Visiting Pastoralists in the Gobi Desert, Mongolia

Visiting Pastoralists in the Gobi Desert, Mongolia

adventure travel & photography

Destinations: Pakistan ◦◦ India ◦◦Turkey ◦◦ Egypt ◦◦ Bulgaria ◦◦ Mongolia ◦◦ Bangladesh ◦◦ Jordan ◦◦ Russia ◦◦ Turkmenistan ◦◦ Iran ◦◦ Kazakhstan ◦◦ Japan ◦◦ Hong Kong ◦◦ Greece ◦◦ Ukraine ◦◦ Syria ◦◦ Morocco ◦◦ Italy ◦◦ Mauritania ◦◦ Oman ◦◦ Algeria ◦◦ Faroe Islands ◦◦ Indonesia

The majority of Mongolians living outside the capital city of Ulaanbaatar are pastoralists. They reside in isolated yurts, scattered across vast distances in the Gobi Desert, far from civilization. As we passed another solitary yurt, we couldn't help but wonder, "What do they do in the evenings?"


During our stay, we spent an evening and a night with a pastoralist family in the heart of the desert. They prepared a traditional Mongolian barbecue for us, but left us to eat alone. Despite their efforts to conceal it, they appeared worried and tired. A middleman had arrived at the camp, and the entire family was busy assisting with the selection, slaughter, and preparation of the animals for meat.

Around a kilometer away from the yurts, one of the girls in the family fell off a motorcycle, injuring her head and causing her to feel frightened. Her father brought her to us, her head covered in blood. It became evident that they did not have essential medications or disinfectants, not even headache pills. We provided assistance with the injury and gave them all the medicines we had.


During the night, we were awakened by anxious voices. The sheep and goats in the sheepfold next to the yurts were restless and agitated. This commotion continued for approximately thirty minutes. In the morning, we discovered that predators had attempted to attack the herd.

The pastoralists in the Gobi Desert, Mongolia

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