Wildlife and Landscapes of the Desert Steppe

Tours to Explore Wildlife and Landscapes of the Desert Steppe

Wildlife and Landscapes of the Desert Steppe, Baga Gazriin Chuluu, Stone Horse Expeditions, Mongolia

Within a half day of travel by 4×4 from Ulaanbaatar you can experience intriguing landscapes and visit some of the best places for wildlife watching in Mongolia. The nature reserves of Ikh Nart, Ikh Gazriin Chuluun and Baga Gazriin Chuluun, located in Dornogobi and Dundgovi Aimags are great destinations for a 3 – 4 day tour.

Wildlife and Landscapes of the Desert Steppe, Stone Horse ExpeditionsImmerse yourself into the landscapes of the desert steppe, stay overnight in a ger, either in a fancy tourist camp or an authentic home stay, explore rock formations and temple ruins on short hikes, and enjoy some of the best opportunities to watch and photograph argali (wild sheep) and other iconic mammal and bird species of Mongolia.

The ger camps at these locations open for the height of tourist season. It is not clear to date (late April 2020) what the opening times, and rules will be in the 2020 season in the face of Covid-19.




Designing Your Tour into Mongolia’s Desert Steppe

Wildlife and Landscapes of the Desert Steppe, Stone Horse Expeditions, MongoliaWe can arrange a tour to tour schedule and liking, with overnight stays in ger camps as available, with herder families, or in our own tented camp.  A tour can be for your group of family or friends, for couples or individual travelers, with prices varying accordingly.

Please contact us to discuss options and design the right tour for you!





A Typical Tour Itinerary for a Desert Steppe and Wildlife Experience in Mongolia

Wildlife and Landscapes of the Desert Steppe, Stone Horse Expeditions, MongoliaDay 1

Depart from Ulaanbaatar in the early morning for Ikh Nart Nature Reserve. Arrive around lunch time. Lunch as picnic lunch or at a camp or host family. Spend the afternoon to take in the landscape and explore ancient petroglyphs.

Overnight in ger camp, home stay or tent camping (according to time of year, and your preferences/budget)

Day 2

After breakfast, drive or hike to a location from where to watch wildlife. Spend the morning wildlife viewing and photographing. Picnic lunch or mid-day meal at a family or camp.

After lunch, opportunity for a short camel ride, or of you prefer, more exploration of the park, its wildlife and landscapes, visits to local families and their handicraft stores, or to the information center of the park.

Overnight in ger camp, home stay or tent camping (according to time of year, and your preferences/budget)

Day 3

Wildlife and Landscapes of the Desert Steppe, Stone HOse ExpeditionsTravel to Ikh Gazriin Chuluu. Lunch upon arrival, as picnic or in a ger camp. Afternoon explorations of the granite boulder landscape, shorter or longer hike to your liking.

Overnight in Ger Camp.

Day 4

Start travel back towards Ulaanbaatar. Visit Bagaa Gazriin Chuluu area, with temple ruins and more granite landscape, or drive back closer to Ulaanbaatar to pay a visit to the ruins of Manzushir Monastery in the Southern foothills of Bogd Khan Mountain.

Return to Ulaanbaatar, transfer to hotel, guest house or your home in Ulaanbaatar.

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Three Special Places to Experience Wildlife and Landscapes of the Desert Steppe

Ikh Nart Nature Reserve

Ikh Nart Nature Reserve in Dornogovi Aimag can be reached in about 4 hours from Ulaanbaatar by 4X4, or after an hours drive from the small train station of Shivee-Gobi on the Ulaanbaatar – Beijing railway. It lies in the stark landscapes of the desert steppe, from which its scenic rock outcrops and maze like formations rise.

Established in 1996, the reserve of 43,000 ha is more than a paper park, but one of the most successful managed reserves for conservation, science, education, visitation and last not least, the livelihood of about 110 nomadic livestock herder families.

Mongolia is rich in wildlife species, and Ikh Nart is one place where the visitor can be sure to encounter wildlife. Argali (wild sheep), Ibex (wild goat), Mongolian and Goitered gazelle abound in this park. Raptors include Saker Falcons, Kestrels, Kites, Buzzards, Golden and Steppe Eagles, and the huge Cinereous Vultures.

Ikh Nart Nature Reserve also hosts a wealth of historic sites including petroglyphs, buria sites, and the ruins of a monastery. Mineral springs at the Northwest corner of the nature reserve attract domestic visitors; nearby the springs is a ger camp tastefully designed to nestle against the rock formations. Alternative, more affordable accommodation is available in the guest gers of some of the local herder families

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Baga Gazriin Chuluu

Wildlife and Landscapes of the Desert Steppe, Mongolia, Baga Gazriin Chuluu, Stone Horse expeditionsBaga Gazriin Chuluu is an intriguing landscape shaped by picturesque granite rock formations. It’s a great place for short walks, scrambling up rock boulders, and to enjoy amazing views across this gigantic rock garden. It is a local nature reserve and habitat for argali, ibex and birdlife.

In a secluded valley lie the ruins of buddhist monastery. The foundations can still be seen, and a remaining wall is still covered in indigo colored paint of a mural. It is a peaceful place, where blue silk scarfs adorn the trunk of an old poplar tree. It is said that the poplar trees surrounding the ruins today were planted by the monks living here before the destruction of the monastery.

Baga Gazriin Chuluun is situated in Middle Gobi Province It can be reached in 3-4 hours from Ulaanbaatar, leaving the main road before reaching Mandalgovi, the capital city of the province. Mandalgovi is a small town that has seen much modernization in recent years including a modern hotel, with restaurant and coffee shop serving excellent meals and lattes.

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Ikh Gazriin Chuluu

Ikh Gazriin Chuluu is a National Park, and represents a larger expanse of granite formations than its little brother Bagaa Gazriin Chuluu. In recent years it has become the much visited site of music festivals performed on a stage build into a scenic back drop. While these events of traditional cultural performances draw crowds of domestic visitors, the large area offers also solitude and quiet for exploration, wildlife watching and resting in magnificent natural surroundings.

Ger  camps in Ikh Gazriin Chuluu offer accommodation for travelers who chose to spend the night in this scenic landscapes under the starry sky. Ikh Gazriin Chuluu is located in Gurvansaikhan Soum of Dundgovi province, southeast of Mandalgovi provincial capital.

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Wildlife and Landscapes of the Desert Steppe, Mongolia, Stone Horse ExpeditionsWildlife and Landscapes of the Desert Steppe, Stone Horse Expeditions, Mongolia