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Wild Nature and Nomads

Overview

These adventurous riding programmes take place in the Kyrgyz wilderness, home to nomadic families, native horses and spectacular nature. They are organised by Kuba, a professional working in tourism for almost 15 years. Kuba originally worked as a mountain guide and then as a tour operator before d…

Highlights

  • Ride through the wild mountains and meadows to Song Kol
  • Meet local nomadic families and overnight in yurts
  • Visit an ancient family of eagle hunters
  • Marvel at the beautiful high altitude landscapes
  • Relax in remote camps far off the beaten track

Essential Facts

  • 1 itinerary available
  • Max 12 riders per group
  • Average of 4 - 5 hours riding per day
  • Weight limit: 90kg / 198 lbs / 14st 2lbs.
    more info

Description

These adventurous riding programmes take place in the Kyrgyz wilderness, home to nomadic families, native horses and spectacular nature. They are organised by Kuba, a professional working in tourism for almost 15 years. Kuba originally worked as a mountain guide and then as a tour operator before deciding to organise his own horse riding tours, fuelled by his love of these magnificent animals. This is a small scale set-up using a team of local horsemen, guides and translators to provide an authentic experience.

For each ride Kuba selects the best horses from his team of local owners in the desired location - he maintains partnerships with the same horse owners so that he can educate them on how best to treat and care for the horses. It's important to note that this is an authentic experience in Kyrgyzstan and you will experience a different culture which is part of the adventure. The local horses are small but strong and sure-footed and if a horse becomes injured on the trail then they are switched out for another. These tough little horses are the perfect means by which to explore this beautiful, untamed country. As Kuba says: "for somebody who is in love with horses, my country is a really lovely place. It is a country of nomads and riders."

These tours are designed to combine great riding opportunities with immersion in nature, different landscapes and local culture. Aside from climbing majestic mountains and cantering across flowering meadows, you can experience eagle shows, folk shows, museums and nomadic life. If you find peace in the great outdoors and have an adventurous soul then Kyrgyzstan could be for you.

Horses & Riding

Tack

The saddles used are Russian military style. These have a simple wood or metal frame that is covered with a cushion or pad for comfort. Bridles are usually simple, made from leather/rawhide or nylon and horses are ridden in single jointed snaffle type bits.

Horses

Native Kyrgyz Horses.
The local horses are small but strong and sure-footed and if a horse becomes injured on the trail then they are switched out for another. These tough little horses are the perfect means by which to explore this beautiful, untamed country.

Riding

There is 1 itinerary:

  • Wild Nature and Nomadic Life on Horseback is a trail ride

Ages

Children of 8 and over can be accepted if they travel with adult family members but they must be experienced riders.

Health

Fit, healthy and active.

Weight

90kg / 198 lbs / 14st 2lbs.

Food & Accommodation

Food

During the tours, you can expect to experience traditional Kyrgyz cuisine, whilst eating with your host families or at traditional restaurants. Local meals are primarily focused on meat and vegetables, with dishes that reflect the nation's traditional nomadic life, alongside influences from its trading heritage when spices and dried goods were ferried along the Silk Road from the Caucasus, Persia and China. Depending on the time of year, you may eat some more salad, vegetables and fruit such as apricots and watermelon. Traditional dishes include soups and stews served with potato, as well as rice and noodle-based dishes, dumplings and various types of bread.

Tea (or Chai) is a popular beverage served with all meals and you may also be offered kymyz, a slightly fermented drink which is made from mare's milk.

Vegetarians and those with other special dietary requirements can be catered for with prior notice, although we do not recommend the ride for those with more complicated needs.

Accommodation

Accommodation is a mixture of hotels, homestays or guesthouses, yurts and basic tents. You should be an adventurer, happy with simple places to stay and comfortable sharing sleeping quarters and facilities with other guests. You will need to bring your own sleeping bag and mat for camping nights.

Itineraries

Wild Nature and Nomadic Life on Horseback Tented accommodation.

Other Activities

All participants on this tour need to take part in the riding, but there are other activities as part of the programme. These include hiking, cultural visits and fishing.

Travel

You should aim to arrive in Bishkek in the morning of day 1. Airport transfers are included and will be arranged at a time to suit.

Testimonials

Natalie, Far & Ride, Aug. 26, 2022

Well... What can I say! Kyrgyzstan blew every expectation I had of this country out of the water for me. From the simple way of life to the stunning views and breathtaking landscapes you'll ride through. This country will throw everything it has your way and despite its wild nature, you won't help but fall utterly in love with its charm.


Winona B., Aug. 26, 2022

Beautiful ride - mountain views are incredible!


Itinerary & Pricing

Day 1 - Bishkek - Chong Kemin

Riding: No riding.

Arrive at Bishkek airport where you will be met by your driver and transferred to the city.

Those arriving early in the morning will be accommodated in a city centre hotel (at extra cost) to rest and have some breakfast. If time allows, you will enjoy a city tour of central Bishkek to learn a little about its history and modern development. You will then head to a restaurant in the city for lunch.

In the afternoon, you will begin the 3-hour drive towards the Chong Kemin valley and National Park. On arrival at the family guesthouse at the entrance to Chong Kemin national park, there is time to relax or take a short walk around the village. In the evening you will enjoy a tasty home-cooked dinner at the guesthouse.

Day 2 - Kayindi - Chelek Lake

Riding: 4 - 5 hours

After breakfast, at around 09:00 am, you will begin your first day of riding in Kyrgyzstan! Following the Chong Kemin valley to its very end, you will begin to ascend into the mountains beyond. After a morning in the saddle, you will stop for a picnic lunch at the entrance to Chong Kemin Park before continuing your climb. You will arrive in the mountain pasture of Toru Aigur which is situated 2200m above sea level, which is the spot for your first campsite. It's time to put up the tents and prepare dinner, which will be eaten around a big campfire (conditions allowing).

Day 3 - Chelek Lake to Ayuluu-Tor Valley

Riding: 4 - 5 hours

After a hearty campfire breakfast, it's time to catch your horses and prepare for your next day of riding. Today you will cross the Toru Aigur meadow and continue to climb up to 2500 - 2600m above sea level. Rising up and over the mountain passes, you will eventually arrive at the secluded and picturesque view of Kol-Kogur lake. Here you will help to set up camp whilst the cook prepares a picnic lunch at the edge of the lake. The afternoon is free - you can spend this time swimming in the lake!

Day 4 - Ayuluu-Tor Valley - Karakol

Riding: 3 - 4 hours

After an early breakfast this morning, you will ready the horses to head over the Ak-Suu pass at 3200m above sea level. In the earlier and later months, you might see snow as you head over the pass and an amazing view on the other side. After a short break, you will continue to head down the side of the mountain and leave the Chong Kemin National Park. You will pass herds of sheep, cattle and horses once more and eventually arrive at a shepherd's station after around 1 hour. Here you will say goodbye to your horses and horsemen who have taken your safely through the mountains these last few days. You will continue your journey down the mountains in an ex-military jeep (a 4x4 experience like no other!).

Eventually, you will arrive near the shores of Issy-Kul lake, the second largest alpine lake in the world, where you will be met by your driver and taken to a guesthouse in the next town for a late lunch. In the afternoon you will be driven to Karakol (about 3 - 4 hours drive). Dinner tonight is at a local restaurant and overnight is in Askar Guest House.

Day 5 - Karakol - Bokonbaev Village

Riding: No riding.

After breakfast today you will visit the Duncan Mosque (one of the first built in Kyrgyzstan) and the Holy Trinity Cathedral in order to better understand the life of Kyrgyz people in the 19th century. After lunch in Karakol, you will drive to Jeti Oguz Valley - the valley of the Seven Bulls - then on to the 'Fairytale Canyon' where you can walk and climb amongst the unusual red sandstone formations. Finally, you will have dinner and spend the night in Gulmira guesthouse.

Day 6 - Bokonbaeva - Kochkor - Kyzart

Riding: No riding.

This morning you will visit an ancient family of eagle hunters and will have the chance to take a photo with their eagles and falcons. From there you will head to Kochkor where you will take lunch at a local restaurant, In the afternoon you will visit a handicrafts and women's cooperative centre to see a show of traditional Kyrgyzstan felt art making. The centre has a small shop where you can purchase a few of these handmade goods. You will then continue to your next stop at a family guesthouse in Kyzart.

Day 7 - Kyzart - Song Kul

Riding: 5 - 6 hours

After breakfast today you will head 1 hour by road to meet your new herd of horses and the local team who will accompany you. Once safely mounted, you will begin your climb up the mountains surrounding Song-Kul lake, at 3000 m above sea level. You will climb steep mountain roads and descend along ancient sheep trails as you make your way toward the lake. On the way, you will stop for lunch with a local nomadic family. The afternoon ride will see you finally descend into the Song Kul caldera and your first view of the lake. Dinner and overnight in a tourist yurt camp with the possibility of booking a traditional Banya (woodfired bath) at extra cost.

Day 8 - Tash Dobo - Tulpar Tash

Riding: 4 - 5 hours

After breakfast this morning, you will rejoin your horses and enjoy a full day of riding around the shores of Song Kul. Following the ancient roads of this area, you will head west and continue to explore the amazing culture of the semi-nomadic people who live here. After three hours of riding, you will stop for lunch with a nomadic family. In the afternoon you will continue your journey through Song Kul until you eventually arrive at the tourist yurt camp where you will be spending the night. Some free time before dinner may see you taking a walk down to the lake shore or watching the sun setting low in the sky.

Day 9 - Tulpar Tash - Tuz Ashuu

Riding: 3 - 4 hours

After breakfast, you will have another three to four hours of riding this morning as you continue to follow ancient nomad pathways along the shores of Song Kul. Now heading towards the southern shores, you will stop for lunch at a tourist yurt camp on the way. In the afternoon you will wind your way towards the yurt camp of a nomadic family, where you will be spending this final night in Song Kul. Final dinner and overnight in yurts.

Day 10 - Tuz Ashuu - Kochkor

Riding: 3 - 4 hours

Today will be your final day of riding. After breakfast, you will mount your horses and complete the final leg of your nomadic journey. Following the main road, you will enjoy a long morning ride of approximately 3-4 hours. You will arrive at a tourist yurt camp in time for lunch and will say goodbye to your horses and team here. In the afternoon you will come down the Kalmak-Ashuu pass by bus, before continuing to Kochkor village where you will soned the night in a guesthouse. Dinner in Kochkor village with a traditional folk music show.

Day 11 - Kochkor - Bishkek

Riding: No riding.

After breakfast, you will transfer to Bishkek. On the way, you will stop to visit the Burana Tower, an architectural complex from the 10th to 11th century and an important point on the Great Silk Road. You will arrive at the hotel around 12:00 and will be able to drop your bags in your rooms before heading out to lunch at a restaurant in the city. In the afternoon you will have a few hours free to shower and relax or perhaps visit the famous Osh-Bazaar market to purchase some souvenirs of your time in Kyrgyzstan. In the evening you will explore Bishkek by night, taking dinner in a local restaurant and bar. Overnight in a 3* hotel.

Day 12

Riding: No riding.

Transfer to the airport for departure in the morning.

Accommodation

1 night in a hotel, 5 nights in home stays or guesthouses, 3 nights in yurts, and 2 nights in tents.

Experience Intermediate / Experienced

This ride is adventurous and requires a good level of fitness, but you do not need to be an expert rider. You should have experience riding at all paces in open spaces; you should be comfortable riding up and down steep tracks and trails in the mountains as well as being in the saddle for long hours.

Minimum group size 6
Maximum group size 12
Departure windows

July 30, 2022 - Aug. 10, 2022  (* Escorted Ride)

At any time during: May 19, 2023 - Sept. 15, 2023  (Dates available on request.)

Pricing

2022
Per person, sharing
£965 $1075 €1100
Included Airport transfers from/to Bishkek and all transfers required during the tour, 11 nights of shared accommodation, meals (except last dinner in Bishkek), 7 days horse riding, translator, museum/national park entries as detailed in the programme.
Not included Flights, travel insurance, alcohol and drinks other than water, last dinner in Bishkek, extra services not mentioned, tips for guides.
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding. All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.