The Akhal-Teke horse, a desert purebred for hundreds of years, is quite unlike an Arabian, an English thoroughbred or any other equus: it has enormous stamina (it can cover 125 miles a day for weeks on end) and beauty (a much longer neck than other horses and an iridescent coat). This breed is a Turkmen's most precious possession, but it was almost wiped out under Soviet rule, and only recently has it begun to make a comeback. Few Westerners have ever laid eyes on these marvelous creatures...
Day 1 Home - Ashgabat
Arrival to Ashgabat. First half of the day is free, whereas we take care of your documents. In the afternoon we explore the city, visiting its most interesting monuments and museums. Within this tour you will visit Ten Years of Independence Park, Turkmenbashy Square with marble-faced Ruhyyet Palaceand gold-domed Turkmenbashy Palace. The statue in front of Turkmenistan's Justice Ministry and Supreme Court building is an image of Niyazov's mother, Gurbansoltan Eje, holding the scales of justice in her right hand. You will be also taken to grandious Square of Revival (Galkynysh) - a new administrative, business and cultural center of Ashgabat. Have a stroll along Ylham (Inspiration) Park. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 2 Ashgabat - Geok Tepe stud farm
In the morning we set off to a horse farm in Geok Tepe, which is 45 km away from Ashgabat. We stay in the base camp exploring local area and getting ourselves familiar with Akhal-teke horses, area and first desert safety precautions, which we MUST follow. Geok Tepe fortress (Siege of Geoktepe) that was attacked in December 1880 by 6,000 Russians under General Mikhail Skobelev against 25,000 defenders. The siege of Geok Tepe lasted twenty-three days, after which the city was taken by storm. Around 15,000 Turkmen soldiers and civilians were killed in the fight. Russian casualties were only 398 killed and 669 wounded. Geok Tepe (Gokdepe Mosque) was built to commemorate the defeat and is noted for its mint-turquoise blue coloured roof and white marble structure.
Day 3 Riding day (45 km)
Considering the hot climate both in your own as well as in the interest of the horses we leave the camp in the early morning to reach our next destination before noon. This will give us a good 4/5 hours riding time and time to rest. We ride north to the Karakum desert. Lunch in open area. Continue our trip to the Tummekli village. Overnight at the shepherd's.
Day 4 Riding
Ride back Karakum desert. Lunch and after relaxing and having a lunch we will continue our riding tour to the horse farm. After arriving at the national yurts we will have dinner. Taste a national dish Tamdyrlama (ship meat). Overnight in a national yurt at the horse farm.
Day 5 Farm - Kow Ata Lake - Geok Tepe - Ashgabad
Drive to Ashgabat visiting en route the Goek Tepe mosque and Kow-Ata underground lake which is located 90 km from Ashgabat. The Turkmen name Kow-Ata means "father of caves". At first glance, this underground area appears like a magnificent auditorium: the overall length of the cave is 230 m, its height reaches 20 m, and its width is at some points 57 m. The bottom of the cave is covered with lumps of dissolved limestone (stalagmites), and its warm and gushing water is clear and emerald colored. The water has a constant temperature of 33-37°C. En-route to Ashgabat you can visit one of the biggest mosque in Central Asia - Saparmyrat Hajy Mosque. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 6 Ashgabad - Nisa - Ashgabad
Breakfast. Explore famous Ashgabad Talkuchka Bazaar. The sight of withered men haggling for shaggy sheepskin hats, a braying camel suspended in midair by a crane or a sheep being driven away in a sidecar are a few of the oddities you can expect from the Tolkuchka Bazaar, one of Central Asia’s most spectacular sights.
After you will be taken for an excursion outside Ashgabat (15km west of capital) to visit Nissa fortress: the Parthian site of Old Nisa, known as Konye Nusay in Turkmen. Old Nisa has a striking geographical location, on top of a small hill on the southeast side of the village, offering splendid views towards the Kopet Dag Mountains to the south. On the way back pay a visit to The National Museum in Berzengi that contains the major treasures discovered from all over the country. The most interesting expositions are represented in archeology and ethnography departments. Overnight
Day 7 Ashgabad - Darwaza crater
Breakfast. Free time for shopping. After lunch we will drive through one of the biggest sand deserts in the world - Karakum desert to visit the Darwaza gas crater. The crater is roughly circular in plan, some 60m in diameter. Its floor crackles with hundreds of small fires, the flames fiercest around the edge. A stay overnight could be arranged here or in a nearby town, or drive back all the way to Ashgabat and stay overnight there.
Day 8 Darwaza crater - Ashgabad -
Farewell with tourists and Transfer to the airport.
|1||Arrival to Ashgabat.|
|2||In the morning we set off to a horse farm in Geok Tepe, which is 45 km away from Ashgabat|
|5||Drive to Ashgabat visiting en route the Goek Tepe mosque and Kow-Ata underground lake|
Included into the price program:
- Visa support letter, entry travel pass, registration
- Overland transport as per program (4x4 jeep + truck for luggage)
- Horses - Ahal Teke breed
- Local horse-riding escort from stables
- Guide-translator from travel company
- Entrance fee to the program
- Accommodation in dbl/twin shared room, in yurts at the horse stables, and camping in tents during days on horseback
- Drinking water and water to wash up during camping days
Meals: 1,5,6 days BB; 2,3,4 days FB.
Accommodation: 1,5,6 days Hotel BB, 2,3,4 days camps
Entrance fee ( Kow Ata, Nisa, National museum)
This horseback tour is meant for people who have some experience in horseback riding in an outdoor environment. Although the route is not technically complicated and will take you through mostly flat desert terrain, the tour requires some endurance levels. If you are interested in a similar tour but of shorter duration, please contact us directly.
On the first day at the stables a local member of staff will ensure that you will get acquainted with the specific character of the Ahalteke horses and assist in selecting a horse that fits your actual skills and wishes. This day is not meant you provide you with sufficient horse riding skills required to make your tour a pleasant experience.
During the tour you will be accompanied by a member of the local stable personnel on horseback, who is a skilled and experienced Ahalteke horse rider. A guide (proficient in foreign language) will accompany the tour at short distance by vehicle.
The vehicle(s) will also provide transport for your personal belongings, overnight gear, water, and food items. You will need to bring your own horse riding gear, such as cap, boots, gloves, and a sleeping bag. It is important that you arrange at home the relevant insurance policy that covers this type of extreme sports vacation.
We will need at least 6 weeks advance notice in order for the stables to confirm the availability of sufficient number of horses for the period you request the tour. A prepayment of 100% of the tour price at this time is therefore required.
Always wanted to ride an Ahalteke horse? We can arrange one-hour, half-day, one-day and multiple-day horseback riding trips for you. The below sample tour is for riders with a fair amount of riding experience: during this tour you will be accompanied by experienced stable staff and guides (proficient in foreign languages) and stay overnight in tents or yurts. You can adapt this tour to your own wishes and possibilities: while the base camp remains the horse farm in Geok Depe, you can extend or shorten the program.
The last week of April is dedicated to the Turkmen Race Horse. During this week several horse competitions take place that culminate in the selection of the Horse of the Year, on the last Sunday of the month of April. Next to this annual event, there are horse races in the National Hippodrome, every Sunday in spring and autumn. Please contact us for more exact information about events.