Why Riding A Camel In The Gobi Desert Should Be On Your Bucket List

Living in such an interconnected and technologically advanced world can make it tricky for travelers to find authentically off-the-beaten-path destinations to explore. However, if vast wilderness, dynamic landscapes, and nomadic approaches to life are what adventurers are looking for, they can still be found by hopping on an international flight and heading to Mongolia. Home to just over 3 million people, Mongolia hosts 24 varying ethnic groups and nearly 30% of the population is considered nomadic.

Grasslands, known as steppes, cover over half of the country's landscape. Pine forests and lakes are also found dotting Mongolia, but it's often the breathtaking Gobi Desert in the southern portion of the country that captures the minds and imaginations of travelers. Extending into Northern China, the Gobi Desert covers half a million square miles of land.

Travelers looking to enjoy the desert terrain in Mongolia always have options to book local jeep tours. There are also more unique routes to seeing the sights and engaging with oasis communities. Those hoping to embrace a decidedly local mode of transportation with incredible views to match will want to be sure to add a camel ride through the Gobi Desert to their bucket list.

Slow things down and savor the view

Beautiful mountain ranges, colorful cliffs, impressive dunes, caves, and canyons are all found within the parameters of the Gobi Desert. Making time for a camel ride and tour through this versatile terrain is a fantastic way to slow things down and truly take it all in. 

The city of Dalanzadgad sits approximately seven hours from Mongolia's capital of Ulaanbaatar and is considered a primary gateway to the desert by locals and travelers alike. Tours that depart from this destination and include camel rides often come with opportunities to stop at incredible landmarks along the way. Destinations like Khavtsgait are available to camelback adventurers and host petroglyphs dating back to the Early Iron Age.

When towering dunes are what travelers are hoping to admire in Mongolia, a camel ride through the Gobi Desert is a chance to make it happen. One of the highlights of a camel tour of this type is often a stop at the Khongoryn Els. Nicknamed "singing dunes" for the sound that's produced as the wind moves the sand, these dunes rise nearly 1,000 feet in the air.

Connect with desert wildlife, nature, and culture

Riding a camel through the Gobi Desert puts you in a good place to enjoy wildlife watching. While it's impossible to guarantee what you might spot along the way, the desert is home to a variety of exciting species. Snow leopards, Gobi bears, mountain sheep, and jerboa all thrive within this landscape.

Bactrian camels are also native to the Gobi Desert and have survived in harsh environments for thousands of years. They're easy to spot and ride through desert terrain thanks to their double hump and wide toes that allow them to evenly distribute their weight on the sand. Domesticated camels are typically relied on for desert tours and rides. The Gobi Desert also supports a population of wild camels called Khavtgai, which the International Union for Conservation of Nature has listed as critically endangered.

A camel ride through the Gobi Desert gives travelers a closer look at what nomadic regional life entails. Steppe nomads have long utilized Bactrian camels for transportation. This makes these animals an important part of Mongolian desert culture.

Whether it's for amazing views or wildlife encounters, a camel ride is an unforgettable experience in Mongolia. You will find this opportunity eye-opening when it comes to experiencing a small part of nomadic Gobi Desert lifestyles too. From start to finish, it's an activity that's worthy of being added to a bucket list.