The Mongolian Gobi

The Mongolian Gobi desert is located in the southern part of Mongolia, while the rest of the desert extends all the way to the north of China. Gobi is the largest desert in Asia and one of the cold deserts in the world. The desert has hot summer and cold winter, sometimes covered with snow.

Gobi desert has been part of the great Mongol Empire and a route of the Silk Road where major trading posts were located. Last summer, I spent two weeks travelling on dirt and bumpy road with no road signs, documenting the Gobi desert from the south to the north including the Gurvan Saikhan National Park, also known as the Three Beautiful Mountains. The whole experience evokes a great sense of adventure to explore this vast and interesting landscape. It re-lives those ancient years where only camels and horses were the only form of transportation. 

Gobi desert covers an area of 1,295,000 sq km with a length of 1,600 km and a width of 800 km. The desert is expanding in a process known as desertification, which it is gradually taking over the grasslands. The desert landscape includes sand dunes, rocks, and sandstones formation, valleys and gorge such as Yolyn Am, as well as plains and steppes. The Altai Mountains ends on the north of the desert.

Wildlife that inhabits the desert includes wild Bactrian camels, wild ass, gazelles, wolves and sometimes snow leopards too.

Dinosaur eggs were discovered in the 1920s by an American explorer at an archaeological site known as the Flaming Cliffs. Since then, many international and Mongolian scientific groups have discovered fossils of several dinosaur species inhabiting the area. 

Nomads have lived and survived in this desert for centuries, resilience to all weather for survival. Every few hundred metres, a nomad’s tent known as Ger can be seen in the vast desert. Nomads built their summer camps near to water sources such as rivers and streams, and winter camps near mountains to be sheltered from the cold winter winds and snow. Moving with their livestock of camels, horses, goats, sheep and cattle.

The day’s adventure in the Gobi is always being complemented with a beautiful sunset.

Next July 2021, I will be leading a photography expedition to Mongolia. The best time to explore Mongolia and the Gobi desert is in the summer. Click here for more information about the photography expedition.  

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