Description: These horseback tours in Turkmenistan are simply unique. They take place in Akhal region, an area of extraordinary historical interest: in 334 B.C., Alexander the Great swept through the area in search of its legendary horses to outfit his conquering armies on their way to India. They were the centerpiece of the mighty Parthian Empire (Old Nissa), which crushed the Roman army in 53 B.C., its archers mounted on Turkmen horses. Turkmen nomadic tribes raided the rich cities of their Persian neighbors for centuries, and traded captured slaves and booty across Central Asia.
The area is still famous for its horses. Tour is based from a stud farm, and you will be riding original hot-blooded Turkmen horses - Akhalteke. Partners or friends who do not want to ride can follow, where possible, the same or a similar route in a 4WD vehicle, and meet up with riders during breaks and at the end of the day. Travelers will visit local nomads and perhaps experience a little of the Turkmen lifestyle. Photographers and painters will find plenty to keep them busy. These horseback tours are a unique opportunity to ride the world's original hot-blooded Turkmen horses, the Akhalteke; the original stock of both the Thoroughbred and the Arabian - through a part of Turkmenistan rarely visited by outsiders.
The Turkmen horse is the key to champion horses the world over. Valued above all other possessions by the kings, emperors and aristocrats of three continents for three millennia, the Turkmen horse was famed for its mythical speed, endurance and beauty. The Han Chinese risked armies to get a hold of just a few of the breed; the guards of the Caliphs of Baghdad were mounted on them; Alexander the Great captured hundreds if not thousands of the horses to return to Europe after his Parthian campaigns; and the modern Thoroughbred owes everything to Turkmen blood, bred directly and indirectly through the great lines. Turkmen Tribesmen have used their horses for generations to wage warfare across the steppes and mountains of Central Asia. At peace now, the tribesmen still race their horses, training them in the traditional ways, and keeping them under felt blankets to sweat into them the lithe lines of catwalk models. The Turkmen horse is the product of millennia of evolution, built to survive heat, drought, cold winter storms, predation by wolves and leopards, and capable of impressive feats of endurance and great speed.
Day 1: Arrival at Ashgabat International Airport.
Departure for Ashgabat. Meeting at airport and transfer to hotel Nissa 4*. Accommodation and rest.
Day 2: Free time and tour in Ashgabat
Breakfast. After rest (free time), tour of Ashgabat: Park dedicated to Turkmen Horses, Presidential Square, Arch of Neutrality, Gulistan Bazaar, Monument of Lenin (1927).
After lunch, visit to Ertogrul Gazy Mosque, New Hippodrome, horses, and Horse Show (various tricks with horses and on horseback), Monument of Independence and Ruhnama. Lunch and dinner.
Day 3: Transfer to "Geokdepe" Stud Farm
First day of horse trekking. Itinerary begins from the stud farm/horse stable, Geokdepe, located 58km to the west of Ashgabat.
Transfer to Geokdepe village and horse farm. En route, we will stop to visit "Turkmenbashi Ruhy Metjidi", a new mosque which is the largest in Central Asia, and "Geokdepe" mosque. After arrival at the farm, we will have a tour of the stud-farm and private carpet factory there; we'll examine the horses, and riders will choose which they would like to ride; check and adjust the tack and learn more about the Turkmen Akhalteke horses. Lunch at the farm. After lunch, small nature excursion around the village on horseback. Traditional Turkmen kebab supper and overnight at farm in yurts.
Day 4: Ride: Geokdepe village - Tummekli ( 34 km, approximately six hours riding)
Early start, breakfast, saddle up. On the first day of our trek, we follow a route through the northeast of the Karakum desert. Our route takes us across the sand dunes of the Karakum, from well to well. Lunch on the way, then continue riding to Tummekli, the name of one of the hills in the desert, where we may stop and camp. There we will have the chance to meet face to face with the wildlife of the Karakum desert. Dinner and overnight in tents.
Day 5: Proceed to Chyrla Nomadic Village (32 km, approximately five hours in the saddle)
Early start. After breakfast we continue our trekking through the desert dunes to one of the nomadic villages of Karakum - Chyrla. Lunch on the way at a takyr. During our ride, we most likely will see some of the tribal herds of camels and huge flocks of sheep which roam across the desert. Night in camp with campfire supper, night in tents.
Day 6: Ride to Gurrukly, a small village (35 km, approximately six hours riding)
After breakfast, ride to one of the small nomadic villages of the Karakum desert - Gurrukly. Lunch near Gutlyayak village, one of the largest in the desert. After lunch, trip to the village to view the life of nomadic people. After a short rest, continue our ride to day's destination. Campfire supper and drinking "Gok Chay" (green tea) with villagers. Overnight in tents.
Day 7: Ride to Hakysh. Half day rest (17 km, approximately 3 hours riding)
Today, we will ride half the day, and after lunch will have a rest and look after our horses. However, you may choose to watch the shepherds perform their daily tasks, or wander around observing the wildlife in the desert. After lunch, we will set up a shower booth for all who wish to take showers. (Half day relaxing is essential after each 3 days of riding).
Day 8: Proceed to Gongurajy (29 km, approximately four hours riding)
Early start, breakfast, saddle up. This day, we ride to Gongurajy nomadic village, eating lunch on the way at a "takyr". Dinner and overnight in tents.
Day 9: Ride to Orazsahet village (28 km, approximately five hours riding)
Early start, breakfast, saddle up. On the eighth day of our trek, we turn to the southwest, to the small nomadic village of Orazsahet. Lunch near Sardob village, which also has a very unique nomadic way of life. Continue riding to the nomadic village of Orazsahet, where only the members of one extended family have lived for many years. Dinner and overnight in tents.
Day 10: Proceed to Geokdepe reservoir (38km, approximately six hours in the saddle)
Early start. After breakfast, continue our trek through desert dunes to a miraculous body of water - Geokdepe reservoir, which is famous with its various types of fish, wild bird life and clean water for swimming. En route we will have the chance to watch some wild desert animals and reptiles. For lunch, we stop at a shepherd's well called Arap Ghuy. After lunch we continue on our route, and upon arrival at reservoir, we will have a swim in the fresh water. We will also wash our horses in the lake (or swim with them!). After our horses dry off, we will ride them back to the stud farm where we began our journey, located around 10km from the reservoir. Upon arrival, farewell dinner (fresh fish from the lake) with our friends. After dinner we say farewell our horses and friends and leave for Ashgabat. Arrival and accommodation.
Day 11: Transfer to Ashgabat
After breakfast we will visit Ashgabat's famous Oriental Bazaar- Jygyldyk (Tolkuchka in Russian) where nearly everything can be found: camels, carpets, cars, etc. There you will find plenty of souvenirs such as carpets, aladjas, handicrafts, felts, embroideries, jewellery and much more. After the Bazaar, we will drive to the Old Hippodrome of Ashgabat to watch the Sunday Horse Race, a chance to see the best horses in Turkmenistan in motion, and "horse crazy" people rooting for their favourite horses (without any betting). After the race, we will eat lunch and return to the hotel. Free time.
Dinner at one of the local restaurants or Traditional dinner with a folklore show (Cost: 120 Euro per group).
Day 12: Departure from Ashgabat
Check out. Transfer to Ashgabat airport. Departure from Ashgabat. Arrival in your city.
We hope you like the program and assure you that we are absolutely open to any suggestions to increase the range of our services for the complete satisfaction of our clients and are happy to meet your special requirements.
Our tour operator will work closely with you or your travel agent to carefully prepare an itinerary based on your stated interests.