A day with lots more driving, and seeing the Przewalski horses in Khustain Nuruu National park.
Sunrise in the desert
Last night, I discussed with the guide and the driver about the opportunities to take advantage of the golden hour this morning. The idea was to capture the sunrise over the sand dunes. They came up with great ideas and a spot, and we decided to get up early. So that’s why at 5 am, we’re driving on the black roads of Mongolia.
I see however on my phone that we’re pretty far out still from the dunes, and that the sunrise moment is getting close now. It soon becomes clear that we’re going to miss the spot we’d agreed on by over an hour. I start looking out for a nice alternative to make the best of my morning. I spot horses in a steppe not too far away from the road and have some good fun shooting them in the red sky of the rising sun over the Mongolian steppe. But it also meant this team of experts had some trouble planning, despite knowing the importance of the photo moments…
A little later that day we made it to these sand dunes. It’s sold to many tourists as the Gobi desert, but it’s several hundreds of miles out still to the real desert. It’s about 7 kilometers long, and a couple of hundred meters wide. Good for the images, but I’ll come back to see the real Gobi desert, and I’ll have a train ride in it next week.
Khustain Nuruu, home of the Prezwalski horses
After breakfast in the Gobi alike sand dunes, we make our way to the Khustain Nuruu National Park. It’s here that one of the real original horse species, the Przewalski’s horse, can still be found.
Khustain Nuruu is an open park without fences, but it’s large enough to give the horses the space they need.
Thanks to going here outside of the season, there are not many tourists. The park is quiet. I can walk up to a large group of horses and get some nice pictures.
On the way back, my phone had lost all signal. Turns out that adding money to the phone wasn’t the only thing I had to do, but there was a manipulation needed to activate a data bundle. My Mongolian being somewhat non-existent, I didn’t do that, and now fell without signal. Khongor to the rescue. He remotely charged my phone, and I was back able to communicate with the rest of the world, and have a signal that permitted me to see on the maps where we go.
Back in the Ger
We return to the same camp where we slept yesterday. I get used to the cold and quietness of the gers. The good and warm food makes it a bit more comfortable. The small fire in the ger is fed with some birch wood from a nearby forest, and we all go to sleep way earlier than I would in the city.
Koen Blanquart is a strategy consultant, journalist, and author.
Wanderlust is one of his driving factors, and he shares his travels here on Boarding Today. Koen is also the skipper of SV Bagabonda, a sailing vessel making a slow circumvention of the globe..
Koen recently published a book on how to manage a remote team: The Suitcase Office.