2017 Tours
  • Cape Town Office: +27 21 863 6400
  • Namibia Office: +27 21 863 6400
  • Worcester Office: +27 23 347 7427
Call Us: +27 21 863 6400

Mongolia Guided Self-drive Adventure

  • Historic Ulaanbaatar
  • Yolyn Am (Lammergeier Valley)
  • Flaming cliffs of the Gobi Desert
  • Orkhon Valley and the Orkhon Waterfall

Overview

Mongolia is a unique and relatively unexplored travel destination that offers vast emptiness that links land and sky. Mongolia is one of the last few places on the planet where nomadic life is still a living tradition. It is a land of contrasts with scenes of desert, the wide-open steppe and beautiful fresh water lakes. The country has the lowest population density in the world.

The majestic and vast emptiness has an appeal that lures travellers to explore and discover this destination, which is also referred to as the “Land of Blue Skies”. It is set to have 250 sunny days each year. The winters are very cold with temperatures dropping to -40ºC.

One of the world’s greatest deserts is the Gobi. It covers large parts of southern Mongolia. Compared to the Sahara and Namib the Gobi has lesser sand dunes, rather large desolated areas with gravel plains and rocky ridges.

Mongolia is also a country with an old and rich history. During the 1200’s their most famous leader Genghis Khan had a great influence on world history and the Mongol Empire. His grandson was the founder of modern China.

From 10 to 25 August 2018 Live the Journey will embark on a self-drive 4 x 4 adventure. We will follow off-the-beaten tracks and visit the most beautiful places the country has to offer. Don’t miss out as this will be a WOW experience that will stay with your forever.

Itinerary

Day 0: Depart

Depart from South Africa on a flight to Mongolia. The flight route will be determined at time of booking according to the best available options for the group.

Day 1: Arrival Ulaanbaatar

Arrive in Ulaanbaatar.
Met at the airport and transfer to your hotel.
Rest of the day at leisure to acclimatize to new time zone and to find your land legs after the long hours in the air.
Welcome dinner.
O/N Hotel Nine (dinner)

Day 2: City Tour

Breakfast and then depart on a tour of the capital.
Met by your guide for a visit to the Gandan Monastery. The monastery was established in 1838. It is the most active and one of the largest monasteries in Mongolia. See morning chanting, beautiful temples and the huge 27 meters high gold plated Buddha “Megjid Janraisig”. Visit the National Museum of Mongolian History. The museum was established in 1924 and its collection contains over 50,000 historical, archaeological and ethnological artefacts from prehistoric times to the present. A representative selection of exhibits is displayed in 10 halls, arranged according to historic periods and topics. Traditional concert at 4:00. Lunch at local restaurant and dinner will be at leisure.
O/N Hotel Nine. (breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Day 3: Ulaanbaatar to Tsagaan-Suvraga - 450 km

Breakfast and check-out.
You will receive your vehicles, load luggage and attend a quick briefing on the day’s driving and road conditions. The convoy will head out south towards Mandalgobi Province (middle Gobi) and will stop at Mother Rock. Here Mongolians believe that by praying and paying respect to Mother Rock their wishes will be fulfilled. Road conditions will be all hard dirt tracks with average speed of 40-50 km/h. We will stop and visit a real Mongolian nomad ger.
O/N Ger camp near Tsagaan-Suvarga (breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Day 4: Tsagaan Suvraga-Yolin AM - 250 km

Yolyn Am (Lammergeier Valley) is a deep and narrow gorge in the Gurvan Saikhan National Park. The valley is named after the Lammergeier, which is called Yol in Mongolian. The Lammergeier is an old-world vulture hence the name is often translated to Valley of the Vultures or Valley of the Eagles. Yolyn Am is found in the Zuun Saikhanii Nuruu (the Eastern Beauty) subrange of the Gurvan Saikhan Mountains. The area, as part of the Gobi Desert, sees little precipitation. However, Yolyn Am is notable for a deep ice field. The ice field is several meters thick by the end of winter, and is several kilometres long. In past years it remained year-round, but the modern ice field tends to disappear by September.
O/N Ger camp. (breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Day 5: Yolin Am - Hongorin Els Singing dunes - 180 km

After having breakfast, we will drive to the sand dunes called Khongoriin Els. The Khongoriin Els sand dunes lie north of the Baruunsaikhan Mountain in the northern part of the Sevrei and Zuulun Mountains. The Khongoriin Els is one of the largest and most spectacular sand dunes in Mongolia and they are up to 200m high, 12km wide and about 100km long. The largest dunes are at the northwest corner of the range. You can climb to the top of the sand dunes and then slide back down on a plastic bag. The views of the desert from the top are wonderful. Climbing to the top of the dunes during the sunset gives you an amazing panoramic view of the surrounding desert. To the north lies the Khongoriin River. Spend this night in roof tents that are equipped on your jeep.
O/N Wild camping (breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Day 6: Hongorin Els - Flaming Cliff - 160km

Breakfast and break-up camp.
We will start our drive in the morning to Bayanzag (Flaming Cliffs) where American explorer, adventurer, Andrew Roy Chapman, discovered a palaeontologist paradise. Even today you will be able to spot dinosaur bones.
Enjoy the sunset at Flaming Cliffs.
O/N Ger camp (breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Day 7: Flaming cliffs to Saikhan Ovoo - 160km

After breakfast, we will head off to Saikhan Ovoo which is a small village in the Middle Gobi Province. The bend in the river marks the remains of two ruined monasteries, the Barlim Khiid on the north bank and the Khutagt Khiid on the south. The monastery used to have about 500 monks. It was built in the late 18th century to dedicate the first visit to Mongolia by a Dalai Lama. The monastery was reopened in 1990 and the current Dalai Lama visited it in 1992.
O/N Ger Camp (breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Day 8: Saihan Ovoo- Kharkhorum first capital city of Mongolia - 260km

Today we will spend most of the time driving through the Orkhon Valley and will visit the Orkhon Waterfall, the biggest waterfall in Mongolia. We also visit Tuvkhun monastery located at the top of the mountain. Then we continue and drive towards Khar Kkhorin. The ancient capital of Khubilai Khan a grandson of Chingis han.
O/N Ger Camp (breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Day 9: Kharkhorum- White Lake - 340 km

A wonderful day lies ahead: a canyon, volcanic crater, river crossings surrounded by hills and mountains. A day full of adventure.

Morning visit to Erdene Zuu Monastery and see monks chanting. Start driving to White Lake, Terhiin Tsagaan Nuur.

Today’s journey will start on a paved road until we reach Tsetserleg, capital city of Arkhangai Province. Here we will stop at a café owned by British expats. Opportunity to enjoy coffee and snacks and explore a bit of the city. Then we continue to drive towards White Lake. Will stop by Chuluut River Canyon in the evening.
O/N Wild Camping (breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Day 10: White Lake- Shine ider - 240 km

We will do a full day of driving to the Shine ider village of Khuvsgul Province. Further north our route goes through the wooded slopes of the Khangai Mountain range and you will see beautiful Mongolian landscapes. Enjoy lunch in beautiful natural surrounds.
O/N Ger Camp (breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Day 11: Shine ider to Khobsgul Lake - 250km

Today will be a long day on the road. We need to cross two passes and lots of little rivers and ruts. Our early departure will be towards Murun a provincial town of Khubsgul. This will be a refuel and resupply stop. From there we hit the paved road for 100km towards Hubsgul Lake, one of the gem lakes of northern Mongolia.
Enjoy a walk along the shores of the crystal-clear water of Lake Khovsgul.
O/N Wild Camping (breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Day 12: Free day at the lake

After all the hard driving the last couple of days we enjoy a day at leisure.
Optional activities: hiking, visit reindeer herders, horse riding and boat ride on the lake.

Day 13: Hubsgul-Uran Togoo - 250 km

We start early with a drive around the lake and then head eastwards to Erdenebulgan. This will include several river crossings, muddy sections, Alpine meadows with trees and blossom flowers. We will arrive in Erdenebulgan in the afternoon. Lunch on the banks of Egi River. After lunch, we head towards Uran Togoo Mountain.
O/N Wild camping near Orkhon river (breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Day 14: Uran Togoo- Amarbayasgalantd - 200 km

On today’s menu are: a Buddhist temple, gently rolling hills and scattered nomadic gers throughout the valley.

After breakfast, we will start driving towards Amarbayasgalant Monastery, one of the most prominent monasteries of Mongolia built in the mid-17th century by Manchu’s in respect of Saint Zanabazar. The monastery was partly destroyed during the communist era and has been restored in the early 90’s. Today about 50 monks permanently stay in the monastery.
We will drive through Erdenet city, the 3rd largest city of Mongolia. Stay in the camp overlooking the beautiful Amarbayasgalant monastery.
O/N Ger camp (breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Day 15: Amarbayasgalant-Ulaanbaatar - 370 km

Early departure from Amarbasaglant for Ulaanbataar to arrive in Ulaanbataar around 16:00. Check in at hotel to freshen up. Shopping and farewell dinner.
O/N Hotel Nine (breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Day 16: Departure

Breakfast and check-out.
Transfer to the airport to check-in for your return flight home.
End of service (breakfast)

Dates

10 to 25 August 2018

Rates

LAND PACKAGE: Based on 10 people
Per person sharing: USD 4,400.00 (based on 2 people per vehicle)

Included

  • Vehicle rental fee 
  • Fuel per vehicle for the duration of the tour
  • Vehicles are equipped with roof top tent for two people
  • Support vehicle 
  • 4 nights in roof top tents 
  • 3 nights in Hotel Nine
  • 8 nights in ger camps on full board basis
  • A mechanic
  • A field chef
  • English speaking guide for entire trip 
  • Toll fees 
  • Entrance fees for national parks
  • Return airport transfers 
  • Camping equipment: folding chair, camp mattress
  • Bottled water during the day – 2 liters per day per car
  • Car insurance for accident, 
  • Car refrigerator, sand plates, and 2 spare tires
  • Car radios (Motorolla)

Excluded

  • Alcoholic and soft drinks during trip, 
  • Personal service fee at the hotels and ger camps
  • Sleeping bag 
  • Gratuities for crew
  • International and domestic flights 
  • Airlift evacuation
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Medical, luggage and travel insurance
  • Visa fee
  • Any inoculations
  • Any other items or services not specified


TRIP NOTES:

Type of camping:
Two-man tents, camping table, chairs, mattresses and sleeping bags will be provided. “Bush camps” will be set-up in areas where there is no alternative accommodation. On this route we will explore the off-the-beaten areas of Mongolia where camping is the only accommodation option. The guide vehicle will have an equipped kitchen, but no ablution facilities are available on camping nights.

What is a Ger Camp?
In ancient times people in Mongolia made shelters from dry branches and animal skin. These are round structures. The first gers to resemble the modern-day design dates back to 2500 – 3000 BC. The structure consists of two main elements: a wooden frame and the felt that covers it.

A Ger Camp is a type of resort where tourists stay in a ger instead of a hotel room. These camps are in beautiful locations. The gers (rooms) can sleep between 2 and 4 people. Ablution facilities are shared (like we have in our caravan parks). Separate shower and toilet for male and females. These are about 50 – 100 m from the main sleeping area. They have restaurants that serve Mongolian traditional cuisine as well as European dishes.