Mongolia Holidays

With vast untamed landscapes, endangered wildlife and nomadic peoples, Mongolia is one of the world’s last great frontiers

Much unchanged since the time of Genghis Khan, the opportunity to roam free across massive wide open spaces in a magnificent unspoilt environment, Mongolia will bewitch those craving a true adventure

While there are opportunities for great birding and wildlife spotting here this is only a small part of the reason to visit. There’s a huge amount of flexibility and freedom and the wilderness experience is second to none, but above all travel here is about the journey itself

Mongolia’s landscape is often described as pristine, but humans have been sharing it with nature for hundreds, if not thousands of years. In a country where the number of horses equals the human population - and almost half of them are nomadic herders with no fences to hinder them, their Bactrian camels, cattle, sheep and goats - Mongolia IS nature.  

It's also a land of constant surprises. On our private holidays in Mongolia, once outside the rapidly developing post-Soviet concrete capital of Ulaan Baatar, your driver, seemingly randomly, swings off the road at an unmarked place and heads into the wilderness. This is where you'll meet your herder and using a private mobile ger camp make your journey into the Gobi Desert with a camel caravan, horse ride across the steppe or undertaken an expedition into the mountains. News becomes unimportant and even if you have a mobile signal you won't need it. Go with the flow, let nature determine where you go, be prepared to expect the unexpected.

Natural High shines rays of adventurous light into some of the least explored, most exciting corners of the wider world”

- Financial Times

Planning a trip to Mongolia? Talk to us
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MONGOLIA'S TOP EXPERIENCES

BACTRIAN CAMEL TREK IN THE GOBI DESERT

ON FOOT WITH PRIVATE MOBILE CAMP ACROSS THE GOBI DESERT

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MONGOLIA'S TOP EXPERIENCES

YAK TREK WITH PRIVATE MOBILE CAMP

GET OFF THE BEATEN TRACK WITH YOUR TRUSTY YAK

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Best time to go to Mongolia

The best time to visit Mongolia is during the summer, from late May to September, when days are generally warm and dry – but experiencing four seasons in one day is a distinct possibility at all times of year.

The world’s largest landlocked nation, around 700km from the nearest sea and with an average elevation of almost 1600m, Mongolia has an extreme continental climate with short hot summers and long very cold winters. Ulaan Baatar is said to be the coldest capital on earth, and across the country winter temperatures regularly drop to -30C (-22F) and below. There are 260 days of sunshine each year giving rise to Mongolia being known as the 'Land of Blue Skies’ while at night they are impossibly drenched with stars. Temperatures plummet as soon as the sun goes down so be prepared to wrap up warm then, even in summer.

Late May to September offer the most comfortable weather conditions for travel. Mongolia is generally a dry country and while temperatures may hit 40C in the Gobi in mid-summer, you should expect some rain in the north, often in the form of thunder storms, sending the grasslands bursting into flower rich lush life.

Visitor numbers peak in July and August, particularly during the Nadaam festival - the ‘three games of men’, namely horse racing, archery and wrestling - which draws big crowds to Mongolia’s capital, although it is also celebrated elsewhere in the country. Early booking is absolutely essential. If you want to visit Mongolia when it’s quieter, consider late May, September, or even October when the autumn colours of the northern forests are a spectacular sight.

From November to March the average maximum temperature drops below freezing so winter journeys need special planning and visitors must be prepared to dress for lows of -35C. Ger camps are closed but hotels as well as offices feel positively tropical with the heating centrally provided.

There’s less wind and snowfall in winter than there is in the spring. March to mid-May bring sunshine with sudden snowstorms, biting wind and sandstorms. These are the worst months for Mongolians as herds are depleted, livestock is weak and suffering from the ravages of winter so it’s not a good time to visit a nomadic family.

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EXPLORING THE BEST OF MONGOLIA

THE GOBI

The Gobi is the largest desert in Asia and around one third of its 1.3 million square kms covers the southern part of Mongolia. If you crave that sense of elation that can only be found in massive wide open spaces that stretch to the horizon and beyond, and the freedom to roam in remote places then there’s hardly a better place to start.

In the rain shadow of the Tibetan Plateau, while many imagine the Gobi as a lifeless sandy desert, in reality only a tiny percentage of it is sand dunes. For the most part it is a land of treeless dry steppe, gravel peppered with dunes and rugged sacred mountains, their colours subtle and ever changing beneath clouds whisked along by the wind. Mongolians consider there are actually 33 different types of Gobi, which simply means waterless palace in the local language.

It would be easy to think of the Gobi as featureless, but notable in history as part of the great Mongol Empire, and the location of several important caravanserai along the fabled Silk Road, it is also an important archeological place where it was first discovered that dinosaurs laid eggs and some fossils remain in situ, exposed to the elements.  Elsewhere prehistoric burial sites, petroglyphs and ruins of Buddhist monasteries, represent various eras of Mongolia’s history.

In the pristine wilderness of East Gobi perpetual and ephemeral springs emanate from the heads of several valleys among the rocky outcrops and eroded canyons making it one of the best Gobi wildlife areas. Plant life is sparse but tough grasses, tamarisk, rare Saxaul and little wild onions that spring up in vast drifts after the tiniest drop of rain covering the desert in swathes of purple mean there’s just enough vegetation to support Bactrian camels, Argali, the world’s largest wild sheep with magnificent curled horns, and Siberian Ibex. Tracked by local herdsmen who know every nook and cranny like the back of their hand, there’s a very good chance of seeing both while exploring on foot, on horseback or with your own private camel caravan.

EXPLORING THE BEST OF MONGOLIA

NORTHERN STEPPE

The Gobi is the largest desert in Asia and around one third of its 1.3 million square kms covers the southern part of Mongolia. If you crave that sense of elation that can only be found in massive wide open spaces that stretch to the horizon and beyond, and the freedom to roam in remote places then there’s hardly a better place to start.

 

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Our experienced travellers include:

Catherine Ronan
Catherine Ronan
Andrea Hulme
Andrea Hulme
Alex Edwards
Alex Edwards

It takes genuine local knowledge to craft trips that go beyond the ordinary.

All of us at Natural High have over 20 years’ experience in the countries we offer. We’ve lived there, worked there and arranged countless one-off journeys for clients. We live to travel – and love to share our tips on what’s really worth doing. For expert advice (and a traveller’s tale or two), speak to one of our team. They’ll be happy to let you in on their travel secrets, and help you plan a tailor-made trip that’s truly unforgettable.

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Tom & Karen Holterhoff

Perfect holiday from start to finish.

"Absolutely excellent service. The itinerary was spot on and the whole holiday worked like clockwork. The pre holiday notes and briefing were most useful too. I would have no hesitation in recommending Natural High Safaris to others."

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Fabulous trip to Tanzania

"This is the second time we have used Natural High Safaris, and again they organised an outstanding holiday for us, this time in Tanzania, combining a safari and beach holiday that was top-notch. Highly recommend them, with huge range of experience and desire to really understand what it is their clients want - and then delivering! Thanks to Catherine Ronan."

Anonymous

An outstanding trip to the Himalayas superbly designed by Natural High.

"Natural High organised a 2 week family trip to Ladakh in August 2018. Andrea Hulme used her local knowledge to design an exciting trip that included a 5 day trek, white water rafting and numerous cultural visits and experiences. Their local partners Shakti were absolutely outstanding and we loved staying in the village houses as opposed to hotels. Their female Ladakhi guide Sonam was really one of the best we have every had on our travels."

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