Asia Mongolia Photo Essays

Wild Camels & Constellations | Driving through the Gobi Desert, Mongolia

May 31, 2018

by Alejandro Llop

On September 1, 2017, I took a flight to Mongolia. My job was to create audiovisual material for the Wild Camels Organization, which works in the protection and captive breeding of this species in the Gobi Desert. As in any trip with work, one always has his personal concerns. I am in love with landscapes and adventure in general. The idea of crossing the entire Gobi Desert in a 4×4 is something that really fascinated me. These photographs are a glimpse of those things that I lived, that I found along the way, and who I met during my stay in the desert.

I landed in Ulaanbaatar on September 2nd, but our destination was in the extreme South of Mongolia, almost bordering China. To get there, we had to drive for two whole days on dirt roads on terrain quite difficult for humans to cross.

The Gobi Desert is the most immense and desolate place I have ever been to in my life. Although I like silence, in the morning, when not a breath of wind blew, even I found it annoying. I remember being able to hear my heartbeat.

The nights were cold and the stars brighter than I had never seen before. It was difficult to distinguish the constellations from the number of stacked stars that shone in the sky.

The only town I spent a few nights was in a place called “Bayantooroi”. Bayantooroi is a small village in the middle of nowhere and there would not be more than 100 inhabitants. To my surprise, the people were so kind that they invited us to come into their houses to eat, drink and rest. In Bayantooroi, lived the family of one of the rangers of the foundation and I spent a day with them, getting to know their children, seeing photos and eating sacks of rice with meat.

The Ger where I slept during my stay was at the foot of a sacred mountain called “Mother Mountain” in which it is said that a Buddhist monk lived in a cave for more than 15 years and that the Russians shot when he was discovered. The surroundings were so incredible, it just looked like another planet. The rocks, colours and formations were totally different from the rest of the desert.

The Gobi was without a doubt one of the most incredible places I have been.


A Photographers Journey Into the Gobi Desert, Mongolia

Alejandro Llop is a Spanish photographer from Valencia. He photographs landscapes, outdoor life, and conservation, always in the most natural and real way possible. You can find more of his work on his website or Instagram @apllop.

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