Classic Uzbekistan Group Tour in 2024 and 2025 with Guaranteed Dates

Classic Uzbekistan Group Tour 2024-2025

Our most popular escorted tour of Uzbekistan in a small group will acquaint you with the most famous ancient cities in Uzbekistan: Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand, as well as the modern capital, Tashkent.

Tashkent, Khiva, Bukhara, Samarkand

8 Days | Spring, summer, autumn | from US$ 1,160 per person

Karynzharyk Depression, Mangystau

Karynzharyk Depression, Mangystau

The Karynzharyk Depression boasts stunning, otherworldly landscapes that seem lifted from a sci-fi movie. Its remote location in Mangystau makes it a full day's journey away, attracting only the most adventurous and well-prepared explorers.

Nestled in the southern reaches of Mangystau, near the western edge of the Ustyurt plateau and just 25 km from Turkmenistan, the depression spans 2000 square kilometers. Its lowest point dips 75 meters below sea level. This vast area includes the Kenderli salt marsh, covering 10% of the territory, the sandy Karynzharyk desert with dunes reaching 15 meters high, and the Onere mountains-islands, towering up to 150 meters, alongside the brackish Onere spring.

Karynzharyk Depression, Mangystau

The five mountains, particularly the trio known locally as the "Three Brothers," are remnants of the ancient Tethys ocean floor. Perched above the salt marsh, they create a breathtaking vista that changes with the weather and time of day. The landscape is especially mesmerizing after rainfall, when a thin layer of water over the salt marsh transforms it into a vast mirror.

Karynzharyk Depression, Mangystau

Karynzharyk's continental climate sees near-zero temperatures in winter and soaring above 40 degrees Celsius in summer. Rain is sparse, mostly falling in spring, accompanied often by dusty winds. The best times to visit are during the milder months of April-May and September-October.

Karynzharyk Depression, Mangystau

As part of the Ustyurt Reserve, visiting Karynzharyk requires a special fee. Encounters with reserve staff are likely, so keeping your payment receipt handy is essential.

Karynzharyk Depression, Mangystau

Reaching Karynzharyk from Aktau involves a 310 km drive—165 km on asphalt to Kulandy village near Zhanaozen, followed by 145 km on varied terrain. The journey typically takes about 7 hours. Most visitors combine this trip with a tour of Mangystau, starting from an overnight stay at the Bozzhyra tract, which reduces the trip to 150 km on similar roads, taking around 5 hours.

Given the challenge and isolation, thorough preparation is vital: a well-equipped off-road vehicle, tools, spare tire, pre-downloaded satellite maps, and, for emergencies, a satellite phone. Essentials also include ample water, fuel, and camping gear for desert conditions and overnight stays.

Karynzharyk Depression, Mangystau

Before reaching the viewpoints, a stop at the Onere spring is recommended. Its small, turquoise pond offers a refreshing oasis, so bringing swimwear for a summer visit is a great idea.

Karynzharyk Depression, Mangystau

Camping options include near the spring or atop the Ustyurt plateau cliffs. The latter offers a chance to witness stunning sunsets and indulge in astrophotography, with the Big Dipper constellation shining brightly above the mountains-islands.

Karynzharyk Depression, Mangystau

The Karynzharyk Depression is a captivating, secluded gem, offering solitude unlike the more frequented Bozzhyra. The lengthy journey and detailed planning required to reach it are well worth it for the unforgettable experience and serene isolation it offers.