Who They Are
Three Camel Lodge was built in the heart of the Gobi Desert according to environmentally and culturally sustainable development guidelines, without forsaking traditional style and superb service to give the ultimate expedition experience. Each ger, or felt tent, has a wood-burning stove, hand-painted wood-framed king-size beds, and locally produced toiletries (which include camel milk moisturizing lotions!). Exclusive tents have private bathrooms.
Unprocessed natural stone was used for the main buildings, and local artisans and workers crafted the roofs which, following the tenets of Mongolian Buddhist architecture, don’t employ a single nail.
Riding a two-humped Bactrian camel is but one of the adventurous ways for lodge guests to explore the Gobi’s diverse ecosystems. Camel treks through sand dunes and forests of saxual trees are an unforgettable Gobi experience and give you the opportunity to see desert wildlife such as black- and white-tailed gazelles. Four-wheel-drive excursions to remote canyons and valleys, horse treks to mountain springs, and mountain biking trips can all be arranged from Three Camel Lodge. Tented overnight field explorations, fully supported and catered by the lodge, are also available.
What They Are Doing
Three Camel Lodge has a first-of-its-kind cooperative agreement with the Bulgan Sum Township and the Gobi-Gurvansaikhan National Park authorities. The lodge serves as a base for scientific research and wildlife monitoring and actively fights animal poaching and the unauthorized removal of dinosaur fossils from paleontological sites. Hunting has been prohibited within a 12-mile radius of the camp.
In an effort to preserve the population of indigenous Gobi plants and provide cover for migratory birds that visit nearby Mt. Bulagtai, the lodge has planted over 6,000 native plants and trees throughout the camp since 2003.
The lodge is an active supporter of the Ongii River Movement, an award-winning organization that aims to protect one of the few rivers that runs into the Gobi from the damaging effects of mining activity. These desert rivers and the seasonal lakes where they end are critical resources for Gobi wildlife.
The lodge recycles its organic waste to local farms for use as fertilizer, builds and supports greenhouse projects, and helps local farmers with the raising of pigs, chickens, and livestock. These efforts result in less waste being transported to Ulaanbaatar and a reduction in the amount of food being imported to the area, as local ger camps can now buy eggs, vegetables, and meat from nearby farms.
Three Camel launched a No Plastic Bags in the Gobi program and is working with local residents and small businesses to encourage the use of cloth shopping bags. Also being explored are systems whereby non-drinking water can be reused for watering trees and supplying toilets.
The lodge established The Kids Who Love Nature Association, which gives local children the opportunity to learn about environmental issues and participate in conservation. Leading naturalists and scientists from the Mongolian Academy of Sciences give presentations on the wildlife, botany, and paleontology of the Gobi, and children participate in projects such as planting native trees and cleaning and protecting mountain springs. With the assistance of the lodge staff, children have helped clean up national park areas like the Yol Valley and the Flaming Cliffs, and the lodge sponsored and funded the planting of 2,000 trees at a local public school in Dalanzadgad, the provincial capital of the South Gobi.
Since 2005 the lodge has been a sponsor of the Thousand Camel Festival, organized by a local NGO with the goal of protecting the endangered Bactrian camel. The festival has also inspired a reawakening of interest in traditional crafts created by local artisans.
Three Camel has the highest percentage of local employees of any camp in the country, and is one of the largest employers in the Gobi. All of its staff are Mongolian, with more than half being residents of the South Gobi province where the Lodge is located, and every trip guide is hired locally, as are all suppliers of transportation and food.