STANTOURS Turkmenistan Adventure Trips
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Extreme & Expedition

Unforgettable Adventure

The deserts and mountains of Turkmenistan are full of challenges for the adventurous and active.

Be it a canter on the beautiful Akhal Teke horses through the gorges of the Sekizyap or Firuza valleys or a gallop across the grassland of the foothills of the Kopetdag Mountains, the country is almost too vast to cover. Join us on a 4WD Off-Road adventure crossing Karakum Desert where few have ever ventured before or come out on a real Camel Caravan through endless steppes of the Akkyr and Kaplankyr Plateaus. Come snorkelling and fishing on the islands off the Caspian shore and swim with Caspian Seals. Set records soaring the blue skies of a paragliding paradise and cycle & climb along the amazing mountain routes of the Kopetdag Mountains.
Karakum Desert
Sample itineraries
  Nokhur - Karakala Cyclo-Expedition
  Kaplankyr - Camel Trek & Trekking
  Central Karakum Desert & Merv / Margush - Off-Road Adventure
  Cross Karakum Raid
  The Northwest Trek - Off Road
The Northwest Trek - Off Road

This unique off-road adventure connecting Khorezm to the Caspian Sea along time-honoured salt caravan trails is a challenging route for the adventurous traveller. With no settlements along the first 300 km of the difficult trek, guided by GPS systems we start from Kunya-Urgench's southernmost monument, the Shasenem fortress. Here we enter the Sarakamysh depression passing around the large lake with its unique wildlife, which due to its inaccessibility makes it the "Serengeti of Turkmenistan". We further journey along the edge of the Karakum desert into the vicinity of the remote Kaplankyr Reserve, the 'Plateau of the Tiger'. The dazzling Karashor Salt Marsh borders this vast area of white ravines, cliffs and endless steppe with its 250 m white rock face stretching far into the horizon. Crossing the challenging Kumsepishen desert we reach the first remote Yomud tribe village with its large camel herds. The trek further continues across the fascinating red and orange-coloured Yangysu canyon on the shore of the Karabogaz Basin, a large gulf of the Caspian before we reach our destination and the cool waters of the Sea.

Starting from the port Turkmenbashi or Kunya Urgench, to make this exciting crossing and to see some of the beautiful landscape you need a minimum of 4 days by 4WD.

Kaplankyr - Camel Caravan & Trekking

Kaplankyr, or the Tiger Plateau, has the most beautiful canyoning and trekking opportunities in Turkmenistan. The spectacular ravines of Yangykala and Yangusu are relatively easy to access, while further canyons inhabited by populations of Urial mountain sheep must be visited on longer off-road treks with professional guides across the amazing plateaus and canyons of this immense area. The Karabogaz Gulf - an enormous sea basin, stretches to the north and west of the region. Join a Camel Caravan crossing the green steppes of the plateau populated with its huge dromedary herds, or go wildlife watching in the gorges where Saiga antilopes and gazelles come to drink. Come and feel the thrill of driving through the dunes of the Black Desert.

The Canyons of Kaplankyr and Akkyr Plateaus are a one-day drive from Ashgabat or ½ day drive from Turkmenbashi. You need at least 2-3 days to see some of this striking countryside and wildlife on off-road trips covering serious distances. Only Yangykala canyon can be visited by non-4WD year-round, road conditions permitting.

Damla Oasis

The Damla Oasis is one of the furthest Yomud and Teke tribe oases in the heart of the Karakum desert. Far off the main road, flat roof villages and yurts found in almost every household characterize this breathtaking place. You can witness simple and beautiful nomadic traditions, throwing the rare visitor back in time. In order to reach the small settlement one has to cross into the Northern Karakum and traverse the Uzboy - the former riverbed of the Amudarya River. The demanding track across the dunes and salt marshes is a challenge for even the most experienced driver with a refreshing stop at the Bekuri Oasis halfway. This venture gives the Silk Road explorer a genuine impression of what travel and life in the desert has always meant its nomadic inhabitants.

Damla is some 4 hours off-road from the main Ashgabat-Dashogus highway and can be visited on a two-day trek from Ashgabat spending the night in tents or with the nomad families.
© 2001-2010 STANtours last modified October 8, 2001