Come join us in March for a time of festivals! The Camel Festival and the Ice Festival all take a place in March. This is a fantastic opportunity to get involved in the festivities of local communities in Mongolia. Not organized for ‘tourists’, these local events are put on by communities for their own amusement, but visitors are always welcome. Experience with a Mongolian local nomad family lifestyle, camel racing, camel polo, and try your hands at Ice Sumo or tug-of-war! 1. Ice festival at Khuvsgul lake Organized yearly on frozen Khuvsgul Lake by National Park rangers, local residents and businesses, the Ice Festival has been held five years running. A respite from the confinement of the winter months, the Ice Festival is a time to get outdoors and play games. The festival features a gathering of local residents and nomadic reindeer herders, and performances by shamans, musicians, and sportsmen. Competitions include ice sumo, a horse sledge race, ice skating races, tug of war between local teams, and a Russian Jeep race on the ice. Many traditional games are played on the sidelines, and this is an ideal venue for visitors to join in the fun and games with local people. The festival is held at Khar-Us on Khuvsgul Lake, a short drive north of Khatgal across the frozen lake ice. 2. Camel festival in Southgobi province Mongolia’s two-humped Bactrian camel is nicknamed by local people the “Gobi Ship”. It inhabits the Gobi desert in the southern part of Mongolia. Because the camel is an indispensable part of life for nomadic herdsmen, a local association of camel herders organizes this gathering of camels and their breeders each year to promote continued breeding of the Bactrian camel and to educate both Mongolians and foreigners on the importance of the camel in the Mongolian way of life. Camels and riders compete in a race, in camel polo tournaments, and even in a camel “beauty contest” where owners display the finest saddles and rigging for their camels. This festival is held in Bulgan sum/village in Umnugobi (South Gobi) province.