Sun bleached bones dot the dry, dusty dunes of Mongolia’s Gobi Desert; golden eagles prowl its blazing blue skies; and the thundering, ghost-like hooves of Genghis Khan’s army echo in the emptiness around you.
But comfort in the wilderness awaits: a cluster of eco-conscious gers: round, felt tents, decorated warmly in the Mongolian tradition, with local materials and hand-painted interiors.
This is the Three Camel Lodge. In the desert light, the only luxe lodge in the Gobi appears like a mirage, nestled between the Bayanzag cliffs and the Altai Mountains.
It’s socially responsible, too – the solar-powered ger camp has banned plastic use, protects wildlife and uses profits to support struggling nomads in winter.
Things to do at the Three Camel Lodge
Its remoteness doesn’t detract from its action-packed itinerary, offered via sister company Nomadic Expeditions. Hike across mountains in search of ancient petroglyphs or seek out dinosaur fossils at Bayanzag, the ochre-red Flaming Cliffs that appear to burst aflame at sunset.
Listen to the Singing Sands at Hongoryn Els with a detour to Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park, or take a trek on a two-humped bactrian camel. Visit in early October and you’ll also witness the Golden Eagle Festival. Partly founded by the lodge in 2000, it’s now a national event that honours age-old falconry traditions.
After a day’s adventure, soothe your body in the massage ger, have a drink in the Thirsty Camel Bar then listen to a hoomi (throat- singing) performance by staff.
Curl up in an intricately carved bed in your ger, warmed by a wood-burning stove, and fall asleep under a blanket of starry skies outside...