Woman travelling 12,000km on camel to UK

Posted by Elise Kirsten on 26 June 2019

Baigalmaa Norjmaa is an adventurous young Mongolian woman who is travelling from her home country along the ancient Silk Road through Asia, the old Persian and Ottoman empires, and into the UK by camel. She hopes to inspire rural women like her ‘to embark on their own future projects’.

Baigalmaa (‘Baikal’ to her friends) set out on the 12,000km trek on 8 November 2017 with 10 Bactrian camels and six other people, but according to her in an interview with Explorers Web ‘the others all gave up due to the cold, and some personal reasons.’

Baigalmaa with one of the camels that she trained.

Baikal, who comes from a nomadic Mongolian family, explained how they slept in temperatures as low as -58°C in the Gobi Desert in mid-winter just over a month into the journey. ‘When it’s this cold, it’s especially important to take care of the animals. We have to clear the ground of snow and ice, so the animals [can eat and] not freeze to death overnight,’ she said.

The reason for the project, which she dubbed ‘Steppes to the West‘, is to share Mongolian nomadic culture and its historical connection to camels with a global audience. When she reaches London, her journey will be the longest in history undertaken with a single caravan.

So far Baigalmaa has already crossed Mongolia, China and Kazakhstan and says that most of her journey has been on the steppes, which she is accustomed to. When she gets closer to Europe that will change and she also won’t have the freedom to camp anywhere she likes anymore. However her philosophy is to take one country at a time and deal with each problem as it arises.


In an interview with the BBC the inspirational 30-year-old said, ‘It doesn’t matter where we are, where we live. The problems will always be around. And we should solve it. That’s why we are smart human beings, isn’t it?’

Images: Supplied / Steppes to the West.

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