Mongolia’s steppe is home to one of the world’s last surviving nomadic cultures. Nomadic cultural heritage and lifestyle are still very similar to the traditions of centuries ago. During our trip through Mongolia, we have the chance to see the Nomadic culture from the inside. We stay with Nomadic families in their Ger, a round tent covered with skin or felt. It is the most incredible experience. We stay with the Champion herder of Mongolia and help with all her chores of getting the baby goats back to their momma’s. The family of the Eagle Huntress is the most generous we have ever met. At the end of our trip, our driver tells us we travel closer to the Nomadic people than most tourists. Here is our list of interesting facts we learn about Mongolian Nomadic Culture.
Are you thinking about traveling to Mongolia? Read here why you should definitely go.
Nomadic families move two or three times a year
They move according to the natural circumstances of the season. They move from their winter to their summer camp and sometimes to a spring camp in between. A winter camp is usually located in a valley; near mountains to shelter the animals. During summer or spring moving to more open space is important so the animals can graze. Normally nomadic families don’t move far from one camp to another and stay within the region.
Nomadic life takes place in and around their Ger
Everything nomadic people need is there. Most Gers are about ten meters in diameter. Each Ger has a fireplace in the middle, for cooking and to keep the Ger warm. Smoke from the fireplace escapes through a hole in the center of the roof. These large portable tents protect nomadic families from some of the coldest temperatures on the planet during winter. The temperatures in winter range from -20°C to – 45°C degrees, a heated shelter is definitely needed!
Nomadic families need to keep track of their family trees
It is necessary since it is quite possible that one marries a family member otherwise. There only live three million people in Mongolia, of which only 1.5 million live outside the capital!
Nomadic people use and eat everything from the animal
They eat camel, goats, sheep, and horses. Their skin is used for making warm clothing and cow poo is used to make fire. It actually gives the fire a nicer smell than wood does!
Mongolians hate cats since they are ‘useless’
Only a few nomadic families have cats to protect their animals as cats keep the snow leopards away! First and foremost, animals have to be useful to nomadic people.
There are only two-humped camels in Mongolia
During spring baby camels are kept close to the nomadic families to keep them from running away and dying. In summer, nomadic families let the camels be wild – and free – camels. When they collect their camels in the fall, they just get the amount they had before.
Nomadic people traditionally travel by animal or on foot.
These days, thanks to modernization, nomads travel more and more by motor vehicles. Motorcycles are not the only technological upgrade over the last generations. We see many Gers that use solar panels for electricity. It gives families the opportunity to have mobile phones, radios, television, electric lights, and sometimes even wi-fi.
Except for the big capital, Mongolia is (still) untouched by modern life and more importantly: undiscovered by mass tourism. This will soon change, as the country is increasingly popular and infrastructure is getting better quickly. This is the place to go, now. More pure, authentic experience is hard to find in a world where nowadays no place seems undiscovered. So pack your bags and go to Mongolia!
Are you thinking about traveling to Mongolia? Do it, you won’t regret it!
If you have any questions about our trip, feel free to ask anything.
And if you think we missed something, let us know.