The Salt Trail Expedition 2020 – Mongolia

In June 2020, I’ll be going back to Mongolia for the Salt Trail Expedition 2020, this in collaboration with Nomade Aventure. If you want to join, contact me or Issa Smati: ismatti@nomade-aventure.com

Salt, spices, silk…

For as long as we can look back on ancient civilizations, people have travelled around, trading whatever commodity they had on offer. These early merchants formed caravans to carry their spices, salt and silk on their transcontinental journey. The paths they followed became well-known trading routes that were central to cultural interaction through regions of the Asian continent connecting the West and East by linking traders, merchants, pilgrims, monks, soldiers, nomads, and urban dwellers from China to beyond the Mediterranean Sea into Europe and Africa during various periods of time.

The most mythical of these trading roads was without doubt the Silk Road, which reached it’s pinnacle in the 14th century, during the Mongol expansion. The Silk Road was by no means the first of it’s kind. From as early as the 5th century, Kazakh, Siberian, Russian and Mongol traders created the Salt Trail.

This route was one of the main travel axis of central Asia and a large business empire developped around it. The traders travelled through Mongolia, crossing the mountain ranges between Altai & Tanuu mountains –in present-day Russian territory, to spread across Russia, Kazakhstan, Pakistan and many other countries.

The Salt Trail led close to the big salt lakes in north Mongolia, coming from the Mongolian capital with traditional goods and taking precious salt on long camel caravans, to Russia or Kazakhstan. On the way back, these caravans and their traders brought back spices or other exotic goods to the Mongolian capital.

The Salt Trail expedition will follow this historic track, from Ulgii, going north to the great salt lakes, in to the Khangay mountains, passing along the blue lakes in the middle of the Uliastay sand dunes on the way to the former Mongolian capital during the era of the Gengis Khan empire.
The Salt Trail prospered over the centuries by using camels, far more than horses, because they are more powerful and able to cross deserts on long distances. Russian domination eventually brought an end to this salt route and its long Mongolian trading tradition.

During three weeks, the expedition team will experience this legendary and epic Salt Route on foot and by camel, capturing the unique geography, communities and heritage of this region steeped in tradition. The Expedition will share this great journey with a fine team of cameleers & Kazakhs who, in their traditional tales continue to keep this story of salt alive.

I am looking for expedition team mates, if you think you are the one, give me a shout !

Past Expeditions & Adventures

Over the years I have done many adventurous trips and expeditions, enjoying privileges such as staying with some of the Canadian First Nations as for example the Atikamekw, Anishnabe and Huron and Mongolian nomadic families.

Without any doubt my life has been influenced and changed by these experiences. On an expedition or adventure you experience first-hand that shelter, food, water and friendship is what really matters most.