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Escape: Horse riding, hiking and yurt stays in mountainous Mongolia

Into the wild:
Horse riding in the
Naiman Nuur region

NOT many tourists venture deep into the Naiman Nuur. But a thorough exploration of this rugged, lake-ridden region of Central Mongolia is exactly what’s on offer on an exciting new eight-night, small-group tour from Yellowwood Adventures.

‘Despite the Naiman Nuur being close to capital city Ulaanbaatar, visitors are still very few as Mongolia’s tourism sector is so small,’ says Yellowwood founder Sam McManus. ‘Most travellers also only take day trips rather than our in-depth route.’

Though the tour’s intended way to cross the region is astride a horse, with beginners welcome, guests can also hike. Before that decision needs making, however, there’s a tour of Ulaanbaatar and a first group dinner.

On the hoof: Nomadic farmers stow yaks and goats

The route to Naiman Nuur takes in the ruins of Genghis Khan’s ancient Mongol stronghold Karakorum, time spent watching wild horses and monumental temples at Erdene Zuu, a 16th-century Buddhist monastery. Then come four days amid the forested steppe, riding or rambling as you prefer. Along the route are big waterfalls, river gorges, steep mountain passes and eight lakes, headed by fjord-like, peninsula-spiked Naiman Nuur.

One recurrent feature is ger camps, where nomadic families stow yaks and goats. The tour features overnight stays so guests can learn about this way of life and try Mongolian fare.

‘Gers are yurts made from thick felt and are very sturdy,’ says McManus. ‘The frameworks have beautifully carved wooden posts painted brightly with a pantheist feel. Most also contain a small Buddhist shrine amid family photos and keepsakes.’

The tour ends on Bactrian camels in the Gobi Desert, riding to one final ger camp. With a maximum of five hours riding or walking each day, and altitudes fairly low, only a sensible level of fitness is required.

Departs Sep 7, 2019, from £1,399pp full board, including guiding and transfers, yellowwoodadventures.com

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