Our stay at Three Camel Lodge, Mongolia
Life for the nomadic herders who reside in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert has changed little for centuries, so this destination is a fantastic choice for those wanting to go truly off-grid. One of the most special places to stay here is the eco-friendly Three Camel Lodge, an hour drive from Dalanzadgad, whose gers provide comfort from the harsh weather as well as the most spectacular views of the Gobi-Altai mountain range. The property has been built in the heart of the desert and strictly adheres to environmentally and culturally sustainable development regulations, so every detail in the design has been created with this in mind.
After what seemed like a never-ending journey, driving through vast, beautiful scenery, we were greeted by the friendly team on arrival and showed to our ger. Each one is named after an animal, with the family ger suite lovingly called Chinggis. Our ger, The Ox, had the most incredible views to – what seemed like – the end of the earth. The gers are made of latticed wood by local artisans who used no nails during construction of the canvas and opted for felt roofs in keeping with the tradition of Mongolian Buddhist architecture.
No phone signal, no televisions and no wifi: to some it could seem like a screenless nightmare cut off from the world but to many this retreat is a peaceful haven far away from the modern world. As we sat on the terrace of the Dino House + Bar, overlooking the Gobi Desert, all worries and concerns seemed to disappear and we realised just how worth it our journey had been. The lodge itself also relies heavily on solar power and wind energy.
There are a staggering 30 million herded animals in the country, and every time we opened the door of our ger it seemed like at least a thousand of them were wandering by or galloping past. There is something truly timeless about seeing dozens and dozens of big, thick-haired horses and sheep grazing on endless green plains in front of you. The gigantic, open expanse was tinged with bright-green patches of grass from recent rain, with livestock floating around aimlessly among the unfenced landscape.
We then made our way to the incredible dining ger, with ceilings painted in traditional colours and with the auspicious symbols painted in between each spoke. Dinner was absolutely delicious, with an emphasis on local fresh food. Three Camel Lodge has its own greenhouse, cultivating fresh vegetables, which are served alongside organic meat. After dinner, we made our way back to our ger, observing the clear night sky as we walked across the plain. Our ger’s oculus, or central opening to the sky, often has a practical use for nomads as a sundial but it also translates to some mesmerising stargazing at night.
Part of what makes this place so special is their work to preserve the unique environment. Not only does the property serve as a base for research and wildlife monitoring, but they also campaign against poaching and the illegal removal of dinosaur bones from paleontological sites. I can’t wait to arrange for many of our adventurous and discerning clients to experience this truly extraordinary lodge.
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