Mongolia’s Thousand Camel Festival is a yearly event – falling on the same date each year. Taking place on March 6th and 7th, this is Mongolia’s only festival dedicated to the Bactrian camel. Put the date and location in your diary. It takes place in Bulgan Soum – a district of Omnogobi Province in the southern Gobi Desert.
Mongolia’s Thousand Camel Festival annual celebration was first initiated in 1997 and is organised by a local NGO and the Governor’s Office of Onmogobi Province to help protect the Bactrian camel and the essential role it plays in the lives of the nomadic herders in the region.
It is a celebration of the way of life in the harsh Gobi and a chance for the local herders to come together as a community at what can be quite an isolating time of year. Mongolian people love a celebration and this comes across in the atmosphere. It’s an entertaining two days of events that feature various contests including camel races, camel polo competitions even a camel beauty pageant (although the criteria for the winning camel is never clearly announced or explained).
There is also a traditional ankle bone (knucklebone) shooting competition which is much more exciting than this short description implies. As with most Mongolian festivals, it includes an evening concert of traditional music and dance. Don’t get caught up in notions of authenticity – Mongolia’s Thousand Camel Festival features a lot of local involvement. The festival draws local Mongolian spectators as well as westerners and the locals are always more enthusiastic. It often feels like a party for locals, thrown by locals.
There are also wild camels in Mongolia (Camelus Ferus). There is a world population of approximately 1000 with around 600 in the Gobi Desert in north-west China and around 450 in the Gobi Desert in Mongolia. The Wild Camel Protection Foundation (WCPF) is the only charity in the world with a specific mission to save this remarkable creature and its pristine desert environment from extinction and destruction.
If you’re interested in experiencing Mongolia’s Thousand Camel Festival with Eternal Landscapes you’ll find more details on our Winter Tours in Mongolia. We look forward to welcoming you.
Jess @ Eternal Landscapes