Eco-friendly tour operators in Mongolia
We strive to be an eco-friendly tour operator in Mongolia to make our contribution to developing responsible tourism, and to be a good choice for travelers who carefully consider their footprint and are conscious to make a positive impact.
Protection of the environment and of the natural landscapes is in the interest of the whole tourism industry in Mongolia, and anywhere, and various efforts are underway by tour operators in Mongolia as well as by industry organizations. Some Mongolian tour operators actively work to help protect the values of popular destinations, or make new sites available for visitors while also creating management guidelines and infrastructure. Such examples include Baynzag (Flaming Cliffs) as well as a new site where fossils of the giant foot prints of dinosaurs have been excavated in South Gobi province.
Community Projects and Active Conservation Adventures
Our annual Wilderness Conservation Adventure, now an integral feature of our expedition program in Mongolia, gives guests the opportunity to actively participate in environmental work to protect the wilderness values and improve visitor management of Hagiin Har Nuur (Black Lichen Lake) in the Khan Khentii Strictly Protected Area. Learn more ..
In the Gobi, we are working with local herders and government authorities to help protect landscapes and wildlife while supporting the local community through support in planning as well as introducing small group travel into areas off the common tourist route.
With the project “Water for Life – The Darkhid Valley Community Land Restoration Project for Watershed Protection”, we initiated and supported community and local government action for watershed protection and carried out the rehabilitation of degraded land into pasture land. Ecological education and environmental awareness activities of the project targeted children and adults, and a community information and meeting center was established. Learn more..
Daily Operations of an Eco-Friendly Tour Operator in Mongolia
Probably the greater challenge and even more important are environmentally friendly practices in overall operations, in the office and in the field, on tours and treks, during preparations and follow-up, and in maintaining facilities.
In our office, we reduce and re-use paper, are conscious of unnecessary packaging when buying supplies, and try to save energy for lights and appliances. With traffic being bad anyhow in Ulaanbaatar city, we walk or ride a bike to the office for some days of the week.
Our guests know that the cabins at our staging area are off-grid, powered by solar panels. A barrel collects rain water from the roof, and drinking water is filtered or brought in large containers.
Waste Management and Ecological Conduct on Horseback Rides
Riding guests who have been on horse treks or Gobi tours with us, know already our practices and policies in the back country. The amount of waste we produce on our horseback expeditions is very small, usually a small bag per day. When shopping and packing, we try to keep packaging materials low, and repack before the trips, so very little packaging is carried on a back country expedition. Needless to say we carry out all garbage. The only waste left behind is organic waste like vegetable peels from the camp kitchen.
Each guest is issued with two stainless steel drinking bottles for drinking water. They are refilled with filtered water. We have switched from gravity filters to a very efficient and reliable pump by MSR. A campsite check is the last thing we do before setting out for a day’s ride, to make sure nothing is left behind, not even the smallest pieces of litter.
We do not make camp fires on the ground. In case we use a small grill, we will take out a square or circle of grass sod, prepare ambers in there, and cover it all up after use. The same goes for use of a Dutch oven. Mostly, we don’t use methods where a pit is required anymore. In case we wanted to small camp fire, we use a fire pan.
We carry small, lightweight and collapsible stoves to heat the group tent when needed, and these make for nice “fire places” that people gather around. For baking, we carry a small camp oven. With all these devices, and knowledge of how to use them, its possible to create “campfire” atmosphere in any camp, while keeping the site clean, safe and not disturb the ground, or leave fire pits behind.
A very important topic is that of outdoor toilet use. Unfortunately, with increased use of the back country, human waste and toilet paper are to be found along tracks and at campsites. With our Wilderness Conservation Adventure, we have initiated and undertaken years of rubbish clean up at a much visited site in the Khan Khentii Strictly Protected area, and toilet paper is always a major part of rubbish. Many people think that toilet paper is bio-degradable, but normal toilet paper isn’t.
The “nature toilet” – procedure we use and ask our guests to practice is from the definitive guide line on this topic, laid out in the book “How to shit in the woods”. We carry a sturdy spade, only for this purpose. It serves to dig a nice hole, round or square, and set aside the sod, or soil. The toilet pack each guest receives includes toilet paper, a lighter and hand sanitizer. The lighter is to burn the toilet paper, and the soil/grass sods set aside will be put back to restore the ground as it was before the act. Learn more..
Waste Management and Ecological Conduct on Overland Tours by Vehicle
The same practices apply to reduce waste and trying to totally avoid single-use plastic. Our guests on Gobi or other tours by vehicle will also receive drinking bottles, and these are refilled from larger containers of potable water. On camel treks or Gobi Crossing tours that involve camping, the same practices on waste management, toilet use, and drinking water as on horse treks are applied.
Reducing Plastic, Eliminating Single Use Plastics
We are currently in the process, while planning for and preparing the 2019 travel season, to further reduce the use of any plastic in our operations and to eliminate single use plastic. We are a member of TAP – Travelers Against Plastic.
On the Trail – Our Practices as Eco-Friendly Tour Operator in Mongolia
Wilderness Camping during horse treks in Mongolia is a great eco-tourism experience. Learn more..
8 Good Reasons to Choose Stone Horse Expeditions. Learn more..
Responsible Travel in Mongolia – What You can Do
As a visitor to Mongolia, there are many things you can do to help protect the environment, support local communities and initiatives, and reduce your travel foot print. Learn more..