Ikh Nart Nature Reserve-Argali Sheep of Dornogobi
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 veral 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.
Itinerary & Map
Day 1: To Ikh Nart
We pick you up from your hotel in Ulaanbaatar in the morning and transfer to the railway station. Our train departs at mid morning and we spend about six hours traveling southeast over the grassland, which gradually turns into more arid Gobi steppe. We disembark at the small village of Dalanjargalan, where we are met by our driver and cover the last 40 km to Red Rock Camp by car.
Day 2-3: Ikh Nart
For two days we explore the Ikh Nart area on foot, and if you like on horse or camel back. There are also mountain bikes available at camp. The surrounding area has much to offer. The rocky outcrops harbor various kinds of wildlife. There are Argali Sheep, which are most common to be seen, but also Siberian Ibex and many bird species. Three ongoing research projects by Mongolian and foreign scientists focus on these species, but also on Cinereous Vultures, Lesser Kestrels, and various small carnivores and their prey species. Botanists are also regular visitors. Your guide can also lead you to a whole range of archeological and historical sites from various epochs, including petroglyphs, burial sites and temple ruins. You will most probably have a chance to meet some local herding families. Being reliant on pastures and precipitation, the hardy and hospitable Gobi herders, frequently migrate in and out of the area with their herds of lifestock.
Day 4: To Ulaanbaatar
After breakfast we leave camp and drive towards the Choiriin Bogd Mountains, where there are some remote Buddha statues in the rock faces. We have a picnic lunch here, and drive back to Ulaanbaatar on a good tarmac road for about four hours.
Dates and Prices
PRICE 2017 ex Ulaanbaatar 4d/3n:
USD 800 per person
Single ger supplement (3n): USD 120 per person
Additional night: USD 125 per night
Includes: Guide, all meals outside Ulaanbaatar. All local transport, including local train tickets. Overnights in double occupancy gers. All activities in the camp.
Excludes: Laundry, imported drinks. Hotel nights in Ulaanbaatar. Visa fee.
Children: 0-2 years free. 3-12 years 50%.
DATES ex Ulaanbaatar: Daily 15May -15Sep
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 handcrafted 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.
You have the choice to stay another day or two in Ulaanbaatar or transfer out to your next international destination. We offer hotels in downtown at the same on line internet rates as well as outbound railway tickets to your first point in Russia or China.
- A visit to Jalman Meadows is the obvious first recommendation to combine with Ikh Nart, as is in a contrasting part of Mongolia. Jalman also offers float trips on the Tuul River, as well as there are inflatable kayaks for use on the river. You may go there on any day. It provides the most contrast in habitat to your Mongolia experience.
- Hustai National Park, re introduction site of Przewalskii Horses. It is a drive via Ulaanbaatar to get there in one day. Should you want a posh experience you may overnight at HS Khaan Ger Resort, not far from the national park, from where is also possible to transfer directly to Ulaanbaatar airport or railway station.
Please enquire for any of these combinations. We can provide you the seamless travel solution.
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