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Arburd Sands, Nomadic Journeys

North of Gobi Desert

par Choidogiin Batbadrakh, Jan Wigsten - publié le , mis à jour le

Text and photos : Jan Wigsten

Arburd Sands Ger Camp is a kind of lodge placed on the treeless steppes using ancient Mongolian appropriate technology such as yurts (ger). Mr Choidogiin Batbadrakh and his wife Densmaa are related to one third of the community of this region and they involve their relatives and friends in the operations of the ger camp and for trek and horse riding expeditions supported by camel carts.

Mongolian nomads were thrown into market economy dynamics as of the early 1990s when the drastic changes occurred in Europe, causing the downfall of the USSR. Batbadrakh came on a Nomadic Journeys trip in the mid 1990s as a wrangler supporting horse riding expeditions by Nomadic Journeys. And the partnership developed over the years. Batbadrakh and his local friends felt they liked the job and started to invest in their own ger camp, as well as registered a tour company of their own, which in turn is promoted by Nomadic Journeys.

Only 4 hours away from the capital, Ulaanbaatar, situated next to the 20km long sand dune of Arburd Sands, the ger camp is in the northern edge of the Gobi. Within 35 km are the sacred mountains of Zorgol Hairhan Uul, vertical cliffs.
Guest’s who dislike camping will be lodged at the camp. Transfers to camp are either provided by Nomadic Journeys or community members by their own jeeps as availability of vehicles dictate.

Batbadrakh’s family belongs fully to the Mongolian equestrian tradition, and are famous horse trainers of Naadam festivals. In addition to operating a camp, they organize fix dated treks supported by camel-carts and a mobile yurt. Cooks and English language are provided from Nomadic Journeys in Ulaanbaatar. As well as sophisticated horse riding expeditions for competent riders at all paces, for several hours per day, for eight days moving the tented camp by camel cart caravan every day.

Hence the recommended length of the stay in the area is in the ger camp 3 or 4 nights, for treks 4 nights and for horse rides between 5 and 9 nights.
Badrakh spent a couple years in Japan training horses, on Japanese race courses.

4h drive south of Ulaanbaatar, on the treeless steppes. No public transport.

Nomadic Journeys Ltd.
P.O. Box 479, One Sukhbaatar Street
Ulaanbaatar 13, Mongolia.
Tel : (976) 11 328737
Fax : (976) 11 321489
Email :
Internet :
Language : English, Mongolian, Japanese

Cultural Information
The Mongolian steppe nomads caused the Chinese civilizations to build the Great Wall of China and rebuild it several times. This wall of separation between nomadic and agricultural peoples are now more than 2000 years old and it have become obsolete and archaeology. In contrast, Mongolian nomads, have lived in yurts since more than 2500 years and they are still essentially a nomadic people. Almost half the population in Mongolia depend on animal husbandry since the dependence of livestock have increased after the introduction of market economy. Hence, many professionals took up pastoralist livelihoods in the early 1990s and that part of the population doubled or tripled over the last 10 years. The Arburd Sands area is an example of steppe nomads relatively close to the capital Ulaanbaatar. In this area the social fabric are still intact, despite of the socioeconomic changes that were introduced during the 1990s.

Recommended Tours :
Title : Camel Trek in the near Gobi
Duration : Length of the trip 7D/6N
Dates : fixed dated
Price : USD 590 pp
Accomodations : Tents and yurts
Size of groups : 2-12
Activities : Trek and ride with camel caravan.
Seasons : Summer June through September.

For more information :