and Birds of Central Asia
06 – 19, 2015
is located in the central part of Central Asia and represents one of
the most interesting mountain areas of our planet, the Central
Tien-Shan Mountains, located on the northern flanks of the Himalaya
mountain range. Some of its mountains reach over 7000 meters (Pobeda
7439m) at the north-eastern edge of the country and belong to the
highest of the world. During this trip we will make a tour around
some of its most fantastic nature reserves coming across many
dazzling plants and other wildlife. This trip is assured for
fantastic mountain scenery, an overwhelming flora, splendid birding,
and large numbers of butterflies all in the kingdom of one of the
most endangered animals on this plant, the Snow Leopard. Not
unimportantly this tour offers fantastic opportunities for
flora & fauna in this part of the world is a true gem and during
this tour we hope to come across apart from a large list of more
typically European species also a stunning list of very special
wildlife largely confined to Central Asia. Angelica archangelica,
Angelica brevicaulis, Eryngium bungei, Ferula tenuisecta, Achillea
filipendulina, Aster alpinus, Centaurea turkestanica, Cousinia
fetisowii, Hieracium aurantiacum, Inula macrophylla, Leontopodium
fedtschenkoanum, Leontopodium ochroleucum, Ligularia macrophylla,
Ligularia thomsonii, Saussurea elegans, Saussurea gnapthallodes,
Tragopogon dubius, Taraxacum lilacinum, Impatiens parviflora,
Eritrichium villosum, Heliotropum rotundifolium, Lindelofia
macrostyla, Lindelofia stylosa, Chorispora bungeana, Chorispora
macropoda, Chorispora songarica, Desideria flabellata, Draba oreades,
Erysimum humillimum, Campanula glomerata, Codonopsis clematidea,
Lonicera semenovii, Lonicera tartarica, Cerastium lithospermifolium,
Dianthus crinitus, Orostachys thyrsiflora, Pseudosedum longidentatum,
Rhodiola litwinowii, Orthilia secunda, Pyrola rotundifolia,
Astragalus sieversianus, Hedysarum chaitocarpum, Hedysarum neglectum,
Lathyrus gmelinii, Oxytropis chionobia, Thermopsis turkestanica,
Gentiana olivieri, Geranium collinum, Dracocephalum integrifolium,
Corydalis fedtschenkoana, Primula minkwittsiae, Clematis songarica,
Ranunculus albertii, Trollius altaicus, Trollius dzungaricus, Allium
ambylophyllum and the lovely Eremurus sogdianus.
to mention some very interesting mammals and reptiles! Nature
enthusiasts have been enjoying this stable country and their
fantastic flora and fauna rather little which is quite surprising
when having such a great natural environment on the doorstep of
Europe! RBT operated its first and highly successful tour in
2007 and since we established ourselves as the main ground operator
of several of the largest tour companies in the world. We are sure
that participants will be delighted with this extraordinary Central
06, Days 1: To Osh
depart from home towards one of the largest cities of Kyrgyzstan,
Osh. Clients need to be in the hotel in Osh before June 07 - 10am. We
schedule for this time the introductory meeting with your tourleader
in our hotel in Osh. This will give your leader the chance to
introduce you with your fellow participants, give you the latest
information on this trip and to tell you more about the daily
routines. If you like to come in earlier please contact the RBT
office which will gladly help with extra hotel bookings?
Day 1, on aircraft.
07, Day 2: Taldyk Pass
arrival on OshAirport we depart for our hotel in the city. As arrival
is presumably early in the night, we have a rest, in our comfortable
hotel, before starting the day program. After a large breakfast we
depart for the gorgeous TaldykPass which has an elevation of 3615m.
Unlike neighboring Kazakhstan it is easy to explore many high passes
by road in Kyrgyzstan. We’ll drive steadily uphill, passing the
magnificent pink spires of Eremurus
amidst yellow roses, and will soon find ourselves above 3000m as we
approach the mountain pass east of the town. Himalayan Griffons,
Lammergeyer and Alpine Choughs patrol the skies and feel home in this
desolate landscape. We’ll find the lovely reddish decorate bells
the pass itself we will explore the area and hope to findPulsatilla
the little annualGentiana
In the evening we return to our hotel.
Comfortable tourist hotel, Osh.
08-09, Day 3-4: Dashman Forest Reserve ‘walnut forest’
depart from Osh and set sails for the village of Arslanbob which is
near the Dashman Forest Reserve where we find the largest walnut
forest in the world. The walnut Juglans
native to a wide region in Central Asia and we will have one full day
to explore this magnificent reserve. During our drive to this
wonderful place we stop to photograph the abundant Salvia
well as Achillea
Soon we rise into increasingly wooded foothills with orchards and
lovely cute farms. Drifts of Balsams, Buttercups and tall Ligularia
a fine sight under the trees. Not only plants do well here, we also
come across many colorful birds such as Red-headed Buntings,
Rose-colored Starlings and European Rollers. In the nearby river we
find Brown Dipper and Blue-whistling Thrushes.
Family run guesthouse, Arslanbob.
10, Day 5: Arslanbob
route to Sary-Chelek takes us through steppe dotted
a plant that attracts abundant butterflies, and the striking
great balls of yellow flowers.When we drive into the hot lowlands we
see many patches of Eremurus
tianshanicus and sogdianus. Also
we cross paths with Perovskia
scrophulariifolia and Ostrovskia
Bee-eaters and Hoopoes are really common in this dry semi-desert
habitat. In the evening we start driving up into tgreen forested
hills and clear rivers. We arrive at our guesthouse where we will
stay for 2 nights.
Family run guesthouse, Sary-Chelek.
11, Day 6: Lake Sary-Chelek
a wonderful day lies in front of us with a full day exploring the
delightful mountain lake of Sary-Chelek. Sary-Chelek is undoubtedly
one of the most beautiful landscapes in Central Asia. An idyllic lake
surrounded by stunning mountains in lavish scenery. We start with a
steep drive up bringing us to the lake where we first see patches of
dolichorrhiza and Dactylorhiza
not uncommon at all for which we take time photographing. Drier
slopes have some fine pale yellow Cousinia
Incredibly lush meadows are full of pink, white and blue Alliums.
From the evergreen forests we hear the sounds of Greenish and Hume’s
Warblers. Siberian Stonechat’s vie for our attention while singing
in the afternoon sun. We return back to our cozy guesthouse where a
tasty dinner awaits us.
Family run guesthouse, Sary-Chelek.
12, Day 7: Sary-Chelek
Suusamyr valley is a high steppe plateau at an altitude of 2200m
which will be our destination for the day. We leave Sary-Chelek in
the morning and drive through steadily uphill passing scatteredEremus
the striking golden heads of Eremostachys
The steppe is vibrant with massed orange Trollius
vast carpets of Primula
GuesthouseBay Tur, Suusamyr.
13, Day 8: Suusamyr
breakfast we’ll set of in eastern direction across the expansive
steppes where we admire clumps of deep purple red Lindelofia
extensive stands of Ligularia
We stop a couple of times to admire white flowered Clematis
deep purple Dodartia
We find along the way more Red-headed Buntings, Hoopoes and even a
Sykes’ Warbler is a possibility. Today is mainly a day of transport
taking us to the east of the country.
Guesthouse Kochkor, Kochkor.
14, Day 9: Kochkor
end destination is one of the most favorite parts of Central Asia of
your guide who travels and lives in this part of the world for 10
years. He describes the SonKolLake is ‘heaven on earth’ and is a
must do visit to anybody visiting Kyrgyzstan or Asia for that matter.
From Kochkor we drive through gorgeous green valleys up towards
SonKolLake which is located on an altitude of 3016m. We find
ourselves between large amounts of calcarata Citrine Wagtails, a
black backed form of this stunning looking bird, which find food
between grazing yaks. We find thousands of darkest redAllium
well as hundreds of Tulipa
white flowered Eritrichium
the pale yellow Chorispora
In the late afternoon we arrive at the lake where we overnight in a
traditional yurt. This felt made tent was the portable dwelling of
the Central Asian nomads in the times when Genghis Khan’s armies
roamed the steppes.
Overnight in Son Kol Yurt camp.
15, Day 10: Son-Kul
the morning we have our last exploration around the SonKolLake – we
say our goodbyes to our hosts at the yurt camp and set sails for our
first looks upon yet another gorgeous Central Asian lake, the
IssykKolLake. This endorheic lake is the tenth largest lake in the
world by volume and the second largest saline lake after the Caspian
Sea. The lake is a Ramsar site of globally significant biodiversity
and forms part of the Issyk-Kul Biosphere Reserve. On our way to
Tamga we visit a very special place called Fairy Tale Canyon which
consists of convoluted multicolored clay hills and inclined strata.
Interesting flowers include Limonium
przewalskii, Lagochilus seversianus
and the dark spikes of parasitic Cynomorium
The birdlife is abundant with phoenicuroides Black
Redstart, Mongolian Desert Finch and Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush to
name a few of the species we might come across. In the evening we
arrive in our lovely guesthouse where we make our daily checklist.
guesthouse Tamga, Tamga.
16, Day 11: Barskoon
& Jeti Oguz
continue our journey today with a drive to the largest town in
eastern Kyrgyzstan, not far from the Chinese border. Many fine blooms
Central Asian Marbled Whites are the first flora and fauna we come
across along the lake. The entire road is along the gorgeous Issyk
Kol Lake from which we say goodbye on two occasions when visiting the
Barskoon Gorge and Jeti Oguz. In the gorge we find many fine stands
nivalisssp farinosa and Desideria
its dense heads of lilac flowers. In the afternoon we visit the
site of Jeti Oguz where the name derives from the rock formation's
resemblance to seven bulls and a legend about a khan's, a Central
Asian Lord, unfaithful wife! This unique geological formation of
sheer cliffs composed of tertiary red conglomerates. The rock
formation is a well-known landmark in Kyrgyzstan and is seen as a
national symbol. On the meadows we find stands ofDictamnus
a few small Allium
We arrive in this former Russian military outpost, now called
Karakol, in the evening.
guesthouse Greenyard, Karakol.
17, Day 12: Chon
we drive up to great heights with an excursion to the Chon Ashuu pass
which is the highest pass we visit during this tour in Kyrgyzstan.
With a dazzling 3822 meters we go today way past the tree line and
look for a rather special set of flora and fauna. On the way up
we drive through meadows full of Veratrum
The nearby wild streaming river holds both White-bellied and Brown
Dipper. Lammergeyers are patrolling the sky. The lush meadows
are home to one of the strangest waders of the world; the elusive
Ibisbill. The higher we go the more increasingly abundant we come
croceum and Geranium
The scree and gravel lovers take over as we gain more height with
the roadside, mixed with Aster
and lovely Corydalis
Rubythroat’s together with Himalayan and Brown Accentor’s are
quite common up here. The gorgeous White-browed Tit Warbler needs
some more time to be found just as his colorful friend the
Güldenstädt’s Redstart! In the evening we return to our
lovely guesthouse in Karakol
guesthouse Greenyard, Karakol.
18, Day 13: Karakol
return back to Bishkek with a long drive along the northern shores of
IssykKolLake. En-route we make a stop at the Burana tower which is
all that remains of the ancient city of Balasagun was established by
the Karakhanids at the end of the 9th century. Colonies of Spanish
Sparrow and Rose-coloured Starlings are common around the tower as
We arrive in the early evening in the capitol of Kyrgyzstan where we
enjoy a feast dinner in a local restaurant.
Comfortable tourist hotel, Bishkek.
19, Day 14: Bishkek
a splendid holiday in Central Asia it is time for us to say goodbye.
We say our farewells on the Bishkek Airport from where we fly back
Machiel Valkenburg &Svetlana Baskakova
The fee for the Kyrgyzstan tour is USD
- per person based on double occupancy from Osh, Kyrgyzstan which
includes meals beginning with breakfast on Day 2 ending with dinner
on Day 13. The fee include lodging as stated in the itinerary, ground
transportation, gratuities, and guide services provided by the tour
leader and local guides. Tour fees do not include airfare from your
home to Osh and return from Bishkek; Medical Evacuation
(required); transfers or accommodation other than those mentioned in
the itinerary; alcoholic beverages; special gratuities; departure
taxes; visa fees; phone calls; laundry; or items of a personal
nature. Rates are based upon group tariffs; if the group does not
have sufficient registration a small party supplement may have to be
The Kyrgyzstan tour will be limited to 15 participants and with a
minimum of 6 participants.