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November 21, 2011
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Nothing beats the freedom of wild camping in Mongolia. It makes sense in a country of spectacular natural beauty where the wide-open spaces and stretching horizons awaken a sense of possibility in you and make you feel free. It is an opportunity to be out in the wild beauty of Mongolia. It’s a chance to sit around a camp fire, observe the night skies, feel the immensity of Mongolia’s landscapes and listen to the sound of silence.

Tent view. Khoridol Saridag Mountains, Khovsgol Province

Tent view. Khoridol Saridag Mountains, Khovsgol Province

We combine our wild camping with homestay experiences provided by Mongolians that we work in long-term local community partnership with. We work side by side with them – looking at ways we can incorporate their skills and knowledge into our experiences … encouraging their own sense of enterprise. Our support goes further than just paying for accommodation. Our experiences are put together in a way which benefits and support, rather than disrupts lives – for each visit we give what we call a sustainable payment for their time as well as services. 

Although glamping is popular in Mongolia, we minimise the tourist ger accommodation we use. This is because they are designed to accommodate larger numbers of people and put pressure and demands on local resources such as water. Yes, there are sustainable glamping options but a majority of these are internationally owned and we prefer to support local.

When looking at the accommodation options we use, we look to the Seven Principles of the Leave No Trace philosophy – an easily understood framework of minimum impact practices for anyone visiting the outdoors.

The seven principles are as follows (taken from the Leave No Trace website –

Campsite view on the border of Khustain Nuruu National Park.

1: Plan Ahead and Prepare

Adequate planning and preparation helps minimise damage to the land, natural and cultural resources.

2: Travel & Camp on Durable Surfaces

Travel damage occurs when surface vegetation or communities of organisms are trampled beyond recovery. The resulting barren area leads to soil erosion and the development of undesirable trails. 3:

3: Dispose of Waste Properly

We have to consider the impacts that we have which can affect other people, water and wildlife. Waste includes human waste, toilet paper, sanitary items, food and also trash.

4: Leave What You Find

This means leaving rocks, plants, archaeological artefacts and other objects. It also means minimising site alterations and avoiding damaging live trees and plants.

5: Minimize Campfire Impacts

The use of campfires, once a necessity for cooking and warmth, is steeped in history and tradition. Some people would not think of camping without a campfire. Yet, the natural appearance of many areas has been degraded by the overuse of fires and an increasing demand for firewood. At EL we do not use campfires for cooking – stoves have become essential equipment for minimum-impact camping. They are fast, flexible and eliminate firewood availability as a concern in campsite selection. However, we understand that our guests enjoy a campfire and when we create a campfire we look to lessen the impacts including trying to use existing fire rings.

6: Respect Wildlife

Learn about wildlife through quiet observation and from a distance. Large groups often cause more damage to the environment and can disturb wildlife and that’s one reason why our group size is a maximum of six.

7: Be Considerate of Other Visitors

One of the most important components of outdoor ethics is to maintain courtesy toward other visitors especially as many people come to Mongolia to be out in nature. One reason we have small groups of a maximum of six is that small groups help to enhance the feeling of solitude, especially in open areas as contacts are infrequent and behaviour is unobtrusive.

For more on our Responsible Tourism philosophy including our Sustainable Tourism Strategy follow this link –

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