Style: Camping / Hiking / Wildlife watching
Location: Khuroson region, South Tajikistan
Driving distance: 280 km / 87mi
Tour length: 3 days
1 person – 827$
2 people – 539$ per person
3 people – 455$ per person
4 people – 418$ per person
5 people – 314$ per person
6 people – 280$ per person
Price includes: All meals-2 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 2 dinners | Transportation from and to Dushanbe, including transfer from Garavuti village to Aktau mountains | An English speaking guide | Conservancy rangers services | Camping equipment – tents, utensils, stove, etc. | Camera Traps
WHY IS IT BETTER TO BOOK WITH ANCOT?
- All the tours listed here have been developed exclusively by ANCOT
- Tours listed are built upon many years of experience in wildlife conservation and management
- The pricing policy is established on the priority conservation needs and long-term sustainability of tourism
- If you are looking for a wildlife tour in Tajikistan, book it with professionals, from whom you can learn so much, what you will probably never learn and experience by booking with regular commercial tour operators
- You may find similar wildlife tours with cheaper prices. However, you will not benefit wildlife conservation by using a cheaper way
Wildlife watching (particularly Bukhara Urial), camping near pistachio meadows, stargazing, and breathtaking views of mountains.
Join us to explore the wildlife of beautiful Aktau mountains in search of Bukhara Urial and Striped Hyena. The Aktau mountain range where our “Obi Safed” conservancy is located offers a unique opportunity to see one of the rarest animals in Central Asia. Both Bukhara Urial and Striped Hyenas are listed in Tajikistan’s Red Book and listed in IUCN red list of threatened species as vulnerable species (International Union for Conservation of Nature). Guided by local rangers who know the behavior and the habitat of these species well you will be exploring the gorges and foothills of Aktau mountains. The area is also home to a number of bird species, as well as some truly beautiful juniper and pistachio meadows. The number of Bukhara Urial has significantly decreased in Tajikistan during the ’90s due to excessive poaching and today because of the intensive overgrazing by livestock they are at a risk and Striped Hyena has been poached mercilessly in the past and today they are almost extinct, although their existence is very crucial in maintaining the health of the ecosystem. This tour is conducted by “Obi Safed” conservancy members with the support of the Association of Nature Conservation Organizations of Tajikistan and includes hiking, wildlife watching, and camera trapping, especially for Striped Hyena as this species is primarily nocturnal but camera traps help scientist to monitor the population. All the necessary equipment including binoculars, tents, camera traps is provided.
Association of Nature Conservation Organizations of Tajikistan (ANCOT) supports the conservation of wildlife in areas managed by people from the local communities. These organizations – being it local NGOs or small family businesses – are rooted in the local communities and aim at providing benefits to the whole populations of the areas where they are active. Through the revenues generated from tourism, we motivate these local communities to protect their natural recourses and wildlife. Thus participating in this tour you are contributing to the conservation of endangered wildlife species and their habitats in Tajikistan.
Day 1: Dushanbe – Garavuti village
Elevation gain: 816m / 2677 feet
Distance: 180km / 112 mi
Transfer to Garavuti village in Khuroson district where you will meet the conservancy staff. The road from Dushanbe to Garavuti takes 3 hours. The road goes South through Fakhrobod mountain pass to Uyali town and continues along the Vakhsh river down to Kubodiyon. After meeting with rangers you will drive to one of the gorges of Aktau mountains to search for Striped Hyena traces and set up the camera traps. The areas of your search will vary depending on the season and mainly rangers information. Closer to the evening you will drive to one of the campsites close to the areas of Bukhara Urial and spend the night in tents. Next morning from the good viewpoint we will scan the slopes and search for Bukhara Urial.
Day 2: Wildlife observation in Aktau mountains
Elevation gain: 200m / 656 feet
Distance: 10km / 6,2 mi
Early in the morning, before sunrise, you will start hiking from one viewpoint to another to spot Bukhara Urial and other wildlife of the area while enjoying the sunrise and spectacular mountain views. Later you will hike to one of the places where you spotted the animals to set up camera traps. In each spot that you have installed the camera trap, you will take a GPS waypoint, in order to find and collect the cameras the next day. Today you will have lunch and set up a camp in an amazing juniper meadow with a superb view of Kofarnihon river and Babatag mountain range on the border of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. After lunch, you will spend some time resting and then hike to a nearby gorge for observation and Urial spotting. You will hike back to the camp as the sun will go down giving you an opportunity to take amazing photos. Tonight will be colder because you will be at a higher altitude and if the weather will allow you will sleep under the bright stars.
Day 3: Collecting camera traps and driving back to Dushanbe
Elevation loss: 1016m / 3333mi
Distance: 195km / 121 mi
Today in the morning we will go for observation for the last time before collecting our cam-traps and drive back to Garavuti village. Depending on the time that we will spend collecting the cameras we will arrive in the village at noon or late afternoon where delicious food will be waiting for us at a local conservancy family. After lunch, we will investigate our cameras and hopefully get good photos. We say goodbye to our hosts and rangers for their service and hospitality and drive back to Dushanbe.
- All meals
- Professional and knowledgeable guides will lead the tour.
- Transportation from and to Dushanbe, including transfers from and to the airport
- Conservancy rangers services
- Camping equipment – tents, utensils, stove, etc.
- Other equipment such as camera traps, watching scopes, etc. if outlined in the itinerary
- All accommodation – Hotels, Guesthouses, and homestays
Meals: What To Expect
During the hikes: Most of our hikes include a variety of meals to nourish our bodies with enough carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. We usually have pasta, rice, sausages, cheese, oatmeal, canned lentils and beans, sugar, and bread. We also carry fresh vegetables and can easily accommodate vegetarians.
Additionally, we have snacks such as dried fruits, fresh fruits, chocolate bars, and each break will include hot coffee and tea. We can accommodate people with special dietary needs.
In guesthouses, home-stays, and restaurants (Tajik cuisine):
Tajik cuisine offers a large variety of fruit, meat, and soup dishes. The most popular among them are dishes such as Oshi palov, Kurutob, Shurbo, Laghmon and snacks like Sambusa and Mantu. The national drink is green tea, respectively. Traditional Tajik meal begins with small dishes of dried fruits, jams, and halva, followed by soup and meat, and finished with plov. Tea accompanies every meal and is often served between meals. Besides traditional dishes, most restaurants serve Russian borsh and popular Shashlyks.
Shurbo: boiled meat on the bone with chickpeas, red and green peppers, potatoes, carrots, and onions.
Laghmon: the same with homemade noodles
Oshi Palov: a rice dish made with shredded yellow turnip or carrot and pieces of meat, all fried together in vegetable oil or mutton fat.
Shashlyks: chunks or minced meat on a skewer cooked over an open fire. Vegetarian versions are often available.
What’s Not Included?
- Clothes, raingear, and footwear
- Any other expenses of a personal nature
- Tips (Always optional)
What Gear To Bring
- Personal soap/shampoo
- Personal medicines (especially against diarrhea, altitude sickness, and car sickness), most of the passes on the road are above 3500m
- High protection Sun-screen
- Sun hat
- Strong hiking shoes
- Plastic bottle for water and water purification tablets, if you intend to hike in remote areas
- Camera (Including spare batteries. You won’t believe how many pictures you will be taking and if you don’t have a proper camera you’d wish you had one)
- Trekking poles, if there is trekking involved
- Gifts (People in most of the villages in Tajikistan are among the poorest in the world, however, they will share their last crust with you to offer hospitality. Therefore it will be nice of you to bring gifts like toys and books for the children, winter clothes or cosmetics and chocolates for women and man)
What Clothes To Bring
We will email you what kind of gear to bring depending on the season. Summers are usually warm in central Tajikistan; however, if you are going up to higher altitudes (above 2500m/8200ft) you will need warmer clothing, including a sweater and windproof jacket
Due to its mountainous nature, geographical remoteness, and deteriorated roads, traveling in most parts of Tajikistan involves a lot of driving, especially to the Pamir region. We use services of experienced drivers, who have been driving at least 5 years on such road conditions. In most cases, we use 4wheel drive SUV like the Nissan Patrol and Toyota Land Cruisers. For bigger groups, we may use 4WD Vans. We’ve found that how you get there significantly influences the tone of your journey, and therefore we always make sure that your ride is comfortable with reliable transportation.
Your safety is our top priority. Only trained guides and experienced rangers will accompany you during your hike. All of our rangers and guides are local from the nearby villages, of the respective conservancy. All guides are trained to offer first aid and always carry the necessary first aid kit.
Click on this link to read answers to frequently asked questions