Umnugobi province in southern Mongolia is one of Mongolia’s largest provinces, with a population density of only 0.3 people per sq km. The few people who live here are of the Khaikh ethnic group. It’s not hard to see why humans prefer to live elsewhere. With an average annual precipitation of only 130mm a year, and summer temperatures reaching an average of up to 38°C, this is the driest, hottest and harshest region in the country.
The Gurvansaikhan Nuruu range in the center provides the main topographic relief in this pancake-flat region. These mountains reach an altitude of 2825m and support a diverse range of wildlife, including the extremely rare snow leopard. The mountains also make human habitation marginally possible by capturing snow in winter, which melts and feeds springs on the plains below, providing water for some limited livestock.
Omnogov supports thousands of black-tailed gazelle, which you may see darting across the open plains. The aimag is also home to one-quarter (93,000) of Mongolia’s domesticated camels. The two-million-hectare Gurvansaikhan National Park protects a lot of wildlife and is home to dinosaur fossils, sand dunes and rock formations. The 1,839,176 hectare Small Gobi Strictly Protected Area, in the south-eastern section of the aimag, is the last great bastion of the khudan, or wild ass.
The territory of the aimag is semi-desert. The average altitude is about 4,265-5,249 feet (1,300-1,600 m.) above sea level. The famous tourist destinations include Gurvan saikhan, Tost, Servei, Noyon Bogda, Nomgon, Nemegt, Altana and Gilbent, which are the extension of the Altai mountain range, and rise up to 9,843 feet (3,000 m.) above sea level. The world’s famous Gobi desert is located in this province. Its parts are Khongor sand, Galba, Borzon, Zeemeg, Zag, Suzh. Khongor sand stretches for 36 square miles (92,5 sq. km.), and its length is 115 miles (185 km.) and the width is 12 miles (20 km.). The average temperature is around 39° F (+3.9° C) in main areas, with the average in July 68° F-77° F (+20° C to +25° C) and 59° F-77° F (-15° C to -25° C) in January. The average precipitation is about 5 inches (133 mm.). There are many cold springs in the province such as Khadaat, Nemegt, Zoloon, Enger buleen, Talkhit. The Elgen and Salkhit are hot springs. Over 250 species of flora grow in the territory of the Umnugovi aimag. Many medical herbs, such as astragalus, gentian, flavor nitracia, cynomorium, agriophyllium, and trees such as saksaul, oleaster, populus diversifolia and elm are found in Umnugovi. The rare animals include wild horses, wild sheep, ibex, wild camels. The aimag is famous of the black tailed antelopes, white antelopes, lynxes, foxes, corsas, rabbits and badgers. In the territory of the aimag there are many places of interests such as the mirror rock, and salt lake, beautiful oasis with groves of elm, populus diversifolia, cleaster and vast valleys of sand dunes. Popular destinations are Gurvan Zeerd, Dulaan buut huge caves, the famous national park Yoliin valley, refered to as “Khangai in the Gobi”, Dungeneegiin valley, and Kherem hillock. The South has bright soil, and in the North soil is brown semi-desert. This aimag is well-known for dinosaur fossils as old as 60 – 80 million years, and finds from Stone Age, and Bronze Age. Also there are ruins of ancient cities, fortifications, and ancient graves, and monuments. The main section of the economy is animal husbandry. The annual production reaches 1,800 million tugriks, trade turnover is 2,000 million tugriks.