Kazakhstan horse riding holiday

“A seventeen day trip, horse trekking in a small group through stunning Kazakh wilderness. Wild camping along the way, this is one fine and unique equestrian expedition. ”

Highlights

Eastern Kazakhstan horses | Katon Karagai National Park | Altai Mountains | Ust Kamenogorsk | No fixed itinerary on this riding holiday in Kazakhstan | Wilderness camping

Description of Kazakhstan horse riding holiday

Let Eastern Kazakhstan's tall, fit horses, melting pot communities, flourishing valleys and striking snow-topped mountains steal your heart, as they have ours, on this Kazakhstan horse riding holiday. Ever since our first rides here in 2015 and 2016, our ethnically-Kazakh Altai coordinator Amangul has been helping us build relationships, routes, and border permit avenues to experience this rarely visited corner of Central Asia. Near the borders of China, Russia, and Mongolia, deep nomadic roots tie together a variety of traditional cultures and make the area's archaeological sites a trip highlight, but the steep terrain necessitates plenty of pack-horsing and full riding days, so keen riders and active travelers need only apply!

A trip for the intrepid and adventurous, we aim to continue exploring new areas and routes in this extremely varied, forested, lake-rich region, so be ready for a non-itinerised trek as you help us develop ecotourism in a stunning but little known travel locale.

As with our Mongolian treks, we will assemble our team of wranglers, horses, support staff, and provisions in preparation for our stint of backcountry camping, sleeping in tents (no single supplement required), and cooking around the fire. Although we've been lucky enough to come across some hospitable locals' saunas, there's little access to amenities such as showers and toilets out in the Kazakh wilds. That said, the seemingly endless clean rivers, combined with the fairly mild Western Altai climate, make for plenty of swim-call opportunities - even for the horses, sometimes!

The riding is a large part of what truly keeps us coming back - grassland meadows follow into forest trails and technical climbs lead to the far-flung summer pasture known in Kazakh as jailoo. Because we work with the local park rangers themselves, their strong and experienced horse herds provide for a never-ending succession of well-paced, varied days which make the weeks of horse travel fly by. We hesitate to say "for experienced riders only," because we can indeed find a horse to help take care of newer riders, too - but expect a brisk pace and plenty of chances to canter (and more!) on this adventure holiday. Although this trip naturally attracts serious horse folk, trekkers of all sorts can expect to up their riding skills and appreciate this secret trekking heaven.

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

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Check dates, prices & availability

Date
Price
Basis
28 Jun 2020
NZ $4700
excluding flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 28 Jun 2020 departure
15 Jul 2020
NZ $4700
excluding flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 15 Jul 2020 departure
20 Aug 2020
NZ $4700
excluding flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 20 Aug 2020 departure
Vouchers
Accepted

Responsible tourism

Kazakhstan horse riding holiday

Carbon reduction

Your holiday will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this holiday and how to reduce them.

Zavkhkan Trekking's style of low-impact horse travel and wild-camping, including pack-horsing to leave all vehicles behind, means that your time in Kazakhstan will be spent supporting and participating in a traditional lifestyle that has been low-carbon-emission for centuries. We also have shaped our company ethic to support and foster the local guides, trip-leaders, admin, and staff with whom it is our pleasure to work, long-term, rather than make a habit of flying staff from afar. In addition, as much of our veg and meat as possible are locally sourced, grass-fed and grown within miles of where you'll be riding. We are also proud to work in a place where solar energy has been harnessed with panels, even in remote areas, so we use the same to chill our meat and for charging, when necessary. To further reduce your carbon footprint with ZT, opt for the train from Almaty to eastern Kazakhstan instead of domestic flights. We will help arrange it for you at no extra cost.

Environment

It's hard to avoid the fact that you are likely to arrive in Kazakhstan by plane, although we do encourage keen train travelers! Once you are here, however, we minimise further carbon emissions by travelling in the most sustainable way possible, as much as possible - by horse. Happily, riding is also the best way to experience the area.

Clean water is thankfully not a scarce resource where we ride, and we want to keep it that way. This is about maintaining the purity of rivers and streams that we camp near. We ensure that our toilet is dug a suitable distance from the water course each evening. Dishes and clothes are washed away from the waters edge. We do encourage guests to swim and wash in rivers, but soap-free is the way to go.

Pioneering a strict trash and low-impact policy is also an important part of forging the way for responsible travel in this delicate national park.

Community

Visiting Kazakhstan is new territory not only for most international travelers and locals but for travel companies such as us. In Mongolia, we have built up close relationships with our local staffs and their families over the years and focused on developing the kind of tourism and business that works for them. Our goal in Kazakhstan is to not only continue that philosophy and practice, but to lead the way in community-connected, responsible tourism. We recognise that the best way to really get to know any place is by drawing in close to the camp fire in the evening and getting to know the local people you are riding with.

Furthermore, the unique opportunity of riding in the Katon Karagai National Park affords us the ability to work directly with the park rangers and management. In doing so, we can not only listen to the needs of the local communities, bolster the park staff's connection with travelers and travel route development, but help support the eco-friendly, low-impact guidelines around which we've built our trip style.

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