The Silk Road, Samarkand and Bukhara – names
that conjure up images of fierce Mongol hordes storming out of the
east and of dusty camel trains and crowded bazaars where exotic
jewels and oriental spaces were traded by travelers from far – off
lands. Stretching from the Caspian Sea to the Tien Shan mountains
the Central Asian states of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan
are indeed richly endowed with history and culture, a flavor of
which we will sample on this exciting tour. The varied traditions
and customs of this fascinating region are matched by a wide variety
of habitats. We will follow the rout of ancient Silk Road from the
drifting sand dunes of the Kara Kum desert, where we are sure to
see Pander’s Ground Jay, one of the region’s really special birds,
to the dramatic splendour of the snow-capped Tien Shan mouintains,
home to Himalayan Snowcock and Guldenstadt’s Redstart. Then on the
enormous skies and wormwood – scented breezes of the Kazakhstan
steppes, alive with White – winged and Black Larks, and ancient
woodlands where Yellow – eyed Stock Doves and White – winged Woodpeckers
still breed. Although this region has region has developed substantially
since the break – up of the old Soviet Union, it is still almost
completely overlooked by Western birdwatchers. This is a great pity
as , full of species guaranteed to fire the imagination and possessing
a unique cultural heritage , it is sure to present a truly unique
||Arrive Almaty. Transfer to Hotel.
||Drive up to Tien Shan Forest near Almaty. Night
in the Observatory.
||Flight to Astana. Birding in steppe.
Two nights in Astana.
||Flight back to Almaty. Drive to Taukum Desert.
Overnight in desert camp.
||Drive back to Almaty. Visit to Sorbulak Lake.
Night in Almaty.
||Drive east from Almaty. Charyn Canyon. Night at
Ash Tree Grove Lodge.
||Return to Almaty. Tien Shan mountains.Nights in
||Fly to Tashkent. Drive to Samarkand. Radial birding.
Two nights in Samarkand.
||Drive to Bukhara along the Silk Road.
Radial birding. Two nights in Bukhara.
|| Continue birding in the morning. Evening flight
back to Tashkent, and connect with a flight to London.