Gobi desert is one of the world’s most legendary places, feared as uninhabitable but attracts travelers all over the world because of its forbidding nature. The whole place covers one third of Mongolia’s land mass, and is revered for its geography, variety of plants, animals and its inhabitants. Mongolians list 33 types of Gobi, depending on the soil color and its composition. There is a lot of variety within the Gobi desert, from wildlife parks and mountains to canyons with dramatic rock. The animal life here is extraordinary, and you can get a chance to see close-up rare and endangered species such as the wild ass (Khulan), huge-horned argali sheep, and saiga antelope. The Gobi is also home to the snow leopard and the Gobi bear, but these are so rare that few people are ever lucky enough to see them.
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However, in Umnugobi (South Gobi) one can see bearded vultures, eagles, jerboa, martens, fox, and ibex the wild mountain goat. Local people had domesticated the two humped Bactrian camel thousands of years ago. Other than riding, the camel is used for its wool, highly prized for making fashion clothing, and for its delicious milk, some of which you are sure to be offered when visiting a local family. The desert is also home to the world-celebrated dinosaur fossilized bones and eggs. It was this very place that the very first fossilized dinosaur eggs were found by explorer Roy Chapman Andrews, confirming the way they gave birth to their offspring. Nowadays, Mongolia’s minerals boom is primarily located here by it large reserve of gold, copper, coal, flu or spar tungsten, molybdenum and iron, as well as semi-precious stones like chalcedony, jasper and agate. In 1991 the United Nations designated the Gobi Desert as fourth largest Biosphere reserve in the world.
The Gurvansaikhan Mountain National Park includes the strictly protected and very special zone of Yoliin Am (Vulture Valley). It is famous for its dramatic and very unusual scenery; a valley in the middle of the Gobi desert, with its almost one meter thick ice that survives almost all year-round.
Bayanzag, which means ‘rich in sax shrubs’. It is more commonly known as the ‘Flaming Cliffs’, as is called because of the colors that flare in the setting sun. It is renowned worldwide for the number of dinosaur bones and eggs found in the area by Roy Chapman Andrews.
THE SINGING SANDS
OF KHONGORYN ELS
The Singing Sands of Khongoryn Els are some of the largest and the most spectacular sand dunes in Mongolia. They extend for some 185 km, some of the dunes are 800 metres high, and the views of the desert from the top are wonderful. As the sand particles from the dune rub together it produces and eerie and musical sound.
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