Galloping without looking over his shoulder. Thinking you're a modern-day adventurer in a country where the horizon doesn't exist. A fantasy? I'm not sure. So we took off for Mongolia. For the "land of blue skies". A fantastic idea for us ecotourists. For the first image evoked by this country is that of an almost virgin nature whose immensity seems to deprive us of reference points. From the vast steppes of Eastern Mongolia to the infinite flatness of the Gobi Desert, from the snow-capped peaks of the Altai to the depression of the lakes in the north of the country, Mongolia offers an incomparable wealth of landscapes. This largely unspoilt nature is a real paradise for wildlife watchers, or simply for those who are seduced by the sight of a gazelle leaping in the desert or the prospect of miraculous fishing in crystal-clear rivers.
But above all, the lands of Genghis Khan offered us the unique chance to discover the way of life of its nomadic populations. To appreciate its riches, you must have slept in the cosy cocoon of a ger, tasted the barely fermented airag at the beginning of summer, savoured the buuz with your family, gathered the herds perched on a horse and listened to the diphonic songs at sunset. Finally, you must have participated in the local festivals by sharing the joy of life and the generosity of people who are very attached to the traditions of welcome and hospitality.
Infinite nature and nomadism have convinced us to alternate treks and horseback riding for this extraordinary ecotourism experience. While yaks were ridden for folklore, it was mostly on camels that the Gobi Desert was explored, before riding horses to tackle Central Mongolia, especially around Lake Khövsgöl and in the breathtaking Orkhon Valley. To end this trip on a high note. A physical journey indeed, but also a timeless and inner peregrination
Specialist. MONGOLIA TRAVEL, 1-26 Gandan/Orkhon Street, Ulaanbaatar (УЛAAHБAATAP), ✆ +976 11 368 019. More information. This excellent French-speaking agency run by Altantuya Sanduijav offers pre-established or tailor-made itineraries and has a yurt camp in Kharkhorin