Group size: 6-8 + 1 guide
Guide: Lucie Vonásková
Difficulty: medium, outdoor
Participation fee: 900 USD
Registration deadline: registrations are opened until August 31, 2023
Equestrian expedition to Uzbekistan (international/advanced riders group)
Do you want to experience the feeling of endless freedom, galloping on a horse in the vast Uzbek steppe? Do you want to spend the whole day in the saddle of a horse, riding through unknown villages with yurts and talking to the local people in their language? Do you want to forget your everyday life for a while? We can reach the happiness in our lives, it lies at our fingertips. Let’s open ourselves to the wisdom of nomads. Go with us to the lands of nomads on a horse expedition for advanced riders and experience the true freedom of life for yourself.
On this expedition we will experience:
- For nine days, we will spend five to six hours a day in the saddle of a horse in the iconic nature of Uzbekistan in the Nurota Mountains. Expect trekking through mountains, galloping through valleys, crossing rivers, passing through deserts and swimming in clear mountain springs. Endless views await us from the mountaintops on the steppe in northern Uzbekistan. We will experience steep passes, over which the local horses will carry us brilliantly with their sure legs.
- A romantic Uzbek village culture is waiting for us, which is characterized by friendly conversations over tea and food. We are looking forward to endless sitting with local people on the terrace in front of their houses. We will eat typical village dishes prepared by local women for their families. We will experience everyday village life, play local games with the children and learn how to milk horses and the detailed production of kumys (a traditional fermented alcoholic drink made from horse milk).
- We will discover the beautiful cities of Bukhara and Samarkand, which, thanks to their location on the ancient Silk Road, are unique in the world. We will admire the Islamic architecture of mosques and mausoleums as well as the Stalinist brutalism of modern buildings.
If we feel like it and time allows, we will also undertake some of the secondary points.
- Visit to the city of Shahrisabz and its UNESCO-listed center
- Visit to a stud farm (Karabair horse, Akhaltekin horse – Samarkand, Tashkent)
- A visit to the kok-par (buzkashi) horse game – only if there is a scheduled kok-par during the expedition dates. The dates of the autumn season will be announced before departure.
- Visit to the animal market (livestock bazaar)
Guide services (i.e. your participation in the expedition) are included in the price of the expedition. Other types of travel services will be arranged on site according to the needs of the expedition participants. Individual expenses will be paid by the participants themselves, therefore we list their usual prices and estimated amounts below.
The rental of horses for ten days will cost approximately 350 USD for the rental of one horse, including complete equipment. We will specify the amount before the binding registration.
We will usually live in homestays, on a bed or on a carpet, the price of which will be in the range of 15-35 USD per night.
The total cost of accommodation (including any meals) should not exceed USD 300 during the horse ride and USD 150 before/after the horse ride.
Uzbekistan has, without exaggeration, the tastiest cuisine in all of Central Asia. The basis of the day is a rich breakfast, which usually consists of black tea, bread, eggs, biscuits and lots of fresh fruit. A very popular lunch is shashlik, homemade meat grilled over special aromatic smoke. Shashliks can be found in variants of minced or variously pickled pieces of meat. The most common is beef, lamb, chicken or duck shashlik.
The national dish is plov, which is long stewed meat on juicy rice, supplemented with a local selection of spices, colorful carrots and sweet garlic. Local cuisine is especially suitable for lovers of non-spicy food. For a quick snack, the most common food is samsa, which is a puff pastry bag filled with meat, potatoes, cheese or pumpkin. In the villages we will also have the opportunity to taste the local selection of fresh vegetable salads and desserts and an endless amount of pickled vegetables.
In terms of price, food is relatively cheap. According to individual dining preferences, a meal for one day can cost from approx. 9 USD to approx. 22 USD.
Approximate food prices:
dinner in a cheaper restaurant – 6 USD
beer – 2 USD
bread – 0.5 USD
water 1.5 l – 0.5 USD
cola 0.33 l – 0.7 USD
We estimate the total cost of meals at 70 USD. Each participant must individually increase this amount by alcoholic beverages.
Buying an international ticket to Uzbekistan is an individual matter for each participant. The participant’s obligation is to arrive in Tashkent no later than on the day of the start of the expedition.
Local transport costs should not exceed 90 USD.
Entrance fees to monuments and museums – max. 50 USD.
The weather is continental with large differences between day and night and between seasons. In October, the average temperature will be a pleasant 25 degrees Celsius, with possible fluctuations from 15 to 35 degrees Celsius.
The exact date of the expedition will be determined according to the preferences of the participants, see below. It is advisable to be flexible in this regard. The duration of the expedition is 14 days.
The expedition is planned for advanced riders, the level of difficulty corresponds to this. We will ride for around five hours a day in the saddle of a horse and we need to be prepared for the fact that sometimes we walk a few kilometers if the terrain is too demanding for the horses. Also, we will walk around the historical centers of cities and monuments. If you haven’t ridden a horse for a long time, I recommend getting back into „riding condition“ before the expedition so that your muscles don’t ache after several hours in the saddle.
Another thing to be prepared for are common Turkish toilets, which can be ugly, so don’t expect any luxury from them. Some days there won’t be a possibility to shower, maybe even several days in a row, not every accommodation has hot water. We will also experience several hours long car crossings and a sleeper train crossing.
Due to the transportation of things on horseback in horse saddlebags, the expedition is more demanding in terms of the practical logistics of packing into a rucksack – too many personal belongings will be limited by the size of your saddlebags. So I recommend packing really minimalistic. On the expedition, everyone carries their belongings on their horse. If someone would like their own pack horse, they can of course pay for it individually (and then take care of it completely, you will simply have two horses instead of one). We will discuss the specific list of things to take with us together as a group before departure.
Uzbekistan is a very safe country, so there is nothing to worry about, even as a female traveler. There are no official restrictive rules. However, we recommend following some basic local etiquette and dress code.
Recommended clothing includes long sleeves, long pants. The locals then feel better in our presence and, in addition, our clothes protect us from the sun and branches. This applies to both men and women. Drinking alcohol in public is not recommended outside of big cities.
To enter Uzbekistan, it may be necessary to arrange a visa or e-visa. Each participant is obliged to purchase it at their own expense before the start of the expedition, although we can help with its handling. The need for a visa can be verified at: https://e-visa.gov.uz
It is recommended to have the basic travel minimum for Uzbekistan, i.e. vaccination against jaundice type A and B, against typhoid and against tetanus. Please always consult your local doctor or a specialized travel medicine center about your specific situation.
We can each buy a local SIM card with data. A SIM card with 3 GB of data costs about 3 USD and 8 GB of data about 4 USD. However, there will be good mobile data signal coverage only in big cities, outside big cities the signal will be weak. We will be in places without a signal for a few days. The guide takes with her a satellite GPS locator, intended for use in emergency situations.
We organize the expedition exclusively for advanced riders, so we will spend most of the day with the horses and ride in all gaits. The guide Lucka is fluent in Uzbek, Russian and English, which will allow us to chat with the local horsemen and get an authentic experience of the local lifestyle. Unlike other surrounding countries, horse tourism is not very widespread in Uzbekistan, so an expedition to Uzbekistan will be a real and unique horse adventure.
Czech travel agency Zirhamia and its guides have been organizing expeditions all over the world to Czech and Slovak clients since 2013. This expedition is however designed for the international community only. Given the fact that our website is not yet fully translated to English, please note this page for any future reference:
You can use online Google translator to get more information about us.
We estimate that your total cost of this expedition without international airfare will come in at $2,200. Then it’s up to you how much you spend on souvenirs and possibly other „comfort-enhancing“ items that can increase the budget.
How do we organize an expedition?
If you are really interested in traveling with us, then at the top of this page you will find the green „Sign up without obligation“ button, with which you can sign up to participate in the expedition without obligation. Based on the non-binding application, we will add you to the list of interested participant and the guide will contact you immediately by e-mail. Then you will find out what organizational stage the expedition is in, either:
- a) non-binding applications are currently being collected
b) we are already organizing the expedition, but we still have a place for you
c) the expedition is full, but you can be a substitute for a participant.
As soon as we have enough non-binding applications, we proceed with the organization of the expedition and ask the participants by e-mail whether their non-binding application is still up to date and whether they want to join the expedition. Next, the organizational round starts and that is the collection of advance payments for guide services (i.e. participation in the expedition) and the determination of the exact date of the expedition while checking availability of international flight tickets from clients departure airport). Before the expedition takes place all participants will receive all essential information as part of the preparation, especially regarding visas, vaccinations, money, travel insurance, recommended list of things to pack, etc. The guide actively communicates with all participants either by email or by phone.