STANTOURS Turkmenistan Adventure Trips
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Ecological & Trekking

Alternative Uzbekistan-Turkmenistan Eco-Programme

21-Day alternative tour to the Highlights of Uzbekistan and the deserts and mountains of Turkmenistan

This is our Eco-adventure-programme covering some classic and some entirely new routings in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. You will have time to stroll around the ancient cities of the Silk Road on your own and to join your group for fabulous trekking in the canyons and deserts of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.

Coming in through Tashkent you will cross over 2,000 km overland from the nut-tree forests of the Nuratau mountain ridge in Uzbekistan, across the dunes and nomad settlements of the Karakum and to the incredible multi-coloured mountains of Karakala in western Turkmenistan.

A 14-day version of this trip is also available!

Difficulty - moderate
Travel - year-round with recommended travel months being April, May, September, and October.

Day 1-4
Tashkent Samarkand individual

You will fly into Tashkent and drive to Samarkand the day after your arrival. Spending 2 days in this splendid centre of the ancient Silk Road.

Day 5-6
Nuratau Nature Reserve - Aidarkul Lake

On the 4th day you will continue towards the Nuratau Mountains around which you will be trekking and camel riding for 2 ½ days. We will trek up the mountain through the Nature Reserve whose main purpose is the protection of Nut-tree forests and the Svertsov's urial. The nearby Aidarkul Lake is the result of a floodwater in 1969 that was drained into the previous salt-lake.

Day 7-9
Bukhara individual

After Nuratau we continue to Bukhara where we have time to explore this spectacular medieval town on our own. On our second day in the city we will make a ½ day trip into the nearby gazelle Eco-centre, set up by the authorities to actively protect a population of goitred gazelles.

Day 10-11
Amudarya Nature reserve - Konye Urgench

On our 10th day in Uzbekistan we travel on a pontoon bridge across the Amudarya into Turkmenistan, where we continue along the river towards the ancient cities in the north of its canal delta. Our first stop after the border are the Tugay forests of the Amudarya Nature Reserve where we will trek though a unique riverside landscape of dunes and savannah-like Tugay-forest. The area is the habitat of the endangered Bukharan deer whose population has dropped under twenty after heavy flooding in 1998. Local environmental NGO's are currently conducting a relocation project for the remaining animals into recent canal Tugay forests north of Mary.
After visiting the ancient Caravansaray of Daya Khatyn we continue on the asphalt road north with a beautiful view of the river-lands. Stopping for a picnic with the pilgrims in the holy shade of the Dargan Ata fortress we will continue along the Uzbek border where travelling highly sensible border territory we will feel very strongly the impact of the new borders of the former Soviet Union. We should reach the ancient Capital of the region, Konye-Urgench by the evening where with donkey carts and mulberry-tree-laned streets we will encounter a very strong sense of tradition in this Yomud tribe region with a strong Uzbek influence.

Day 12-14
Karakum Desert adventure

From Konye-Urgench we will start our 3-day crossing of the Karakum desert. After spending the first night near Darwaza Oasis we will leave the asphalt road by truck / 4WD into the central desert areas covering about 250 km off-road track cut into pieces by the sharp peaks of the dunes. This is the toughest part of the trip through some of the most isolated and natural nomad villages in the country. We will cross Uzboy, the former bed of the Amudarya, which like an endless salt-lake is separating the entirely different plates of northern and southern Karakum. We spend the night with the nomads in the flat roof settlement of Damla, where almost the entire life is centred around the yurt during summer. On the third day we continue off road south towards Ashgabat, returning onto the Asphalt near the oasis of Erbent.

Day 15-16

We will relax 2 days in this unique city, visiting the silk-makers in a small village nearby and of course the colourful Tolkuchka bazaar, the Must of Ashgabat.

Day 17-20
Karakala Reserve

Our last trip takes us 300 km west into the unique mountain area of Karakala in the western part of the Kopetdag mountain range where we spend 3 days. The unique valleys and climate in the region are of major importance for some of the last remaining Turkmen Snow leopards inhabiting the ridges. The WWF is currently financing a protection project conducted by the ecological NGO's. Furthermore there are serious plans to make the Nature Reserve a World Nature Heritage object under protection of the UN. We will trek through the fascinating canyons and climb the Aidere Peak. Under guidance of the local environmental activists we also visit the exceptional botanical collection of the research station.
After returning to Ashgabat you will have some time to relax before your departure.
© 2001-2010 STANtours last modified October 28, 2001