Mongolia is a country with deserts in the south and alpine lakes in the north. The vegetation in the Gobi desert in the southern parts of Mongolia is very sparse. There is not much sand desert, it is mostly dry land with a very sparse cover of grass and herbs. There is one large sand dune in the Gobi desert. And large is the operative word here: The sand dune is about 5 km (3.1 miles) wide, 180 km (112 miles) long, and 600 m (1,970 ft) high at the highest point. It is one big dune! There are essentially no trees in the southern part of Mongolia. The areas of the Gobi desert that we saw are mainly mountainous, with some dry flat plains in between.

Going further north, the climate becomes colder and wetter. In central Mongolia trees start to grow and the land has more grasses. The type of vegetation in the northern parts is alpine. The trees there are almost exclusively larches. What was quite impressive there were the wild flowers. There are lots of different types. What I did not expect was the fact that there are lots of Edelweiss and Enzian. I knew these flowers from the Alps in Germany and Switzerland. Edelweiss is by now almost completely exterminated in the European Alps. In Mongolia all the meadows in the northern part are full of Edelweiss.

What really surprised me was the amount of wildlife that I saw. I didn't expect that many animals. They are everywhere! We saw many Ibex and Argali sheep (a type of mountain sheep) in the Gobi desert mountains. These sheep also live in the European Alps, but are very rare there. In the north we didn't see that many animals. There are supposed to be elk and moose in the area around Lake Khovsgol, but we didn't see any.

The scenery is quite spectacular, from the Flaming Cliffs and the big Sand Dune in the south, to Lake Khovsgol in the north. Following are some of the pictures of Mongolia's scenery, fauna and flora.

Pictures of birds in Mongolia and other nature pages are separate:

Birds in Mongolia
Mongolia Bird Page
Nature Pages
Other Nature Pages

All pictures are © Dr. Günther Eichhorn, unless otherwise noted.

Landscapes

Saw Fault Line Flight
I saw this fault line on the flight from Seoul to Ulaan Baatar. It was an impressive sight even from 30,000 ft (9,000 m) up. (1170k)
Bayanzag Els Flaming Cliffs
These are the Bayanzag Els, the Flaming Cliffs. (1274k)
During Rainy Season August
During the rainy season in August the desert is not completely dry, there are small rivers flowing through the Gobi. (915k)
River Northern Mongolia
River in northern Mongolia. (1084k)
Central Northern Parts Mongolia
In the central and northern parts of Mongolia there are forests. The mountains have forest cover on the north side, the south side is bare. (1272k)
Part 180 km 112 miles Sand
Part of the 180 km (112 miles) sand dune Khongoryn Els. (986k)
Sand Dune Khongoryn Els
The sand dune Khongoryn Els in the foreground with a mountain range in the back. There were a bunch of horses in the sand dune grazing. There is a little bit of grass in some places. I don't know why the horses decided to graze on the few blades of grass in the sand dune and not on the lush grass 200 m (660 ft) away, but they made a nice picture. (731k)
Sand Dune Morning Shadows
The sand dune with morning shadows. You can see the grass land in front of the dune. It was a strange contrast. (945k)
Wind-eroded Sandstone Formation
Wind-eroded sandstone formation. (794k)
Red Sandstone Cliffs
Red sandstone cliffs. (1076k)
Narrow Gorge
Narrow gorge. (948k)
Rugged Mountain Valley
Rugged mountain valley. (886k)
Waterfall
Waterfall. (1168k)
Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur White
Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur, the White Lake in the rain. On the right is one of the many ovoos (see Mongolia's people). (875k)
Lake Khovsgol Lake Close
Lake Khovsgol. This lake is close to the border between Mongolia and Russia. It is very clear, deep blue water, and very deep. (1225k)
Sunrise Over Lake Khovsgol
Sunrise over Lake Khovsgol. You can see the planet Venus in the upper left corner in the still dark sky. (865k)
Light Streaming Clouds
Light streaming through the clouds. (699k)
Picture Sky After Sunset
This is a picture of the sky just after sunset opposite the sun direction. You can see that the lower part of the sky is dark, with the upper part still sunlit. The dark part is earths shadow projected onto the sky. I have seen this phenomenon in Africa as well. You need clear air, no light pollution and flat terrain to see it. (1019k)
Sunset
Sunset. (1128k)

Flora

Lichen
Lichen. (1410k)
Lots Mushrooms Northern Parts
There were lots of mushrooms in the northern parts of Mongolia. (789k)
Mushroom
Mushroom. (932k)
Mushrooms
Mushrooms. (710k)
Succulent Plant
Succulent plant. (1061k)
Thistle Flower
Thistle flower. (870k)
Thistle Flower
Thistle flower. (744k)
Flowers
Flowers. (848k)
Flowers
Flowers. (1015k)
Flowers
Flowers. (755k)
Flowers
Flowers. (647k)
Flower
Flower. (731k)
Flower
Flower. (721k)
Flower
Flower. (790k)
Flower
Flower. (952k)
Flower
Flower. (1207k)
Gentiana sp.
Flowers with a very deep rich blue color (Gentiana sp., german: Enziane). (957k)
Gentiana sp.
Gentian (Gentiana sp., german: Enziane). (777k)
Myosotis alpestris
Alpine Forget-me-not (Myosotis alpestris, german: Alpen-Vergissmeinnicht, french: Myosotis des Alpes). (831k)
Leontopodium nivale
Edelweiss, I believe it is (Leontopodium nivale, german: Alpen-Edelweiß, french: Edelweiss) and Enzian (a species of Gentiana sp. (german: Enziane), I don't know which). (818k)
Leontopodium nivale
Edelweiss (Leontopodium nivale, german: Alpen-Edelweiß, french: Edelweiss). (884k)
Tree Central Part Mongolia
A tree in the central part of Mongolia that is still close to the Gobi desert. It looked like some kind of acacia. (997k)
Tree
Tree. (1365k)
Larix sibirica
In the northern parts of Mongolia you see almost exclusively Siberian Larch (Larix sibirica, german: Sibirische Lärche, french: Mélèze de Sibérie). (1165k)
Larix sibirica
A Siberian Larch (Larix sibirica, german: Sibirische Lärche, french: Mélèze de Sibérie) in the rain. (770k)

Fauna

Bumblebee Visiting Wild Flower
A bumblebee visiting a wild flower. (825k)
Bee Visiting Flower
A bee visiting a flower. (717k)
Syrphidae gen.
A Hoverfly (Syrphidae gen., german: Schwebfliegen, french: Syrphides) visiting a flower. (619k)
Grasshopper
Grasshopper. (815k)
Odonata
Dragonfly (Order Odonata, suborder Anisoptera). (729k)
Fritillary Butterfly Don't Know
A Fritillary butterfly (I don't know which species). (751k)
Aglais urticae
Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae, german: Kleiner Fuchs, french: Petite tortue). There were not as many butterflies as I would have expected with all the wild flowers. (746k)
Butterfly
Butterfly. (843k)
Beetle Trekking Sand Big
A beetle trekking through the sand in the big sand dune. (1.6M)
Large Wood Boring Beetle
A large wood boring beetle. He was rasping loudly on the log table he sat on. (637k)
Frogs
Frogs. (1284k)
Lizard Gobi Pretty Well
A lizard in the Gobi. They were pretty well camouflaged. (974k)
Ochotona sp.
A Pika (Ochotona sp., german: Pfeifhasen, french: Pika), a small relative of the rabbit. (799k)
Rodent
Rodent. (1302k)
Meriones unguiculatus
Rodents were quite common everywhere. These are Mongolian Gerbils (Meriones unguiculatus, german: Mongolische Rennratte, french: Gerbille de Mongolie). (975k)
Meriones unguiculatus
Mongolian Gerbils (Meriones unguiculatus, german: Mongolische Rennratte, french: Gerbille de Mongolie). (989k)
Eutamias sibiricus
A Siberian Chipmunk (Eutamias sibiricus, german: Burunduk, french: Tamia de Sibérie). (1010k)
Urocitellus undulatus
A Long-tailed Ground Squirrel (Urocitellus undulatus, german: Langschwanzziesel). This is another of the species that I knew from the European Alps. In August the Mongolians hunt the marmots for food. There is just one little problem with that: The marmots have fleas, and the fleas carry the Black Plague. So every year in August they have an outbreak of the Black Plague in Mongolia. Needless to say, we didn't eat any marmots. (701k)
Procapra gutturosa
Mongolian Gazelle or Zeer (Procapra gutturosa, german: Mongolische Gazelle, french: Gazelle à queue blanche) in the Gobi desert. (1278k)
Gazella subgutturosa
Goitered Gazelle (Gazella subgutturosa, german: Kropfgazelle, french: Gazelle à goitre). (1032k)
Capra sibirica
Siberian Ibex (Capra sibirica, german: Sibirischer Steinbock, french: Ibex de Sibérie) in the mountains of the Gobi Nature Reserve. This is another species that is very similar to one living in the European Alps. (947k)
Ovis ammon
A herd of Argali Sheep (Ovis ammon, french: Argali). (772k)
Ovis ammon
Argali Sheep (Ovis ammon, french: Argali). This is the largest sheep in the world. (631k)
Ovis ammon
Argali Sheep (Ovis ammon, french: Argali). (657k)
Skull Argali Sheep
Skull of an Argali Sheep. (1181k)
Rangifer tarandus
Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus, german: Rentier, french: Renne). (1031k)
Camelus bactrianus
Bactrian Camel (Camelus bactrianus, german: Trampeltier, french: Chameau de Bactriane). This was a domesticated camel, not a wild one. (729k)

This page contains 71 pictures with 18 species

Mongolia
Main page for Монгол улс (Mongolia)

Page last updated on Mon Sep 21 18:28:40 2020 (Mountain Standard Time)


Монгол улс (Mongolia) - Land of Genghis Khan on (null)


© Dr. Günther Eichhorn
Retired
Email Guenther Eichhorn

*Dr. Günther Eichhorn Travel Website
*Soaring website