Camel Festival in Mongolia’s Gobi
The camel festival in Mongolia’s Gobi is one of several festivals that are gaining popularity with both domestic and international travelers in the country.
Gobi Camel Herders’ Treasures
Camels are one of the “five treasures” of Mongolian livestock herders – their treasures being horses, cattle (or yak in mountain pastures), goat, sheep and camel.
Traditionally and to this day, camels are important animals for transport. Gobi herders rely on them to carry heavy loads when the household moves to new pastures. In the past, caravans for cross-border trading and historically trade along the Silk Road, was made possible by using camels as transport and riding animals.
Camel wool, especially that of baby camels, has superior properties for clothing, always giving a warm and dry feeling. Everybody who has worn socks of camel wool, knows how to appreciate this fiber. Camel wool is becoming a competitor for cashmere, and fine camel wool garments are and blankets are gaining in popularity.
Camel milk is known for its medicinal qualities throughout the region. Camel milk products made by Mongolian herders include a curd and yoghurt, very creamy and rich.
Adaptation to the Gobi Desert Climate
Camels are amazingly adapted to the climate of the Gobi desert, with hot summers and cold winters. Camels can go without water for days, and the desert traveler can see herds of camels way out in remote desert landscapes. Their rightful owners however will know of the whereabouts of their treasure, but camels are extremely hardy. In harsh winters and extreme weather events, when Mongolian herders are hit by livestock losses, camels are usually the best survivors.
The camels in Mongolia are Bactrian camels, with two humps. There is still a population of wild Bactrian camels, their habitat is the remotest of desert areas, in the Southwest of the country.
Camels and their Desert Pastures
The Mongolian government supports programs to increase the number of camel within the national livestock herd, for their value as transport, fibre and milk animals, and their great adaptation to arid regions where other livestock cannot survive and also causes more ecological impacts. The economic value of cashmere has let to a dramatic increase in the number of goats country wide, compared to the previous, more sustainable herd structure, and this is causing degradation of pasture lands in the country.
Mongolia is the country with the largest number of domestic Bactrian camels and the herder households with the biggest herds of Bactrian camels call the Mongolian Gobi desert their home. South Gobi (Omnogovi) is the province with the largest number of Bactrian camels in Mongolia.
Camel Festival in Mongolia’s Gobi – A Great Spectacle to See
The Gobi Camel Festival is supported by the provincial government to highlight the significance of camels for the local and national economy and to showcase the skills and traditions of the nomadic herders of the Gobi. In 2016, a very special Camel Festival took place – to stage a record for the Guiness Book. In early March that year, over 1100 camels came from Mongolian provinces, and even from Inner Mongolia, to compete in racing and skills like camel packing, showing off festive costumes, parade their decorated camels, display their best breeding stock of camels, and enjoy cultural performances.
The Gobi Camel Festival is becoming a springtime tradition now – organized annually on March 6-7 in South Gobi province.
We have arranged one of our Gobi Desert Tours to enable our guests to experience the Camel Festival in Mongolia’s Gobi. Chose the tour scheduled for March 2 – 9 to experience the camel festival on day 5 and 6 of your tour. The price for this 8 Day Gobi Desert Tour is $ 2,200.
Book early! The Camel Festival is becoming a popular visitor attraction and accommodations are taken fast for the festival! Contact us.