Ikhnart Rocks Wilderness Winter

Argali Sheep of Dornogobi

Introduction

A journey to the Eastern Gobi is an intimate and very unique experience. The Ikh Nartiin Chuluu Plateau has rich and unique landscapes consisting of granite rock formations, but also semi-arid steppes, small vernal pools, and springs with small stands of elms and poplars.

Ikh Nart is a community managed nature reserve where local people have partnered with the Denver Zoo Foundation, the Mongolian Academy of Sciences and Nomadic Journeys for research, conservation and tourism. It is one of the best Gobi wildlife areas, home to an estimated 1000 Argali Sheep (Ovis ammon), the world’s largest wild sheep with impressive horns, and about 200 Siberian Ibex (Capra sibirica). While not guaranteed there is a very good chance of seeing both species. A sizeable population of Cinereous Vultures (Aegypius monacha), the largest of Asian vultures, its size en par with the Andean condor, and a host of other avifauna, make for great birding. The area also abounds in prehistoric burial sites, petroglyphs and ruins of Buddhist monasteries, representing all layers of Mongolian archaeology.

Doing a self-guided tour on foot or by bike is the best way to explore the natural and cultural heritage of Ikh Nart first-hand, at your own pace. Hiking is excellent and rewarding, with easy climbs on to the rocks, overlooking the amazing landscape. Mountain bikes, horses and camels are available for riding. The cool evening sunsets over the Gobi are pleasant and rewarding. Your travel choice for Ikh Nartiin Chuluu will assist the conservation efforts in the area, as it brings finances to the local economy and protection efforts.
Nomadic Journeys’ own Red Rock Ger Camp is a seasonal, low impact ger camp located on its own, right next to the reserve area. You travel there southeasterly along the Trans-Mongolian railway line towards Beijing by local train from Ulaanbaatar, and drive the remaining 40 km to the camp. Transfer back to Ulaanbaatar is by fine tarmac road for most of the way.

Trip Details
Ikhnart Rocks Wilderness Winter
4 Days / 3 Nights

Trip Details

Itinerary

Brief Outline Itinerary

Nomadic Journeys operates a small seasonal ger (yurt) camp at Ikh Nart Nature Reserve. You can travel there southeasterly on the Trans-Mongolian railway line towards Beijing by a slow train  from Ulaanbaatar. Disembark at Shivee Gobi or Tsomog, a small stations following after Choir town. Then drive 40 km to the Ikh Nart Wilderness Ger Camp. Ikh Nart Wilderness Ger Camp is located on its own at the nature reserve.

Ikh Nart Nature Reserve was established in 1996 as a wildlife reserve as it has intact populations of Gobi Desert fauna. There are plenty of opportunities for wildlife, walks and drives. There may be camels for rent as local East Gobi Desert nomadic communities still roam the reserve. The return journey to Ulaanbaatar would be by a night train but you may order a private day time transfer to Ulaanbaatar.

Day 1: To Ikh Nart Nature Reserve

At 09h00 pick up from your hotel in Ulaanbaatar and transfer to the railway station. Depart by the slow train at 10h15 and spend 6h20 traveling southeast over the grassland steppe, which gradually becomes the more arid Gobi steppe. Disembark at Shivee Gobi, a train platform seemingly in the middle of nowhere, but actually near the small town of Shivee Gobi, which serves a nearby open pit coal mine. Shivee Gobi is the next small platform after Choir. Drive to Ikh Nart.

Day 2-3: Ikh Nart Nature Reserve

For two days we will explore the Ikh Nart area through the Ikh Nart rocks areas and try view different kinds of wildlife. There is Argali Sheep, which are most common to be seen, but also Siberian Ibex (Capra Sibirica) and bird life. Three parallel mammal research projects are ongoing by Mongolian and foreign scientist’s. It is on Argali Sheep and Siberian Ibex, as well as on small carnivores primarily geared towards as Corsac Fox (Vulpes Corsac), Red Fox (Vulpes Vulpes), Badger (Meles Meles) and Pallas’s Cat (Otocolobus Manul) but also collecting any possible data on Lynx (Lynx Lynx) and Wolves (Canis Lupus) as well as its prey species such as gerbils, jerboas. And
hedgehogs. For aviafauna there is ongoing research of Cinereous Vulture and Lesser Kestrels (Falco Naumanni). Botanist’s are also regular visitors. Research outcomes will be made available at camp through our guides, as well as directly by Mongolian student researchers, as it develops. Herders come and go at the Ikh Nart area. They are essentially reliant on pastures and any precipitation, why they are migrating a lot. Being Gobi herders, they migrate a lot. Very interesting,hospitable and hardy people.

Day 4: To Ulaanbaatar

A.m. Drive to the tarmac road and cross over it towards Choiriin Bogd Mountains, and drive towards where there are some remote Buddha statues in the rock faces. Picnic lunch. P.m. Drive to Ulaanbaatar 4 hours.

Itinerary Map

ikh-nart-self-guided-map
Tour Dates

Day 1: To Ikh Nart

Arrive at Tsomog or Shivee Gobi railway stations, 40 or 60km away from the Ikh Nart plateau. If you arrive from Ulaanbaatar arrival time to Shivee Gobi is 16h20, a train platform seemingly in the middle of nowhere, but actually near the small town of Shivee Gobi, which serves a nearby open pit coal mine. Met by local driver or our camp vehicle and drive to Red Rock Wilderness Ger Camp.

Day 2-3: Ikh Nart

For two days you may explore the Ikh Nart Nature Reserve upland on foot, trekking through interesting rocky areas and hoping to view different kinds of wildlife. There are Argali Sheep (Ovis ammon), which are the most likely to be seen and also there is Siberian Ibex (Capra sibirica)  and  a  variety  of  bird  life. Three parallel research projects are being carried out on an on-going basis by Mongolian and foreign scientists. One study is concerned with Argali Sheep and Siberian Ibex.  A second is gathering data on small carnivores such as Corsac Fox (Vulpes corsac), Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes), Badger (Meles meles) and Pallas’s Cat (Otocolobus manul), along with Lynx (Lynx lynx) and Wolves (Canis lupus) when possible. Learning about prey species such as Gerbils, Jerboas and Hedgehogs is also part of this project. For avifauna there is a third  ongoing  research  study  of  Cinereous  Vultures and Lesser Kestrels (Falco naumanni). Botanists are also regular visitors to the reserve. Herders come and go in the Ikh Nart Nature Reserve area, as they rely on pastures and sufficient precipitation. Being the Gobi herders, they migrate often to find food for their animals and they are interesting, hospitable and hardy people.

Day 4: To Dalanjargalan

A.m. Our camp vehicle or local driver will transfer you 40km to Dalanjargalan village after an evening early dinner, in time for the night train departure to Ulaanbaatar. We may also suit transfers to the international trains to China departing from Choir, 86km away.

Prices

PRICE 2018 ex Ulaanbaatar:

4d/3n: USD 700 per person

Single ger supplement (3n):

USD 120 per person

Additional night:  USD 150 per night

Includes:

Guide, all meals outside Ulaanbaatar, all local transport, including local train tickets, overnights in double occupancy gers(yurt) and all activities in the camp.

Excludes:

Laundry, imported drinks, hotel nights in Ulaanbaatar and Visa fee.

DATES ex Ulaanbaatar:

Daily 15th May – 15th September

Practicalities

Practicalities:

Transport:

This journey is supported by a private jeep or minibus (depending on the number of travelers) to and from Ikh Nartiin Chuluu Nature Reserve. We use the train to reach the Eastern Gobi from Ulaanbaatar.

Staff:

An English-speaking Mongolian guide will accompany you at all times.

Meals:

Meals are served in the restaurant ger three times per day. Breakfasts are buffet style. Lunches and dinners consist of 2-3 course set meals. In the restaurant ger you will find a good selection of wines. Tea and coffee are available all day long. If you go on day hikes or excursions our cooks will prepare packed lunches for you.

Low Impact Ger Camp:

Nomadic Journeys is committed to the principles of Sustainable Tourism. There is a maximum capacity for 28 guests in double occupancy gers. The gers have wood burning stoves, wooden floors and are beautifully decorated in traditional nomadic style with hand-crafted furnishings. Vehicles are parked a short walk away from the gers. The entire camp is fully collapsible and does not have shower or WC blocks. The toilets are long drop style allowing for natural decomposition. Showers are housed in a small gers, water is heated on a wood burning stove. All trash is separated. The camp can be relocated leaving no more impact on the area than a herding family would. Red Rock Ger Camp is indeed a fully collapsible hotel.

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

You might also enjoy these trips

khuvsgul-lake-ice

Khuvsgul Ice Lake

thick-layer-of-snow

Arburd Sands Winter

meeting-eagle-hunters

Eagle Festival Winter

flower-in-gun galuut

Gun Galuut Winter

jalman-meadows-gers

Jalman Meadows Winter

winter-takhi

Winter in Hustai Mountain