Scenic Mountain Hikes
Immersive Village Experience
Traverse The Nuratau Mountains & Immerse in Remote Village Life
Embark on an exhilarating hiking tour that leads you through the captivating Hayat and Asraf villages, where the highlight includes a heartwarming visit to the Severtzov’s wild sheep (Ovis Ammon Severtzovi) breeding enclosure, a sanctuary for this remarkable endangered breed. Astonishingly, around 90% of the global population of these endangered wild sheep thrives within the embrace of the Nuratau Mountains, underlining the incredible international significance of this region.
But that’s not all – this adventure is a gateway to immerse yourself in the authenticity of rural life. Discover the cherished Hayat, Uhum, Asraf, and Eski Forish villages as you take on a medium difficulty hiking program that promises unforgettable landscapes and cultural interactions. The cherry on top? Your accommodations during this journey are hosted by three welcoming rural families, ensuring a truly genuine experience.
By embarking on this trip, you’re not just exploring the stunning landscapes and wildlife of the Nuratau Mountains. You’re also making a positive impact on the local community. Your stay with these rural families provides them with valuable income, supporting their way of life and fostering a deeper connection between travellers and locals. Your journey goes beyond the adventure; it’s an opportunity to leave a positive footprint in these treasured lands.
Highlights of the Tour
Visit the breeding enclosure of the endangered Severtzov’s wild sheep, a rare and precious sight
Engage with local life as you traverse four remote mountain villages and their captivating surroundings
Embrace village culture firsthand through stays with welcoming families, savouring diverse traditional dishes
Immerse yourself in local customs and traditions, forging deeper connections with the community
Enjoy accessible to moderately challenging hikes in the Nuratau Nature Reserve, a journey through breathtaking landscapes
Day 1 – Transfer from Bukhara to Hayat village: At 9:00 am, meet our driver at the tour’s start point and begin driving to Hayat village. Arrive by lunchtime and settle in the homestay. In the afternoon, wander around the village to see the breeding enclosure of endangered wild sheep, ruins of the local fortress, and the abandoned villages. Please note that on this day you explore the village on your own, and the guided tour starts on the next day.
Day 2- Hike from Hayat to Uhum village: Meet with your guide in the morning and start a hiking tour to the next village of Uhum. Visit the ancient irrigation channels, petroglyph sites, and meet local people going about their daily activities.
Day 3 – Hike from Uhum to Asraf village: Pack up your gear and begin your guided hike from Uhum to Asraf village. Your luggage will be transported by donkeys. En-route visit to a community watermill and ruins of Mongol fortress.
Day 4 – Short hike to visit Eski Forish before returning to Samarkand: Easy hike from Asraf to Nuratau Mountain village Eski Forish. Visit the ruins of the mediaeval observation point. Return to Asraf village and transfer back to Samarkand.
END OF THE TRIP
Click the “Itinerary” tab to see a detailed itinerary.
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In Bukhara: at the statue of Naserridin at Labi Haus Pool
Recommended to book between end of March to end of June and September to November.
Check the availability for this tour on the sidebar calendar.
From 2 to 12 travellers
- 3 nights accommodation in the homestays
- 3 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 3 dinners
- Mountain escort guide (with basic English) on days 2, 3 & 4
- Sealed mineral water during the hikes
- Transport: Samarkand/Bukhara-Hayat-Bukhara/Samarkand
- Additional tours and activities not mentioned in the itinerary
- Items of personal nature
- Homestay hosts
- Mountain escort guide on days 2, 3 & 4
Your 4-Day Nuratau Mountain Villages Hike With Homestay Itinerary
Day 1 – Bukhara – Hayat village
At 9:00 am, meet our driver at the tour’s start point and begin driving to Hayat village. Arriving by lunchtime, your host will welcome you and show you the homestay facilities so you can get settled in. This homestay has six separate guestrooms, furnished with carpets, kupacha mattresses, and pillows. The owner of the homestay, Parda Musaev, works as a warden in the Nature Reserve.
After lunch, start an excursion through the village and visit the nearby breeding enclosure of the highly endangered Severtsov’s wild sheep. According to official statistics, approximately 2000 wild sheep are outside the enclosure in the Nuratau Mountains valleys. Continue walking up to the ruins of the local fortress Shaxi Korgon situated on the hill opposite the enclosure. From the top of the hill, you’ll see many abandoned houses that belonged to the families who were forced to resettle in the 1950s by the Soviet Government to cotton-growing areas. Continue hiking up Hayat Valley, to observe the diverse flora and fauna of the region and admire the lush green landscape (particularly in spring).
Return to the homestay and take a rest in the huge shady garden along the mountain brook on tapchans or benches. In the evening, you’ll have dinner with your host family.
Day 2 – Hayat-Uhum village
After breakfast, meet your mountain guide to hike to Uhum village (Upper Ukhum 12km). Your hike starts through Guzar and the Sari Bedak passes to the Upper Ukhum village (5,4km /3,5 hours – one way). The luggage will be transported by donkeys to the next homestay. From the pass, you will have a beautiful view of the peak Karaul and Hayat village. Hiking up through Uhum Valley, you’ll see local women baking bread in the tandir oven and doing other household chores. Women in the village are still spinning, weaving carpets, or making kurpacha mattresses. Many people will welcome you to enter their yards so you can observe them undertaking their daily activities. In the Upper Ukhum village, you can see the ancient irrigation channels still used by the local farmers, and visit the historical petroglyph site showing traces of ancient settlement in the area.
A picnic lunch will be provided for you en route. In the afternoon, you’ll arrive and settle into Ulugbek’s homestay in Uhum village, and enjoy a dinner with the family later on.
Day 3 – Uhum – Asraf
After breakfast with the family, prepare for your hike to your next homestay in Asraf village. You’ll be guided by your mountain escort while a donkey transports your luggage. Your hike sets off through Ukhum Valley to Asraf village (11 km-4,5 hours). When you reach the school, you’ll take a left turn and continue walking down through the valley (approx 1 km) to reach the old community Watermill. The old watermill is still in operation and uses a hydro pump that lifts water up to a local house without using electricity. The owner, Bakhrom Kasimov, will proudly demonstrate the use of these old devices to you. Continue walking down Mushibirion Valley and turn right at the ruins of the old Mongol fortress “Qorgoni Honkeldi”. To get to Asraf village you still have to hike another 3,5 km to the east.
Upon arrival at Asraf village, you will be welcomed by your host and shown the homestay facilities, followed by lunch with the family. After lunch, relax on the tapchans under huge walnut trees and get to know your host family. In the evening, you may wander around the village watching people doing their daily chores or help the family prepare the traditional dish Plov from homegrown vegetables and mountain spices.
Day 4 – Asraf – Samarkand
After breakfast with the family, embark on a guided hike that takes you along the buffer zone of the Nuratau Nature Reserve to the next Nuratau Mountain village Eski Forish (return trip 11 km/5 hours). On this morning excursion, you’ll marvel at the great view of Lake Aydar and the vast plains of the Kyzylkum steppe. During your hike, see the ancient petroglyphs and visit the ruins of a mediaeval look-out point in Eski Forish which was used to observe the Kyzyl-Kum plains to avoid the sudden attacks of the steppe nomads.
Return to Asraf village to have lunch with your host family and say goodbye before returning to Samarkand.
Map of Hayat, Uhum & Asraf Villages
Private Tour Enquiry
All our tours are available as private tours, the private tours can depart from Samarkand or Bukhara. To request private tour departure dates you can send us an enquiry here. Please fill in your details and select your preferred hiking tour in the form below and we will get back to you with available departure dates.
Not Ready to Let Your Trip Come to an End?
Why not make it longer? We have more exciting activities in store for you! Extend your 4-Day Hiking Tour of Hayat, Uhum & Asraf with further cultural and historical exploration. Check out these extension trips to add an extra “check” to your Uzbekistan holiday wish list!