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Sekizyap - Bakcha Horse Trek

7-day ride in the Kopetdag mountains on Akhal Teke Horses

Turkmenistan's horses are some of the most elegant creatures on the planet and have claimed their fame throughout Asian history. The experience of riding these beautiful hot-blooded animals in their native setting of endless plains and valleys is something no visitor of Central Asia should give a miss.

Our intensive 7-day riding itinerary is suitable for both advanced riders as well as horse-lovers with limited experience making most of your riding time spent in Turkmenistan. We have chosen the location in the Kopetdag Mountains some 80 km west of Ashgabat for the beauty of its vast countryside and the excellent and diverse riding possibilities on the plateaus and the gorges of the two valleys. Changing our camp once and a daylong trekking break will help make this active trip even more interesting. The programme has been adapted to the needs of demanding riders, the possibilities of terrain and horses and to the heat in the southernmost Central Asian country.

Day 1
Drive from Ashgabat to Sekizyap Horse Camp

Your first horse camp is located in the Sekizyap Valley some 60 km west of Ashgabat in the Kopetdag Mountain range. Leaving in the morning from your Hotel in Ashgabat by 4WD van the drive takes us through the outskirts of the city and along the foothills of the mountains and detouring into Firuza Gorge, a fascinating landscape with cliffs climbing up some 200 m into the sky. We continue through the picturesque river valleys of Chuli towards Geokdepe with the blue dome of its magnificent Mosque. After a further 10 km we enter the dusty tracks of the valleys above Geokdepe where after a further 1½ hour car-ride we will arrive at our horse camp Karagachi at the Sekizyap river. On this first day we will take time to become acquainted with the personnel and the horses and settle in at our camp at the cool stream.

Day 2
30 km ride along the foothills of Dushak

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 return before noon. This will give us a good 6 hours riding time every day and time to rest by the river in the hot hours of the day. In the first morning in the camp we take off on a circular ride onto the Aksu Plateau stretching along the northern foothills of the Dushak mountain, the highest peak in the area. Along the 25-30 km trek we have opportunities for both trot and gallop returning to the camp through one of the picturesque canyons typical for the area. Most of the horses we use are purebred Akhal Teke and Yomud Horses - valued for their endurance and adaptation to the harsh climate in the region. The horses are striking in their beauty, and are very easy to handle even for the inexperienced rider. After lunch and siesta we relax nearby the stream where there is also an excellent possibility for trout fishing.

Day 3
40 km ride across the Western Plain

On the second day on horseback we go into the opposite direction further across the western plateau giving excellent us opportunities for gallops covering some 40 km distance. Like everyday we spend the evening together at the campfire and keep ourselves busy in the afternoon taking care and feeding our horses and helping with the work in the camp.

Day 4
15 km hike to Sekizyap Waterfalls through Bilik Gorge

The next day we let the horses relax and explore the Bilki Canyon along the Sekizyap river by foot. The 15 km hike takes us along the picturesque waterfalls and beautiful cliffs of the gorge. Relaxing at the waterfalls we return to our camp in the afternoon.
Day 5 40 km ride to Bakcha River CampAfter packing up on the 5th day we leave Karagachi Camp moving by horse to our second horse camp 40 km west across the plateau at the spring of the Bakcha river. The river forms another beautiful gorge in the Kopetdag mountains. The tents, baggage and provisions are transported to the camp by truck.

Day 6
30 km ride through Kyzyl Kaya Valley

From the Bakcha camp we explore the nearby Kyzyl Kaya Valley and the spectacular landscape surrounding the canyon on a 30 km circular ride. In the evening we have a big farewell dinner.

Day 7
45 km ride through Digermendzhik gorge to Bakharden Underground Lake, return to Ashgabat

On the 7th day we leave the camp at Bakcha river continuing 40km through Digermendzhik Gorge to Bakharden Underground Lake, Kov Ata, with an excellent view of the Karakum desert when descending from the mountains. The underground lake is formed by a hot spring in a cave 60 m below the ground and stretches over several kilometres. Only the first 70 metres are accessible and sufficiently lit and provide the occasion for a dip in the 36°C water before the returning 100 km back to the Capital. We are picked at up by our van and return to Ashgabat in the late afternoon.

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© 2001-2010 STANtours last modified October 28, 2001