfortable up there. It’s high – much higher than on a horse. And the camel lies down for you to mount up. The rein is on one side only, but it’s easy to learn this kind of reining. Our local camel guides will teach you, and lead your camel for a start until you are comfortable to ride by yourself.
Camels love the big open spaces of their desert home, and when they move along in a group on the plains, it’s a slow, steady and quite relaxing mode of travel. We have saddle bags like on horseback, and in addition, a traditional, beautifully crafted hump bag – very handy for camera and other essentials you want to have easy access to.
Days are short during our winter desert treks, and we want to arrive in camp early. The shelters we arrive to are traditional gers, or our modern tent shelters, both allowing for comfortable temperatures and to relax for meal times and spend the evening. And if necessary, provide a reliable shelter should the weather turn adverse and we have to stay in camp for a day.
The locations of our camps are usually near a well, and our local support team will make sure our shelter has water, fuel and provisions ready for the arriving camel caravan. Sleeping is in small dome tents (single or double occupancy). We provide warm winter sleeping bags.
Our winter camel trek travels to and within a remote mountain massif in Mongolia’s South Gobi. The first day is the approach, leaving from the staging area in the plains. Then, we enter the mountain area, and on the following days, our trek makes its way through a varied terrain – winding river beds, steep gorges, and open mountain tops. Upon traversing the mountains, one excursion is to the South into sandy desert area with forests of Saxaul, a woody plant that is important as fodder source for camels as well as for stabilizing soil. We return to the mountains and end the trek in a red canyon, where we will meet our vehicles.
The February Camel Trek is timed so as to coincide with the Lunar New Year Celebrations. During Lunar New Year (Tsagaan Sar) family visits are customary, and they continue for many days. This is the time when people are dressed up in their best traditional costumes, and every family prepares lots of food and drink for visitors. Elderly people are honored by the visits of their children, grandchildren, and all younger relatives for that matter. We have planned with our local support team in the South Gobi to bring you to the celebrations to experience local hospitality and join in this important holiday in Mongolia.
The other two treks are in the colder season (November, December), however the Gobi in Mongolia’s South is still milder, and its usually a time of calm and sunshine. And we are equipped with a excellent group shelter, insulated and outfitted with a wood stove, which has proven suitable for winter camping even in the coldest time in the Gobi.
Arrive in Ulaanbaatar, transfer to hotel. Welcome/orientation meeting, and other activity in the city (shopping, city tour) depending on your needs and arrival time.
Travel to Dalanzadgad, capital of South Gobi province.
Travel to Staging Area, via Yoliin Am, and/or Baynzag, overnight in Naran Camp (ger accommodation).
Camel Trekking, overnights in our tented camps.
We begin the return journey by 4×4, visiting more scenic sites in the mountain massif, with a short hike in a scenic canyon, before we travel back to Dalanzadgad, provincial capital of South Gobi. Overnight in hotel.
Travel to Ulaanbaatar. Overnight in hotel.
Transfer to Airport, or other activities in Ulaanbaatar city (souvenir shopping, city tour, museums) depending on your departure time.