Aficionados of the ‘Great Game’ played out between Imperial Russia and the British, as well as tales of the Silk Road, will know all about the renowned affairs that took place in this fascinating country.
Although 80% of Turkmenistan is desert, its landscapes are quite varied with sub-tropical forest valleys, limestone canyons, karst caves and mountains.
This is a land steeped in history; from the early Bronze Age settlers, to the Mongol Hordes and the arrival of the Turkic tribes. The Turcomans horses are the stuff of legend, as well as traditional carpet making, embroidery and tribal jewellery.
The adventure starts in the capital, Ashgabat, heading out for a swim in an underground lake, before spending the night with a friendly Turcoman family. You will meet locals as you head into the Balkan Mountains, overnight at a Pilgrim’s Guers House, discovering remote canyons along the way.
Next up is a drive to the ‘Turkic Riviera’ and the Caspian Sea. A short flight takes you to Dashoguz to prepare to cross the vast Karakum desert where three nights will be spent camping wild. During the 4WD journey, you will enjoy guided walks, visit desert settlements, see a gas crater and gain a full appreciation of the hostile, barren environment.
Next on the itinerary is the ‘Jewel in the Crown’ of Turkmenistan, the legendary city of Merv and Gonur Depe. The Caspian to Karakum crossing is then complete as you meet the famous Turcoman horses before returning for a final night in Ashgabat.
The holiday costs from £1795 pp (two sharing) which includes domestic flights, all land transportation, 14 nights’ accommodation, all meals and the services of a tour leader/guide. The price including international flights from the UK is from £2943 pp.
Call 0845 304 8679 (www.adventureworldwide.co.uk)