Mongolia sprawls across an area almost three times the size of France and twice the size of Texas, and at the same time, it has the world’s lowest population density. Doubled with the nomadic nature of its people (which therefore means there are few cities or infrastructure) and their Shamanic beliefs that prohibit interference with the environment, Mongolia’s nature and wildlife remain well preserved and relatively undisturbed.
For travellers seeking raw wilderness and nature, Mongolia is a dream come true. As I discovered on my Nomadic Mongolia trip with G Adventures, there is no shortage of vast, wild grasslands and virgin landscapes in this pocket of unspoiled territory in Asia.
If you’re looking to deeply immerse yourself in the natural environment of Mongolia take a peek at the various landscapes you can expect to see in this beautiful land of wilderness:
The majority of Mongolia is covered by vast grasslands, which are also known as steppes. Stretching over 55 percent of the country, these steppes are home to large populations of gazelle and other livestock. Nomadic families inhabit these expanses, moving from one area to another come winter in search of new grass to support their sheep, cows and goats. It’s hard to find paved roads in Mongolia, and most of the time we were driving across large stretches of steppes.
Mongolia is one of the highest countries in the world, with an average elevation of around 1,500m (4,921 ft) . The highest mountains in the country are the Altai Nuruu, which are located in the far west of the country and soar up to 4,300m (14,107 ft). Near the centre of the country is the Khangai Nuruu mountain range, which we got to visit on our trip.
The southern part of Mongolia is dominated by the Gobi Desert, which spreads into the Chinese territory. On our trip, we headed to the Western Gobi (“Bayan Gobi” in Mongolian) where we hiked up to the Khongoriin Els, the biggest sand dunes in the area. Khongoriin Els translates to mean singing sands, referring to the sounds that the sand makes when it moves with the wind.
The northern areas of the country are mainly covered with larch and pine forests, known as “taiga” in Russian. These Siberian larches sometimes reach up to 45m (147 ft) in height and provide timbre for construction throughout the country. At Tsenkher hot springs, we got to camp close to a thick pine forest and it was a beautiful spot for hiking.
There are numerous saltwater and freshwater lakes across Mongolia and we often welcomed a break from the long travel days for a picnic lunch alongside one. The most famous being the Khosvgol Nuur, which contains 65 percent of the country’s fresh water.
G Adventures runs a number of departures in Mongolia encompassing a wide range of departure dates and activities to cater for different tastes. We’re thrilled at the prospect of showing you this big blue planet of ours — check out our small group trips here.