From June 15 to August 15, Tsaatans tribe lives at 1 or 2 day riding horse from Tsaagan Nur Sun. Before and after the camps are father and hidden in the forests. No more than 50 families compose this tribe who lives only of reindeer -farming and use as house tepees like Indians of America. Tsatan tribe is divided in 2 groups: Tsatans living in West part of taïga (around 10 hours riding to join the first families) and Tsatan living in East part (around 2 days to join them) Those families, really poor, everyday fight for their own survival so if you decide to meet them please bring them some products which can better their life. Since end of Communism Tsaatan can’t go to Tuuva Republic as even there are cousin to buy, exchange reindeers, so brucellosis appears also the Tsatan people have this disease, as even an Italian association helped them giving vaccine to reindeer if nothing is doing this small tribe could dessappear. Before you leave for your trip you can buy all in U.B. or complete your purchases in Mörön and in Tsaagan Nur Sun. Buy the same quantity for the families you want to visit (5 to 10 families according the time you will stay there)
Now some Tsaatan families have under the teppe (urt) television who works with solar panel, a radio to have contact with the world and the children during school time, sometimes also a mobile but it can be use only near Tsagan Nur village.
From when Tsaatan center (open by an American association) some problems started or awake again between the 2 groups. It’s never easy for foreigners to want to help persons dictating terms as rare those point of view are agree by the persons who need help. Tsaatan aren’t so happy of this intrusion , they came under this influence more than they accept it.. Tsaatan center oblige people to find others way to earn money: by example in summer some families have now some “tepee-hotels” near their own tepee, they make souvenir with the reindeer horns to sell to tourists. Now they prefer the money instead of the help you could bring (see the list) as even all is more expensive in the village than UB, and also without thinking about alcoholism who could be start quicker. Also some uses are forgotten, the fact that all Tsaatan Children go in Tsagan Nur school Mongolian language is now the official launguage of the tribe even at school their own language is learn by Tsatan children. We could be afraid that many families decide to come to live the village thinking to have an easier life, but more 5 families decided to go to live with reindeers in the mountain. Tsaatan’s life is based on the reindeers, it’s the reindeer who decide about moving, 8/10 time per year, and as reward to the care they receive they give to families what they need to live correctly. Tourism increase every year, around 400 persons (2009 statistic9 came to see them. Of course this will give some work to Tsatan horse guides who are settle , often after a weeding with a Mongolian , in the valley, but it seems that the Tsaatan center dictate laws and prices. If they could resist to 70 years of communism maybe now the globalization will kill them?
List of shopping (consult your driver):
- Rice, flour
- Tea, salt
- Tobacco and paper for cigarette
- Soap, tooth- past, tooth brush, comb…
- Woven to make dells, clothes for children…
- Candles, lighters, matches, pens, exercise books, playing card, games for the children, tee shirts, thread and needles for sewing
- Plus all the things written on “lodge under the ger”
Now it’s up to you to buy or not some of the products written in the list as you will pay for your journey under the tepee.
BE AWARE: as some guides only want to get money and will never drive you the Tsaatans tribe, just make you a tour on forest and after 3 hours will say that they moved and so can’t find them! Many tourism report this kind of problems, if this happen just let it know to the Police in Tsagan Nur and in Moron.
Often people will make you believe that Tsatan live near Kösgöl lake. This is not the truth! Only one or 2 families go there for the folklore. You must be know that reindeer like only clod weather and the hot can kill them. That the reason of the numerous migrations during the year. So you can understand that the family who came every year near Kösgöl Lake don’t respect reindeers and the choice of live of real Tsatan with it rules but they are settle only to make business. Every year the reindeers who have to live near the lake suffer a lot of the hot weather. Don’t go absolutely there!
To meet really this tribe you have to go to Tsangan Nur Sum and join the camps riding, no others possibilities. You can start from Ulan Uul but it’s longer to join the camps. Once upon the time, under Sovietic rules, Tsaatan tribe lived near Ulan Uul forests but they have being oblige to move in Tsagan Nur village as Sovietic create for them. They resisted going to live in the mountain near the village.
HORSE GUIDE: ask for Bayna and Orcher to Namunn Guest house in Tsagan Nur sun. the guest house is near the bank and the school. The owner of the guest house is also the Director of the scholl, so you can ask for her during school time in the school, mane is Drimaa. Most of the horse guides has being theirs pupils so she know them very well. Give work to local people without, if possible, going to the Tsatan center. Bayna and Orcher are more cute, both Tsatan and have some relatives leaving in the mountain with reindeers. Even they don’t know English they will do all for you, helping you. Around 6/7€ per day /horse, same for the horse guide per day (price October 2009) According how many days you will stay to Tsatan families and how many luggage you have to carry (some can be leaved in the Nammun guest house) you will need 2 or 3 horses per person.
You can also ride in the area without problems.
Electricity arrived now in Tsagan Nur (October 2009), public shower are welcome after the ride: see time table, it’s near the school, 0.50€ per shower.
HOW TO GET THERE?: from UB is not so easy by public transportation. No daily and direct bus especially after Moron. So in Moron see when leave collective taxi, you can go village by village or buy all the seats of the mini bus and so leave quicker. With a private jeep it take 4/5 days from UB.
More? Ask to Mejet: firstname.lastname@example.org also to contact horse guides and the guest house Nammun
EQUIPMENT TO RIDE TO TSAATAN
You must be prepared if you want to go to Tsatan as difficult because of the changing climate and the ride is not easy in summer as in winter:
- you need a special permit , this permit is to ask in Ub before you leave where your names and passport number will be written both name of the driver and car number. When in Moron you must go to the Police and also when arriving in Tsagan Nur. Wwhen finish the ride you must go again to the Police in Tsagan Nur and in Moron. This permit is obligatory because you go in a border area.
- Even in summer it’s cold and weather change many time a day.
- Don’t wear small clothes as immediately the ride will become a hell and also because you have to wear with many clothes
- Tent with DOUBLE ROOF (risk of rain, snow and ice)
- Real warm sleeping bag for high mountain because nights really cold (under 10.C on summer)
- Warm clothes because weather changes quickly. Take some clothes in case of rain
- Warn gloves, warm cup, warm scarf, clothes to protect you from rain (no cloak as if wind the horse can be afraid when the cloak will move) okay for a dell who will cover you well, it’s warm, can be used also as blanket, not expensive. Well cover your neck as wind will go there!
- Warn stocking, good shoes better boots to protect legs. You can buy them at Black Market in Ub or in Moron, you will find different type, not expensive and at the end of the ride if you don’t want them just give them to a nomad.
- Riding breeches and wear underpants who use the professional cyclist to have more comfort on the saddle. No wear your usually underpants as the elastics will hurt you. Okay as confortable summer as winter fleece trousers
- Trouser for rain to wear up your riding breeches
- Rain coat, do not buy as horses don’t lake with bright colors, you can buy also in UB
- Sun glasses with a strand in case of fall of the horse, cream against the sun
- Repulsive against flies in summer
- Some energetic and dry food and water for the riding
- Small and not delicate luggage to be carried on horses, protect them in strong bags
- Take with you enough food for your journey to the tribe, you can ask them for water and cook on their stove but remember to divide…
- Medicine against pain, before leaving on morning take some pills against pain to have less pain when arrived
- No problem if you never ride on your life, but we can recommend you to take some lessons before to enjoy much the ride. To know to ride can be usuful if you fall down
- For your guides.: lighters , cigarettes and knife welcome
- Take with you wound dressing, bend as to Tsaatan families you will have to take care and also leave them some products. Bring medicine against all kind of pain and fever.