Uzbekistan Birdwatching Tour

12 Days |
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  • DESCRIPTION
  • TOUR PROGRAM
  • PHOTOS
  • REVIEWS

Stay type: a combination (of ornithology, naturalist, and cultural tourism)

Jizzak, Navoi, Samarkand, Bukhara, and Tashkent regions are among the places to stay.

Best Time to visit: April’s end and May’s first

Duration: 12 days and 10 nights

Professional ornithologists and wildlife enthusiasts from around the world come to Uzbekistan to explore its diverse animal and plant world. Among other things, this ornithological trip to Uzbekistan allows you to see rare birds in the country’s different natural habitats. The visit combines exploring the Great Silk Road’s historic sites in Samarkand and Bukhara with learning about the local birdlife in the Zaravshan River Valley. But also a trip to the Amu-Bukhara Canal’s marshes west of Bukhara and the Tudakoul water reservoir. In the spring, all ornithological regions can witness the arrival of several migratory bird species from Siberia’s northern areas, in addition to endemic birds.
Itinerary: Tashkent – Bukhara – Gazli (Kyzylkum desert) – Tudakul lake – Econcenter Jeyran – Nurata – Aydarkul lake – Uhum (Nurata mountains) – Samarkand – Zaravshan mountains – Zaamin national park – Tashkent

Price includes:

  • Hotel 3* + breakfast (local standards), guest room, and yurt camping;
  • Air-conditioned coach or minibus transfers between the airport and hotel A/R while on the circuit;
  • Economy-class train tickets;
  • A guide’s services, including an English-speaking guide from the start to the end;
  • Accompany English-speaking ornithology specialist guide;
  • Hotel guest fees for tourists;
  • A country map, one for each couple or person upon arrival;
  • One craft gift per couple or person

Price does not include:

  • International flight;
  • 8 free meals as indicated in the program;
  • Entrance fees to the sites mentioned in the program;
  • Rights to use camera and video camera on excursions;
  • Visits not mentioned in the program;
  • Additional hotel services;
  • Tips for guides and drivers;
  • Insurance;

Cancelation policy:

  • As soon as you confirm your reservation before departure – 50 USD non-refundable processing fee per person;
  • Up to 60 days – 5% penalty on the total trip price;
  • Up to 59 – 31 days – 25% penalty on the total trip price;
  • Up to 30 – 15 days – 50% on the total price of the trip;
  • Up to 14 – 8 days – 75% penalty on the total trip price;
  • Up to 7 days and no show – 100% penalty on the total price of the trip;

FURTHER INFORMATION

FOOD: Full board. Meals taken in hotels and local restaurants or homestays, in cities and on hikes, sometimes picnic lunch. Uzbek cuisine is very varied: raw vegetables, meat skewers, rice pilaf, fish, stew, fruit…. Be careful, at the start of your trip, consume fruit and raw vegetables in moderation in order to let your body adapt.

THE ESSENTIAL EQUIPMENT

– Clothes, from head to toe:

Uzbekistan has a continental climate, it is very hot in summer but cool (even cold in the mountains and in the desert steppe) in the off-season, we advise you to adapt your equipment according to the month of departure!

  • light walking shoes;
  • light shoes (tennis) or sandals to put on during stages in towns, villages or in the evening at the camp;
  • walking socks;
  • trekking pants;
  • cotton underwear;
  • warm underwear for March April October and November;
  • fleece jacket (more or less warm depending on the season);
  • mountain jacket (in March and early April then at the end of October and November);
  • rain cape;
  • hat, cap;
  • good sunglasses;

EQUIPMENT

  • a toiletry bag and bath towel;
  • sun protection cream (face and lips);
  • headlamp, with spare batteries and bulbs;
  • gourd of 1-liter minimum, light and isothermal;
  • pocket knife, preferably multi-purpose;
  • toilet paper + lighter.

Pharmacy

You are asked to bring your personal medication (in sufficient numbers): aspirin, elastoplast, iodized alcohol, intestinal antiseptic, small scissors, tricosteril, face and lip sun protection cream, mosquito repellent cream or lotions…

Vaccinations

No compulsory vaccinations, but it is strongly advised to be up to date for DTCP, hepatitis A, and B, typhoid, as well as rabies if you wish to hike off the beaten track, and tick-borne encephalitis if you consider staying in the forest. As Uzbekistan has only sporadic cases of malaria, preventive treatment is not compulsory.

Hygiene You will find bottles of mineral water throughout the trip but you can also take water purifying tablets.

RECOMMENDATIONS/ PRACTICAL TIPS

Clothing: No strict restrictions, especially in Tashkent or other big cities where the youth have a more western look. The skin must be covered in holy places (mosque, mausoleum, cemetery) where women must wear a headscarf and dress properly – in other words, covered. For summer trips, plan light-colored cotton clothes that protect against sunburn. Don’t forget the sunscreeт.

VISA: As of February 1, 2019, French, Belgian and Swiss travelers are exempt from visas for stays of less than 30 days.

Tour program:

Turkish Airlines flight TK 368 departing from Istanbul IST and arriving in Tashkent at 07:25 (or on another company).

Arrival in Tashkent at 7:25 in the morning. Welcome. Breakfast. (8.30–12.30) Morning visit to the Tashkent Botanical Garden.
Birds to discover White-winged Woodpecker, Wood Dove, Turkestan tit, and Shikra.
Continue your tour of the State Museum of Nature and Birds, which has an exhibit dedicated to ornithology and ecology that showcases a number of cultivated species. Lunch. City tour. The capital of Uzbekistan, Tashkent, is a remarkable blend of tradition and modernity and is currently one of Central Asia’s major crossroads.
Tranfer to Tashkent Central train station. Departure on high-speed train Afrosiob to Bukhara around 18^45 in the evening. Dinner on the train (lunch box). 22:35 Arrival in Bukhara. Hotel transfer. Overnight.

Bukhara old town city tour. The magnificent Bukhara is one of Central Asia’s oldest cities. An important commercial and spiritual hub that hasn’t changed over the years. Visit the Poi-Kalon complex, the Ark castle, and the Bolo Khauz mosque in the city’s core district of Chakhristan. Take a stroll around the Samanid Park, which is home to the mazar Chashma Ayub and the Ismail Samani tomb. Visits to the madrassahs of Oulougbeg and Abdulazizkhan. traverse the market domes on foot. Visit to the Labi Khauz ensemble and the Magokki Attori mosque. Lunch. Dinner is not included. Overnight.

Early morning departure to Lake Tudakul. Birdwatching near the lake. Then drive to Ecocentre Jeyran with some birdwatching along the way. Ekotsentr Jeyran, a breeding facility for endangered animals, was founded in 1977. It sits 42 kilometers from the city of Bukhara in the southwest corner of the Kyzylkum Desert and is designated as a protected natural area. The reproduction of endangered species and wise use of population resources, as well as study into the biology of desert species and ecotourism, are the eco-center’s core tasks. Lunch box.
Birds to discover: Ferrugineus duck, Marbled Teal, Black-belled Sungrouse, Glossy Ibis, Little Owl, Caspian Tern, Caspian Gull
Return to Bukhara. Visits to Sitorai Mohi Khossa, the summer residence of the previous emir of Bukhara, as well as Fayzulla Khodjaev’s home. Tchor Minor medrasah. Free meal. Overnight.

Early in the morning, depart for Gazli. After that, you go on narrow roads into Kizilkum’s arid steppe. You drive fifty kilometers across a range of habitats early this morning in the Kizilkum desert, increasing your chances of seeing stunning bird and mammal species along the way. Picnic for lunch.
Birds to discover Panderi’s ground Jay, Street Scrub Warbler, Desert Warbler, and Grey Shrike.
Afternoon return to Bukhara.

Departure to Nurata. Visit the family pottery studio in Gijduvan. Stop to see the Sardoba water reservoir and the relics of the historic Rabati-Malik caravanserai. Arrival in Nurata. Tour of the city that includes a mosque, a holy spring, and the remains of a former Sogdian castle. A typical chaykhana for lunch (cafe). Arrival at the yurt camp next to Lake Aydar Kul in the afternoon. You will eventually arrive to the lake’s edge, where you may see birds.
Birds to discover : Along the lake’s banks, it is possible to witness various migratory bird species in addition to unique aquatic birds.
West of the Kyzyl Kum desert, in a sandy area with abundant vegetation. It is the play area for a variety of animals, including many lizards and dung beetles. Gerbils and ascalaphs are quite visible in the right habitats. re-enter the camp. Dinner. Folk show around a campfire with Kazakh musician. In the yurt at night (4 to 6 people per yurt).
There are roughly fifteen yurts in the site. There isn’t a single yurt. There will be room for 4 to 6 persons each yurt. The camp features four showers, one European restroom, and four “Uzbek” restrooms. The bed is made up with bedding (mattresses, blankets, and sheets). Local cuisine is offered during dinner (mutton or beef with rice, pasta and vegetables).

Depart very early to reach the shores of Lake Aydarkul 10 km away, a nature reserve where you can familiarize yourself with the multicolored birds that inhabit the red sand desert and have the chance to observe a large number of birds. Picnic breakfast. Walking and swimming are possible. Lunch by the lake.
Birds to discover: Paradise Flycatcher, Lammigauer, Black Vulture, Griffon Vulture
You will continue traveling in the afternoon to the village of Uhum, where Tajiks reside in stone homes along the river that are shaded by 300-year-old walnut trees. Check-in. Meeting your hosts and the villagers’ residents. Leaving for the natural park to observe birds. Dinner and overnight.
Common shower room and toilet.

Early in the morning, departure for Samarkand. Stops along the way where you might find a specific quantity of birds. Arrival in Samarkand. Lunch at the guest house (included). Free afternoon. Overnight.

Early morning departure for the nearby Zaravshan National Park, for birdwatching.
Birds to discover: Turtle dove, Shikra, Night Heron, White-winged Woodpecker, Phasiant, Bukhara Deer
Return to Samarkand. The Gur-Emir Mausoleum from the fifteenth century. The Registan, the formal seat of the Timurid Empire, is the largest complex in Central Asia and is home to Tamerlane and his ancestors’ tombs. Visit the Bibi-Khanym mosque, which is devoted to Tamerlane’s wife, and the Siab market, which is one of the city’s liveliest areas. The Ulugbeg Observatory was established in the 15th century by Ouloug Beg (Tamerlane’s great-grandson), and it was the first observatory in the East. Afrosiab archaeological site panorama, museum visit, and Shakhi Zinda necropolis tour (XI-XIX). Lunch. Overnight.

Early departure for the Takhta Karatcha pass (50 km). Bird watching, with the chance of griffon vultures and black vultures.
Birds to discover: Eastern Rock nuttach, Hume’s Lark, Irania.
Departure for Zaamin. Lunch on the road. The route runs along the foot of the Nuratau ridge towards the regional center of Jizzakh and then the foothills of the Turkestan range towards Zaamin. A few stops en route where you will have the chance to discover a certain number of birds. Then we go back to Zaamin National Park. The park was established in 1976 to protect the unique juniper forests of the Turkestan mountain ranges. Dinner and accommodation in the park.

Early departure for the ornithological excursion to the Zamine National Park, located in the foothills of the Pamir-Alay Mountains, which reach a height of 4,000 meters, on the northern slope of Mount Turkestan’s western portion. Along the little rivers, there are canyons and waterfalls.
Birds to discover: Rock Bunting, White-capped Bunting, Hume’s Whitethroat, and Paradise Flycatcher.

Return to Tashkent in the afternoon enjoying a mountain panorama with photo stops on the road. Lunch in a roadside restaurant. A few possible stops on the way to familiarize yourself with the landscape and the birds.
Gala dinner (drinks included). Overnight.

Breakfast. Transfer to Tashkent International airport. Departure from Tashkent. End of the trip.
Note: The program is provided only for informational purposes. The stages may alter for administrative purposes, unanticipated changes to flight schedules, etc.

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