Mongolia’s vast countryside is widely inhabited by nomadic herders who consider their native landscape sacred. This “last wilderness nation” entered the 21st century with its heritage largely intact, and it remains one of the most sparsely populated countries on Earth. In the lowermost region of Mongolia’s expanse, past these vast plains, there lies an immense region of desert: the Gobi.
The mention of the Gobi Desert universally conjures images of the remote, the exotic, and the formidable, and not without good cause. The scale of the Gobi Desert’s landscape is indeed breathtaking, but first-time visitors may be surprised at the great variety and beauty of the desert. The sand dunes of Moltsog Els, the craggy juniper-clad peaks of the Gobi’s Altai mountain range, the saxaul forests, colorful desert flora and bird-filled lakes are all equally enchanting, as are the red sandstone spires of the Flaming Cliffs—where Roy Chapman Andrews began the Mongolian dinosaur rush by bringing to light the first Oviraptor eggs the world had ever seen.
Along with its magnificent scenery and the rich cultural history that survives in the land’s welcoming, big-hearted nomadic herders, Mongolia is home to fascinating wildlife. Mountain regions throughout the country harbor healthy populations of Argali, the largest of the world’s bighorn sheep, as well as Ibex, the agile mountain goat. Gazelle, wild Bactrian Camel, the Gobi Bear, and various bird species (including the Bearded Vulture, known as the lammergeier, and raptors such as the Steppe and Golden Eagle) all exist in the wilds of Mongolia’s Gobi Desert though they are extremely hard.
Our lodge is located amidst the stunning landscape of the Gobi’s Gurvansaikhan National Park within view of the breathtaking Gobi-Altai Mountain range. You could very easily spend your entire stay relishing the natural beauty and serenity, but it would be a shame to miss our excursions to world-renowned sites all within reach of the Lodge.
Moltsog Els is one of the few regions of the Gobi covered by sand dunes. It is a stunning landscape of undulating sand dunes. Explore on foot or on the back of a Bactrian camel.
Cradled in the foothills of the Altai Mountains and located in the northern part of the Gobi Desert, this green valley is a surprisingly lush region. Carved by an ancient river, its remnant streams create ice formations at the base of the valley that can last as late as July and hiking in this region is an adventurous and rewarding activity.
First explored by Polish expeditions in the late 1960s to early 1970s, Tugrugiin Shiree is best known for its world-famous “Fighting Dinosaurs,” a fossil containing the skeletal remains of a Protoceratops and Velociraptor locked in deadly combat.
What is life like in a nomadic village? Visit the small town of Bulgan to experience it firsthand. Bulgan is known for delicious organic produce grown on its many farms. Small villages like these are where children from nomadic families go to school and adults access necessary services such as banking, medical, and government.
In the early 20th century, Dr. Roy Chapman Andrews of the American Museum of Natural History undertook an expedition through the heart of Central Asia, discovering some of the most beautiful and little-visited areas of the world. He came across what he named the Flaming Cliffs, due to their brilliant orange glow at sunset and sunrise, in 1923. Here, he discovered the first nest of dinosaur eggs the world had ever seen, cementing the Gobi Desert as an area rich in significant paleontological findings. Even today, expeditions continue to unearth archaeological evidence of the past here.