The Gobi Desert

Pre-Conference Tour

2 - 7 July 2019

This tour in the Gobi Desert in southern Mongolia takes you to one of the last wilderness frontiers – truly spectacular scenery, wonderful wildlife and fascinating people. Ride a camel across golden sand dunes lulled by the eerie singing of the wind; be awed by flaming red sandstone cliffs; view some of the most remarkable fossil sites in the world and try your hand at fossil hunting; seek out Gobi bears, gazelle, and a plethora of birdlife; and, above all, meet the incredibly friendly and hospitable nomadic herders of Mongolia. Just call out "Nokhoi Khori!" (“Hold your dog!”) and you are welcomed into their ger to become part of an ancient traditional world.

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TUESDAY 2 JULY 2019

Depart Australia.


WEDNESDAY 3 JULY 2019           ULAAANBAATAR

Transit through Beijing onto your flight to Ulaanbataar, arriving in the morning. Stay overnight in Mongolia’s capital.


THURSDAY 4 JULY 2019              GOBI DESERT                        B,L,D

Early this morning you will fly south to Dalanzadgad and then travel to your camp, a small group of luxurious round white gers on the open plain. Duck your head as you enter the spacious room comfortably furnished in locally hand-crafted wooden furniture and, for us precious westerners, with an attached ensuite. Meet your fellow adventurers in the communal ger for lunch.

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Travel by 4WD to Gurvan Saikhan National Park with its iconic sand dunes, ice canyon and stunning mountain vistas. It is a haven for birds, plants and wildlife. Take a walk through Yolyn Am Gorge, filled with blue ice, one of the park's can't-miss sights. Walk to the face of the glacier for stunning photo ops.

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Along the way, see herds of shaggy yaks and, if you're lucky, an ibex Look out for white etchings on the rock walls – markings from ibex hooves scraping the face as they climb to the ridge above. Visit the small museum to see a collection of dinosaur eggs and bones, stuffed birds and a snow leopard.

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FRIDAY 5 JULY 2019       GOBI DESERT                             B,L,D

Enjoy watching the Gobi sunrise in the morning. After breakfast, we visit the Khavtsgait petroglyphs located in Boginyn Khyarridge. A collection of preserved petroglyphs of ibex, antelope, horse, camel and man on horse that dates back to 8000BC to 3000BC. 

Return to the Lodge for Lunch

In the late afternoon we head to Bayanzag.  As you drive across the arid plain you will come across the stunning “Flaming Cliffs” a convulsive gash in the desert.  This wind sculpted red sandstone formation was a treasure vault of dinosaur bones and eggs excavated in the 1920’s by American Palaeontologist and adventurer Roy Chapman Andrews, on whom, apparently, the Indiana Jones character was modelled.  Explore this spectacular area and try your own skills at fossil hunting – apparently dinosaur bones stick to your tongue, unlike human or animal bones!

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Enjoy the wilderness and unique nature formation. Short hiking around the flaming cliffs and a visit to the saxaul forest. Visit a Gobi family in the area and enjoy short camel ride.

Observe the stunning change of colours of the Flaming Cliffs at Gobi sunset

Dinner at the lodge.

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SATURDAY 6 JULY 2019              GOBI DESERT                       B,L,D

Today’s journey will help you understand the draw of the Gobi Desert. It is hypnotising; a vast empty space without fences or houses, the yellows and browns of the arid plains, the sparkling blue of endless skies. This is a place of contemplation.

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Visit Tugrugiin Shiree where the world famous fossil of ‘Fighting Dinosaurs’ was discovered by a joint Mongolian and Polish expedition in 1971. A protoceratops and a velociraptor, herbivore and carnivore, were locked together in a lethal embrace and came to be known as the Fighting Dinosaurs. We will never know exactly what happened in the moments prior to their deaths, but the two appear to have been entombed as they tussled.

As we travel back across the rocky desert you may come across a well where nomadic herders bring flocks of cashmere goats and fat-tailed sheep to drink. Wearing deels, traditional calf-length tunics, the men come and go on motorbikes while their children show off by riding horses bareback. Arrive at a camp of gers to meet a camel-breeding family. Meet some other families in the small village of Bulgan where, remarkably, they have learnt to grow vegetables in this most desolate of places. Share your gardening tips and find out about village life.

This evening enjoy dinner and an intimate folk concert at the camp.


SUNDAY 7 JULY 2019                ULAANBAATAR                     B

Early this morning transfer to Dalanzadgad for your flight back to Ulaanbaatar to join the main conference group.