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LANDSCAPE OF MONGOLIA

LANDSCAPE OF MONGOLIA

Mongolia sprawls across an area almost three times the size of France and twice the size of Texas, and at the same time, it has the world’s lowest population density. Doubled with the nomadic nature of its people (which therefore means there are few cities or infrastructure) and their beliefs that prohibit interference with the environment, Mongolia’s nature and wildlife remain well preserved and relatively undisturbed.

For travelers seeking raw wilderness and nature, Mongolia is a dream come true. Mongolia is no shortage of vast, wild grasslands and virgin landscapes in this pocket of unspoiled territory in Asia.

If you’re looking to deeply immerse yourself in the natural environment of Mongolia take a peek at the various landscapes you can expect to see in this beautiful land of the wilderness:

GRASSLANDS

The majority of Mongolia is covered by vast grasslands, which are also known as steppes. Stretching over 55 percent of the country, these steppes are home to large populations of gazelle and other livestock. Nomadic families inhabit these expenses, moving from one area to another come winter in search of new grass to support their sheep, cows, and goats. It’s hard to find paved roads in Mongolia, and most of the time we were driving across large stretches of steppes.

From east to west, Mongolia’s grasslands span 80 percent of the country and generate livelihoods for nomadic herders. And, as the only large-scale habitat of this type in Asia, they provide a rare refuge for native wildlife such as argali sheep, gazelles, snow leopards, demoiselle cranes, cinereous vultures, and saiga.

MOUNTAINS

Mongolia is one of the highest countries in the world, with an average elevation of around 1,500m (4,921 ft). The highest mountains are located against the northern and western border with Kazakhstan. The Tavan Bogd is the highest peak of Mongolia (4374 meters) and located in the Altay Mountains. The Khangai mountain range stretches across central Mongolia with the Khuvsgul Mountains at the northern side of this mountain range. The eponymous enormous lake is also located here; it is the largest freshwater lake in Central Asia. The Taiga with vast pine forests is traditionally inhabited by reindeer herders and is located on the border with Siberia. Near the center of the country is the Khangai Nuruu mountain range, which we got to visit on our trips.

GOBI DESERT

Mongolia Gobi Desert, the habitat of the rarest animals and a unique natural landscape. The area is often imagined as a lifeless desert-like in many other parts of the world. In reality, most part of the Gobi Desert is a land of steppes, sands, mountains, rich with wildlife and also, it is a home of two-humped camels. The Mongolian Gobi Desert is the largest dinosaur fossil reservoir in the world. The region is especially important as regards dinosaur fossils from the late Cretaceous period, which is the last of the main three periods of the dinosaur age, representing the final phase of dinosaur evolution.

The southern part of Mongolia is dominated by the Gobi Desert that is a vast, arid region.  On our trips, we head to the Western Gobi (“Great Mongol Els Sand Dune National Park ) where we explore unique and breathtaking landscapes. The park is home to the tallest dunes in Mongolia contained by the high peaks of the West, contrasting with the large open space of the desert and host various panoramas of wetlands, grasslands, larch, forests, lakes, sand dune, and rivers. This quiet region is a treasure on its own, one of the most beautiful places in the whole of Mongolia.

FORESTS

Mongolia is a country of freshwater lakes, rivers, magnificent mountains, and heavily forested regions where hillsides and valley meadows are spangled with alpine flowers. The country covered by closed forests. The forests are mainly located in the north-central parts of the country, forming a transition zone between the Great Siberian boreal forest and the Central Asian steppe desert. Taiga zone which covers 5 percent of Mongolian territory occurs only in northern Mongolia, where it is found in the Khentii Mountains, in the mountainous terrain around Lake Khuvsgul, back part of Tarvagatai mountain range, the first higher place near Orkhon river and some parts of Khan Khukhii mountain range.

The forest areas are mainly covered with larch and pine forests, known as “taiga” in Russian. These Siberian larches sometimes reach up to 45m (147 ft) in height and provide timbre for construction throughout the country. 

The Mountains of Khuvsgul area are situated at the northern side of the Khangai mountain range and lifted 3491 meters of height above sea level. In Khentii and Khovsgol, the mountain slopes are clothed with boreal taiga forest. The taiga zone experiences more precipitation and lower temperatures than most of Mongolia, therefore the plant growing period is comparatively short. It forms the most southern extension of the East Siberian taiga and consists mainly of Siberian Larch and Siberian Pine and rich in mosses and lichens. 

Here are found a number of ungulates typical of Eurasian forests, among them Musk Deer, Elk, Roe Deer, and Reindeer. In northern Mongolia, a small number of families still herd reindeer in the traditional manner reminiscent of the Lapps of northern Europe. Forest predators include the grey wolf, brown bear, wolverine, and Eurasian lynx. Typical birds of these forests include a great grey owl, boreal owl, black-billed capercaillie, and pine grosbeak.

LAKES

Mongolia is a vast Central Asian country with the world's most extreme continental climate and notable aridity. Nevertheless, it has a great abundance and variety of lakes, some of which are large enough to be classified among the largest in Eurasia. It also has a considerable network of fast-flowing rivers that ramble undisturbed through spacious alluvial plains. There are numerous saltwater and freshwater lakes across Mongolia and we often welcomed a break from the long travel days for a picnic lunch alongside one. The most famous being the Khosvgol Nuur, which contains 65 percent of the country’s freshwater.