A Visual Journey: In the Footsteps of Mongolian Nomads with Tim Cope


Mongolian pastoral herders make up one of the world’s last remaining nomadic cultures. Despite the draw of modern life and the city, hundreds of thousands of Mongolians continue to live a nomadic way of life that goes back at least a millennium.

In 2004, Australian adventurer and author, Tim Cope set off on an epic 10,000 km journey from Mongolia to Hungry by horse. This journey took him three years and led him on a deep journey through the heart of nomad society on the Eurasian Steppe. Since returning to Australia, he has written a film series and book titled On The Trail of Genghis Khan. Tim has also led several guided trips with World Expeditions through remote western Mongolia. He has been named Australian Adventurer of the Year and is the recipient of the Mongolian Tourism Excellency Medal as well as the Nairamdal ‘Peace’ Medal, the highest honour bestowed upon a foreign citizen by the Mongolian government.

Tim reflects that the sense of harmony and sustainability with which the nomads live with the land holds a valuable lesson for us all.

They live within the limitations and the confines of the environment that they were born into,” says Tim Cope. “It’s an extremely different way of life to what most of us live, where we’ve basically molded the land for our own convenience.

(South China Morning Post magazine, 2016)

But what does the future hold for the next generation of nomads? Tim believes the future of the nomads of Mongolia are in the hands of the younger generations. As Tim told Tessa Chan, South China Morning post, Mongolia is at a crossroads.

“For the first time in thousands of years, the young generation of Mongolians have a choice, to be a herder or to pursue studies in the cities and towns and perhaps have a very different way of life.” (Tim Cope, SCMP magazine, 2016)

We invite you to get a taste of the life of a Mongolian nomad on this very special photographic journey by Tessa Chan on one of Tim’s recent trips to MongoliaIn the Footsteps of the Nomad with Tim Cope .

Chief herdsman Myagaa (C) and his friends live much the same lifestyle as their ancestors did 5,000 years ago.


Image credit: SCMP/Tessa Chan (scmp.com/nomads)

During a nomad family migration, camels can carry loads of up to 300kg. These camels dutifully wait to be loaded up with trekking gear as support for the tour.


Image credit: SCMP/Tessa Chan (scmp.com/nomads).

Most children here will master horse riding from the age of four or five.


Image credit: SCMP/Tessa Chan (scmp.com/nomads)

The spectacular landscape of western Mongolia.


Image credit: SCMP/Tessa Chan (scmp.com/nomads)

A well earned rest after a challenging day’s trek in western Mongolia.


Image credit: SCMP/Tessa Chan (scmp.com/nomads)

Young nomad girl, western Mongolia.


Image credit: SCMP/Tessa Chan (scmp.com/nomads)

Trekkers visit a glacial lake on the high pass between the Turgen and Kharkhiraa ranges.


Image credit: SCMP/Tessa Chan (scmp.com/nomads)

A view to wake up to: horses graze by the frozen Shivreen River, Western Mongolia.


Image credit: SCMP/Tessa Chan (scmp.com/nomads)

Three young nomads (L-R) Otga, Nana and Choinum sit by the Shivreen River.


Image credit: SCMP/Tessa Chan (scmp.com/nomads)

Young child in western Mongolia.


Image credit: SCMP/Tessa Chan (scmp.com/nomads)

Racing for glory at Naadam: young jockeys stand by their horses before the race starts.


Image credit: SCMP/Tessa Chan (scmp.com/nomads)

Join Tim Cope on a Trekking Adventure in Mongolia in 2017

Spectacular glacial lake in Mongolia. Photo by Cam Cope.

Spectacular glacial lake in Mongolia. Photo by Cam Cope.

Mongolia In the Footsteps of the Nomad with Tim Cope – July 2018

Follow in the footsteps of a nomad with Tim Cope in July 2018 and for a unique trek among remote Khoton and Kazakh nomads in the Kharkhiraa and Tsaast Uul mountains of western Mongolia. Voted by National Geographic traveller as a “Tour of a Lifetime” in 2011, you will be travelling with Tim and Tseren Enebish for a culturally enriching experience of western Mongolia.

The focus of this trip is spending less time crossing the vast landscape of Mongolia by jeep, and more time trekking off the beaten track, immersed in the landscape and culture of the legendary horsemen and women of the steppe. Find out more >>>

Gobi Altai Nomad Trek and Naadam Festival with Tim Cope – June 2017

Join Tim Cope and Mongolian guide Gansukh Baatarsuren on an exploratory trek through the rarely visited Gobi Altai Mountains of western Mongolia.

Trek from the desert floor through summer pastures to sacred ice clad peaks, supported by herdsmen with their camels and horses. This journey coincides with the summer migration period as the nomads themselves move from desert to mountains and as such, camp will regularly be made near nomad families.

Celebrate post-trek at Naadam festival – the national celebration of the three traditional ‘manly sports’ of wrestling, horse racing, and archery – a once in a lifetime experience to witness.  Find out more >>>

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