22 hours in a UAZ van. 6 seats shared with 12 passengers and a baby. Sitting on a six-pack of coke bottles. Bumpy roads. Steppe. Taiga. Eight-hour horse ride on a Russian Cossack type saddle. Swamps. Mountains. Valley. First teepees appeared – they are called Urts. Or castle, how Maama, our translator called them. So we lived four days in a castle. Dreamlike. Holy river. Holy earth. Shamans. Drinking salty reindeer milk tea. Observing. Living in balance. Elk dumplings. Toilet with a view. Most beautiful dogs. Reindeers everywhere. Cooking on a wood stove. Dava performed a Tibetan dance. Sharing. Little market. Antler carvings. Tsaatan community. Satellite phone on the top of a mountain. Solar panels. One Urt with a flatscreen TV in it. Car batteries for charging mobile devices. Wearing traditional, woolen Deels. Salt for the reindeers.
Visiting the reindeer herders in North Mongolia was an extraordinary experience which we enjoyed so much. From the horse ride to staying in an Urt and having the chance to observe live in the Mongolian taiga – superb. For everyone who is also interested in the Tsaatan Community and wants to learn more or even wants to visit one of the camps, we highly recommend this page:
It’s operated by the Tsaatan Community and was established to develop responsible, respectful tourism and try to decrease exploitative tourism that negatively impacts the Tsaatan.