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Step inside the snowy winter wonderland of Outer Mongolia!

Photographer Joel Santos was given a truly unique insight into the art of reindeer herding when he travelled into the depths of Northern Mongolia in order to spend time with a nomadic family from the Tsaatan tribe.


The experience was so extraordinary as the Tsaatan people are one of the last remaining groups of Nomadic reindeer herders in the entire world.

The word Tsaatan means ‘those who have reindeer’ in the local dialect and the tribe move their homes and herds around 5-10 times a year.


The tribe enjoys a very close relationship with their reindeer, which provide them with milk and cheese, as well as transportation.

They also use their pelts to make clothes, their antlers to fashion tools and even the reindeer dung to fuel the small stoves that they use for cooking and heating their tipi homes.


Normally, the reindeer that are ridden by the adults are over 3-years-old, and they start to train them from the age of 2.

Whilst the family had been visited by outsiders before but Joel was the first professional photographer to document their lifestyle.


Sadly, although their lives may look idyllic in the video, the Tsaatan tribe’s way of life is now under threat. Hunting restrictions are making it harder and harder for them to survive – now only 40 families remain and are made up of a few hundred individuals that still continue the tradition of reindeer herding.

Hopefully they can continue living their very special way of life for many years to come!