Three Camel Lodge

The Gobi Desert, Mongolia

At a Glance

  • A unique opportunity to escape everyday life and follow in the footsteps of the traditional Mongolian nomads of the Gobi Desert
  • Commitment to environmental and cultural sustainability, with a gentle footprint on the surrounding landscape
  • Fascinating activities amongst the desert landscape, from throat-singing performances to paleontological excavations at the Flaming Cliffs
  • Décor and furnishings have been handmade by local artisans, capturing the essence of the local nomadic tribespeople
  • Fall asleep in the sublime comfort of a luxury ger, gazing up at the blanket of stars that cover the desert sky

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Best time to Visit

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A land of extreme landscapes and extreme temperatures, the Gobi soars to temperatures of 40° C in summer, and plummets to -40°C in winter. Mongolian winters are harsh and long thanks to the high altitude and extreme continental climate, rendering some of the more remote regions impassable during the frigid winter months between November and Feburary. The best time of year to visit is during the short summer season of June to August, to take advantage of the best of the weather.

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Insider's View

Get a drink from the Dino Bar and take a short stroll up the hill behind the lodge for sunset - the views are breathtaking.

Borrow a mountain bike (or perhaps an electric one) from the reception Ger and head off into the horizon to explore your surroundings.

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Description

In the wilderness of Mongolia’s Gobi Desert, Three Camel Lodge is a one-of-a-kind ecolodge that captures the nomadic spirit of this mesmerising landscape with its singing dunes, dinosaur skeletons and herding tribespeople that have thrived for centuries.

Spread across the wild expanse of the Gobi Desert, a handful of felt-roof gers – traditional Mongolian dwellings – dot the landscape, offering intrepid travellers the opportunity to experience the traditional nomadic way of life amongst one of the most unique landscapes on earth. Follow in the footsteps of the ancient herders that have made their home in here for millennia, sleeping in a traditional felt ger, dining on delicious local delicacies and exploring the majestic desert landscape, home to camel herders, snow leopards and astounding palaeontological remains.

The lodge’s 40 gers are spread out across the desert landscape, each facing south and connecting to the main lodge by stone pathways. Covered in canvas and felt with a central oculus for stargazing, these comfortable dwellings are a luxurious take on the traditional herdsmen’s home. Hand-painted king-sized beds, local textiles and a private bathroom make these cosy abodes a private sanctuary in the wilds of the Gobi. Heated by a wood-burning stove for the chilly desert nights and equipped with Mongolian felt slippers, bathrobes and bathroom amenities hand crafted from camel milk using traditional techniques.

At the heart of the lodge lies Dino House, a traditional wooden building clad in clay tiles and designed to mimic a Mongolian temple. With wide verandas and incredible desert views, Dino House is the perfect place to relax in the heat of the day, perhaps trying your hand at traditional Mongolian games or borrowing a book from the small library. Serving a variety of Mongolian and western cuisine, the Bulagtai Restaurant is housed inside an over-sized ger, bedecked in traditional textiles and splashes of colour. Expect delicious organic meat and dairy products from local herdsmen, pasteurised on site, with fresh fruits and vegetables harvested from farms in nearby Bulgan. Visit the well-stocked bar for a nightcap before retiring to the warmth of your ger.

The Massage Ger is located at the heart of the camp and is the perfect antidote to a long day in the desert. Combining traditional Mongolian techniques with Swedish aromatherapy massage and using locally sourced herbs renowned for their medicinal properties, a treatment here is the ultimate way to unwind amongst the sands of the Gobi.

Days at Three Camel Lodge are spent exploring the spectacular and deserted desert landscape in the company of expert private guides. Trek through the green Yol Valley in search of snow leopards, discover Bronze-age art and the incredible ‘fighting’ dinosaur skeletons, ride camels across the scorched landscape and hike the singing dunes of Hongoryn Els. In closer proximity to the lodge, you can experience music and dance performances from local tribespeople and enjoy informative lectures and films in the lodge’s small screening room.

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Accommodation

Three Camel Lodge’s 40 individual gers offer an elevated take on the traditional felt dwelling used for centuries by the nomadic Mongolian herdsmen. Built from lattice wood and cloaked in felt and canvas, each of the gers faces southwards, across the vast expanse of the desert and the Gobi-Altai Mountains. Each ger is equipped with a hand-painted, wooden king-size bed, a private bathroom with toilet, sink and shower, and heated by a wood stove. The central oculus, once used for navigation by the nomads of the Gobi, offers the perfect window to the extraordinary night sky that blankets the desert after dark.

Childcare

Children are welcome at Three Camel Lodge, with two speciality Gers set up for families.

Facilities

The main restaurant, Bulagtai, is housed in a vast ger at the heart of the lodge. Delicious, seasonal specialities are served up here, prepared from fresh and locally sourced ingredients, supporting local farmers and nomadic families. Designed in a style of a local temple, or sum, the Dino House bar is the place to relax after a long day in the desert, enjoying a drink and partaking in local games. For some relaxation, visit the Massage Ger for a Mongolian-inspired treatment using local herbs and incense, or enjoy a documentary or lecture on the local customs, landscape and wildlife in the screening room.

Activities

The vast expanse of the Gobi is home to some remarkable sites, unique wildlife and extraordinary discoveries. In the company of expert guides, venture out into the shifting sands in search of ancient petroglyphs, dinosaur fossils and hiking trails amongst lush desert valleys. Scale the famous ‘singing dunes’ of the Hongoryn Els, journey through the habitat off the elusive snow leopard and visit the famous Flaming Cliffs, home to the first nest of fossilised dinosaur eggs to be discovered by Dr. Roy Chapman Andrews in the early 20th century. Experience throat-singing performances, ride two-humped Bactrian camels across the desert sands and enjoy unforgettable encounters with local nomadic tribespeople that call this wild and unspoilt landscape their home.

Experiences

  • Family Visit in Gobi

    Experience a way of life unchanged for centuries as you spend the afternoon with a local nomadic family, learning how they herd and care for their livestock and thrive amongst the harsh and often unforgiving landscapes of Mongolia.

  • Flaming Cliffs

    Travel to the spectacular ‘Flaming Cliffs’ or ‘Bayan Zag’, a vibrant ridge of red-orange sandstone that glows like fire as the sun sets. It was here that the celebrated Dr Roy Chapman Andrews found the first nest of dinosaur eggs the world had ever seen.

  • Havsgait Petroglyths

    Etched into a mountaintop in the Havsgait valley, the ancient Bronze Age petroglyphs are a sight to behold. Depicting life between 15,000 and 40,000 years ago, this incredible ancestral art gallery offers a glimpse into early life in the Gobi.

  • Motlsog Els Sand Dunes

    Amongst the rugged rocks and cliffs of the Gobi, Moltsog Els is one of the few areas covered by sand dunes. Explore the shifting sands on foot or more atmospherically, on the back of a Bactrian camel, a unique symbol of the Mongolian desert.

  • Yol Valley National Park

    Explore the remote and beautiful Yol Valley National Park, set at the foothills of the Altai Mountains. Discover a lush valley, often dotted with ice formations even in high summer, and a pristine habitat for fascinating indigenous species.

Holiday Ideas

  • Classic China & Mongolia

    Shanghai, Xian, Beijing, Ulaanbaatar, Gobi Desert

    from £10200 pp inc flights & transfers for 13 nights

    • Discover two of Asia's most curious destinations, from bustling culture-rich cities to historic wonders of the worlds and spectacular landscapes
    • Meet with a local Nomadic family in the Gobi Desert
    • Visit the Great Wall of China, one of the seven new wonders of the world
  • Highlights of Mongolia with Naadam Festival

    Ulaanbaatar, Orkhon Valley, Gobi Desert, Ulaanbaatar

    from £9400 pp inc flights & transfers for 9 nights

    • Get away from the common tourist trail with this 10 day Mongolian adventure
    • Experience Naadam Festival, Mongolia's largest traditional festival showcasing competitions in three sports of wrestling, horse racing and archery over three days
    • Discover the spectacular and varied landscape of the Gobi Desert including lush valleys, fiery-red desert cliffs, sand dunes and rocky mountains

Location & directions

The Gobi Desert, Mongolia

Three Camel Lodge is located in the South Gobi province, bordering northern China, amongst some of the most arresting desert scenery to be found anywhere on earth. The lodge is reached by 4x4, on a 90-minute off-road adventure from Dalanzadgad Airport.

Speak to our specialists 020 3993 8860

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