In the nothern part of central Uzbekistan, to the north of Samarkand, there is a huge slightly salted lake called Aydar Kul, or Aydar Lake. It is fed by one of the two great rivers of Central Asia, SyrDarya, and recently has become one of the biggest water bodies of the region.
The area is abundant in wildlife, such as various bird species, both endemic and migratory, of which particarly interesting are Dalmatian pelican, Red-Breasted Goose, and White-tailed Sea Eagle. In the southern shore of the lake, the Nuratau Biosphere Reserve was established to preserve wildlife and rare species.
The Aydar Lake is very rich in fish, inhabitants of small villages around the lake are engaged in fishing activities, earning their livelihoods and supporting their families. For travellers arriving in the region, there is a great choice of activities here, such as fishing, boating, wildlife and bird watching, etc.
A nice getaway off-the-beaten track, the Nuratau and Aydar Kul Yurt camps provide visitors to Uzbekistan with a great opportunity to add some adventure to your city
tours of Samarkand
. You will be taken by car to the middle of the desert, where there are virtually no people dozens of miles in every direction, and at least for couple of days you lead the life of nomadic tribes that lived in the steppe for millennia.
Yurts are made based on the original technology, using local materials and techniques. The interior is nicely decorated with handcrafts and designs by local artisans. Still, the amenities, such as carpets, beds, cushions are all clean and new. The camp is equipped with required amenities to make your stay a pleasant experience, such as bio-toilets, shower cabins etc.
What to do in the Yurt Camp
During your stay in the yurt, you will be invited to participate in cooking the dinner, making one of local dishes such as Beshbarmak. Under the deep sky and bright stars you will listen to the singing of 'akyn', a traditional singer, in a peaceful and romantic setting. The following day, you will be invited to make a camel excursion to the desert to the beautiful Aydar Kul Lake (1-2 hours) and watch the unique desert wildlife. A picnic is organized at the Lake, with fried fish or shashlyk (shish kebab), fresh vegetables, fruits and mineral water. Here you can have rest, swim in the warm, slightly salted waters and get a desert sun tan on the picturesque wild beach.
Upon your request, longer rides on camels and horses can be organized to the desert. In addition, fishing and hunting is available.
Nomadic Yurts in the Desert
Sunset in the desert
Dunes of the Kyzylkum Desert
Environs of the camp
Folklore costumes and armory
Campfire at the yurts
View of the lake from the desert