Explore the Gobi by camel
It’s a common misconception that all deserts are ‘deserted’. Know where to look and you might be surprised by the number of animals that have adapted to this extreme terrain, making them a prime destination for a safari with a difference.
Take Gurvan Saikhan National Park on the fringes of the Gobi Desert in southern Mongolia.
For starters, the country’s largest national park offers some jaw-dropping vistas that include grassy steppes, rugged canyons and mountains, salt wetlands and perhaps most famously Khongoryn Els – the ‘singing sands’, so-called for the eerie sounds produced by the wind passing through the dunes. The area counts more than 240 birds among its long-term residents, including the bonedropping lammergeier vulture, and more than 50 mammal species. You have the chance of spotting the elusive snow leopard here (though it’s more likely you’ll find their tracks), as well as Gobi wolves, chinchilla-like pikas and mountain ruminants such as ibex and argali, the world’s largest wild sheep.
The native two-humped Bactrian camel is certainly the most traditional way of getting around these parts, with single or multi-day treks available. But if you prefer a slightly less smelly, motorised ‘ship of the desert’, jeep tours are also an option.