July in Mongolia: Now is the time of the Naadam festival – the Mongolian national holiday – with its famous horse races and traditional wrestling and archery contests now held in every village. It’s hot now, the grass is green and the steppe bursts with nomadic life: Yaks and horses cool down in the rivers, curd dries on the roofs of shiny white yurts and families are busy producing mares’ milk, the raw material for airag, the fermented and light alcoholic national beverage of Mongolia.
On this tour we will paddle down the River Delgermörön (or short: Delger), an outstandingly beautiful and lonely, fast-flowing wilderness river in the Russian-Mongol border region of the remote North of the country. This is a truly wild landscape of breathtaking scenic beauty, with huge Taiga forests and lonely steppe valleys framed by rugged and dramatic mountains.
Upon our arrival in Ulaanbaatar we’ll head on to Mörön, the capital of Khövsgöl Province, the northernmost region of Mongolia. Here, we’ll meet our Mongolian guide and our driver who will bring us into the beautifully situated yurt-hotel outside of town. This is the perfect place to relax and settle in after our long journey. We’ll be spoiled with good food, a hot shower and the luxury of a bed in a yurt, or ger in Mongolian. On the next day, we’ll go shopping for our supplies on the narrow, dusty and exciting market of Mörön.
After that we will either head straight North, to see the Naadam festival in the little village of Bayanzürkh, or we’ll hang out a bit longer in Mörön in order to see the festivities there. This simply depends on the question when the festival in Bayanzürkh will actually happen which could be on any day between the 11th and the 15th (at the time of writing the exact date has not been published).
On the River
Depending on the focus, strength and skills of the group as well as on the water levels, we will either begin our paddling on the confluence of Delger and the small river Beltes, just outside of Bayanzürkh village, or roughly a 100 km downriver, in order to avoid the strongest rapids. On the upper river, we’ll be pretty much by ourselves, as there will be no villages and hardly any nomadic families even. It won’t even be possible to access this area by car, except for in one valley towards the end of this majestic and mountainous wilderness section. We might, however, as well decide to take it a bit easier and start two days up of the village of Burentogtokh, which will be a bit less demanding and give us a bit more time to relax and enjoy the fantastic scenery.