Wildlife Holidays in Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan is a Central Asian country on the “Silk Road,” the ancient overland trading hub between west and east. These days many in Western Europe would struggle to find Uzbekistan on a world map (it lies to the east of the Caspian Sea), and even fewer travel there. But this landlocked country is cradle of culture stretching back two millennia, and its mountains and deserts hold some thrilling wildlife in jaw-dropping settings.

From a cultural point of view, the highlights are the cities of Samarkand and Bukhara, where the mosaic-tiled wonders of Islamic architecture brood under the bright skies. The Kalyan Minaret in Bukhara, built in 1127 and standing 47m tall, is so lovely that even the conqueror Genghis (Chinggis) Khan couldn’t bring himself to destroy it. And this is just one of a treasure trove of architectural marvels in the city. Registan is the stunning Medieval commercial centre of Samarkand, made up of ornate, intricately decorated medrasses, while the beauty of nearby Gur-Emir Mausoleum is said to have inspired India’s Taj Mahal. Outside these centres, the stark desert and grand, chiselled mountains are equally stunning for the visitor.

Naturetrek Tours to Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan is indeed a west-east hub, combining a pleasing mix of species familiar from Europe with those of a more exotic provenance – so, for example, Greenfinches and Spotted Flycatchers live cheek-by-jowl with White-capped Buntings and Rufous-naped Tits. The mountains of Ugam Chatkal National Park boast gems such as Blue Whistling-Thrush, Turkestan Shrike, Lammergeier and Eastern Rock Nuthatch, while the biggest draw of the Kyzyl Kum Desert is the extraordinary, and very localised Pander’s Ground-Jay. There are a range of interesting reptiles (e.g. Agamas) and mammals (e.g. Ground-Squirrels) too.

Some highlights include

  • Vultures and raptors, including Griffon Vulture, Eastern Imperial and Booted Eagle
  • Variety of habitats from desert to reed beds and juniper forests
  • Possibility of Goitered Gazelle and Kulan
  • Explore the towns of the Silk Road

Our Specialist Recommends

"Our spring birding watching tour to Uzbekistan combines birding in the mountains and desert in search of a number of local specialities with some time exploring the culture of the Silk Road cities of Tashkent, Bukhara and Samarkand."

Operations Manager - Alison Steel

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