HUSTAI NATIONAL PARK
For those who want to start their journey directly on their bicycles from Ulaanbaatar, we offer this circuit which is 280 kilometers through the Hustai National Park. This park is dedicated to the Prewalski horses which were reintroduced in Mongolia in the 60s from the Netherlands. on this route, you will have the opportunity to meet nomadic families, to feel the immensity of the steppe and to cross authentic villages in which you can take showers in public baths like the locals.
this itinerary has been created for those who want to start their journey directly from Cheketours without having to put their bikes in a vehicle to bring them to their starting point. It will take you through Hustai National Park in beautiful steppe landscapes. Accommodation can be in tents or in tourist camps which offer a little more comfort.
For those who decide to sleep in a tent, they can nonetheless take showers in the public baths located in each village crossed.
A variant allows you to return to Ulaanbaatar along the Tuul river. This lengthens the route and crosses only one village - Endershireet - and a tourist camp where you can buy food. The bivouacs are done on the banks of the river with the Gobi desert on your south. This route is marked in green color on the map
Take with you warm sleeping bags because the weather is capricious and the highest camp is more than 2500 meters above sea level. You can expect cold nights
Hustai national park is covering over 50,000 hectares of area. More than 50% of the land is mountain steppe, which lets its visitors feel what is the real mountain steppe is.
The Hustai protected area was established in 1993, a year after the first successful reintroduction of wild horses or Przewalski horses in their wild homeland. The wild horse name Przewalski came after Russian Geographer (Polish origin) Nikolay Przhevalsky, who first discovered the wild horse during his central Asian research in 1878.
The only still-living wild ancestor of the domestic horses, the wild horse is called Takhi in the Mongolian language; those once roamed through Mongolian vast-open territory became extinct in the wild by the end of the 1960s. Human population expansions to their land, overhunting sometimes for food, poaching, drought or rainless summer, and severe winter were some of the reasons for the wild horse extinction. Anyway, there were some Takhi horses in the captive zoos and private collections of individuals in the western countries.
First, 15 Takhi wild horses were reintroduced to Mongolia by the initiation of the Holland-Mongolian joint project in 1992 followed by more transports from foreign countries, reached the total number of 84 heads.
The reintroduction and conservation in Hustai National Park was a success. At present, 350 wild horses are roaming in the wild nature of Hustai National Park. Hustai is one of the well-protected areas in Mongolia, managed by the Mongolian Association for the Conservation of Nature and Environment between 1993 and 2003, and a dedicated NGO (Non-governmental Organization) Hustai National Park Trust since 2003.
The Tuul river or Tula River is a river in central and northern Mongolia. Sacred to the Mongols, the Tuul is generally called the Khatan (Queen) Tuul in Mongolian. It is 704 kilometres or 437 miles long and drains an area of 49,840 square kilometres or 19,240 square miles. The river is called the "Duluo river" in the Book of Sui, a Chinese historical work completed in 636 AD. The Secret History of the Mongols (1240 AD) frequently mentions a "Black Forest of the Tuul River" where the palace of Wang Khan was located. The Ming dynasty (1368–1644) was established by the progressive expulsion of the Mongol Empire from China. After capturing Beijing, the Ming's founding Hongwu Emperor defeated the Mongols at the Tula River in 1372, driving them back to the Orhon River. The following Hongwu Emperor would find it necessary to defeat the Oirats at the river Tula again in 1414.
The river originates in the Khan-Khentein-Nuruu Nature Reserve in the Khentii Mountains, in the Erdene sum of Töv aimag. From there, it travels southwest until it reaches the territory of Ulaanbaatar. Its water runs through the southern part of the capital city of Mongolia, continuing in a western direction in large loops. When it meets the border of Bulgan aimag it turns north, running along that border. After it enters Selenge aimag, it discharges into the Orkhon River near the sum center of Orkhontuul sum.
The Orkhon flows into the Selenge River, which flows into Russia and Lake Baikal. The Tuul River also flows along the Khustain Nuruu National Park. It is typically frozen over from the middle of November through the middle of April. Willow forests grow along the Tuul River, and the river itself is home to endangered species of sturgeon. Currently the river is suffering from pollution, some caused by Ulaanbaatar's central sewage treatment facility, as well as heavy mineral and sedimentation pollution caused by gold mining in the Zaamar area. In addition, the steady influx of people settling near the river may be causing a degradation of water quality.
Nomads families Despite the draw of the city, hundreds of thousands of Mongolians continue to preserve a way of life that goes back at least a millennium. These nomadic families still drive their herds across the vast steppes of what is the world’s most sparsely populated country after Greenland. The herds live off the land, and the nomads live off the milk and meat of their animals.
Mongolian family life centers around the ger. These large, portable tents made of felt, plastic tarps, and ornate wooden slats protect nomadic families from some of the coldest temperatures on the planet
Mongolians are master horse riders. Many families own large herds of horses that roam the fenceless steppe, and fermented mare’s milk, which the Mongolians call airag, is a popular drink. Traditionally, Mongolian nomads’ skill on horseback has been essential for guarding their herds and driving them to pasture. Though these days herders sometimes round up their animals from the seat of a motorbike, nomadic Mongolians still prize horse riding as both a practical necessity and profound connection to their ancestors and communities.
Nomads families Motorcycles are not the only technological upgrade over the last several generations. According to the World Bank, between 60 and 70 percent of the nomadic population now has access to electricity. This does not mean they’re on the grid; they are nomads, after all. But many gers now feature solar panels that, at least sporadically, “feed” the nomadic families’ mobile phones, radios, televisions, and electric lights.
As it is elsewhere in Asia, the biggest change in Mongolian society is the trend toward urbanization. The nomadic families who can afford it increasingly send at least one of their children to the city to go to school. Many of these kids prefer to stay there, especially those who find good work.