Hiking tour to Hayat, Uhum and Asraf villages

The Nuratau Mountains are the last refuge of the highly endangered Severtzov’s wild sheep (Ovis Ammon Severtzovi). About 90% of world’s population of this endangered wild sheep lives in the Nuratau Mountains and this fact indicates the international significance of this territory. Hiking tour to Hayat – Asraf villages includes a visit to the breeding enclosure of Severtzov’s wild sheep. The trip also gives an opportunity to explore the authentic villages of Hayat, Uhum , Asraf and Eski Forish with the included medium difficulty hiking program. You will be staying with two different rural families during the trip.

Trip Highlights

  • Visit the breeding enclosure of highly endangered Severtzov’s wild sheep
  • Explore four remote mountain villages and sights around them
  • Experience a stay with the village families and try different traditional meals
  • Get to know the local customs and traditions
  • Easy to medium hikes along the Nuratau Nature Reserve

Best time: March – end of June, September-November

Quick Itinerary

Day 1 – Samarkand or Bukhara – Hayat village
Arrive in Hayat village. Excursion through the village to see the breeding enclosure of endangered wild sheep, ruins of local fortress and the abandoned villages. The population of the villages were forced by Soviet Government to move to cotton growing areas.

Day 2- Hayat – Uhum village
Whole day’s hiking tour to the next village of Uhum. Visit the ancient irrigation channels, petroglyph site and meet the local people going with their daily livelihood activities.

Day 3 – Uhum  – Asraf village
Packing up and starting guided hike down via Uhum to Asraf village. The luggage will be transported by donkeys. En route visit to a community watermill and ruins of Mongol fortress.

Day 4 – Asraf– Bukhara / Samarkand
Easy hike from Asraf to another Nuratau Mountain village Eski Forish. On the way visit the ruins of medieval observation point. Return to Asraf village and after lunch leave for the next destination.


Price & Service

Number of People 1 2 3
Price per person USD 265 USD 220 USD 180

For groups greater than 3 people –price upon request

What is Included
  • 3 nights accomodation in the homestays
  • 3 Breakfast, 4 Lunches, 3 Dinners
  • 3 days mountain escort guide service (with basic English)
  • Sealed mineral water during the hikes
  • Registration
  • Transport:Samarkand/Bukhara-villages-Bukhara/Samarkand

What’s not Included

  • Additional tours and activities not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Tips
  • Items of personal nature

Extension trips and extra activities which can be combined with above tour

Yurt stay and camel riding near the Lake Aydarkul

1 person – 80 USD
2 persons – 65 USD per person
3 persons – 55 USD per person

Price includes

  • 1 night Yurt stay including all meals and registration
  • 20 minutes of camel riding
  • Trip by car to Lake Aydarkul
  • Transport to/ from Yurt Camp
Alexander the Great’s fortress and holly spring in Nurata city

1 person – 15 USD
2 persons – 10 USD per person
3 persons – 5 USD per person

Price includes:

  • Entrance tickets in Nurata city
  • Transport to/ from Nurata
Petroghlyps in Sarmish Gorge

1 person – 20 USD
2 persons – 15 USD per person
3 persons – 10 USD per person

Price includes:

  • Entrance tickets to Sarmish Gorge
  • Transport to/ from Sarmish

Day 1 – Samarkand or Bukhara – Hayat village

Arrive at Shiringul’s homestay in Hayat village. Your host welcomes you and shows the homestay facilities. Settle in Shiringul’s homestay. The homestay has six separate guestrooms, furnished with carpets, kupacha mattresses and pillows. The owner of the homestay Parda Musaev works as warden in the Nature Reserve.
Have a lunch with the family.

Start you excursion through the village by visiting the nearby breeding enclosure of highly endangered Severtsov’s wild sheep. According to official statistics, approximately 2000 wild sheep are outside the enclosure in the Nuratau Mountains valleys. From the enclosure, continue walking up to the ruins of local fortress Shaxi Korgon situated on the hill opposite the enclosure. From the top of the hill you will see many abandoned houses that belonged to the families who were forced to resettle in 1950s by Soviet Government to cotton growing areas. Continue hiking up Hayat valley, particularly in spring, you can see the diverse flora and fauna of the region and admire lush green landscape.

Return to the homestay and take a rest in the huge shady garden along the mountain brook on tapchans or benches. Dinner with the host family.

Overnight stay in Shiringul’s homestay.


Day 2 – Hayat-Uhum village

Breakfast with the family. Today we hike to the village of Upper Ukhum (whole hike 12km). Start guided hike through Guzar and the Sari Bedak passes to Upper Ukhum village (5,4km /3,5 hours – one way). The luggage will be transported by donkeys to next homestay.  From the pass, you will have a beautiful view of peak Karaul and Hayat village. Hiking up through Uhum valley, you will see local woman 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 and watch what they are doing. In Upper Ukhum village, see the ancient irrigation channels still used by the local farmers and visit the petroglyph site that is an indicator of the ancient settlement history of the area. A picnic lunch will be provided for you en route. In the afternoon, arrive and settle in Ulugbek’s homestay in Uhum village. Dinner with the family.

Overnight stay in Ulugbek’s homestay.


Day 3 – Uhum - Asraf

Breakfast with the family. Prepare for hiking to your next homestay in Asraf village. Our escort guide will accompany you and the donkey will transport your luggage.

Start hiking through Ukhum valley to Asraf village (11 km-4,5 hours). Once you reach the school turn left, continue walking down through the valley (about 1 km) and stop at the old community watermill. The old watermill is still in operation and three you will see a hydro pump that lifts water up to a local house without using electricity. The owner, Bakhrom Kasimov, will be 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.

Arrive in Yashigul’s homestay in Asraf village and be welcomed by your host.

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 to prepare traditional dish Plov from homegrown vegetables and mountain spices.

Dinner with the family.

Overnight stay in Yahshigul’s homestay.


Day 4 – Asraf – Bukhara/Samarkand

Breakfast with the family.

Our today’s morning hike takes us along the buffer zone of Nuratau Nature Reserve to the next Nuratau Mountain village Eski Forish (return trip 11 km/5 hours). You will have a great view of Lake Aydar and the vast plains of the Kyzylkum steppe during this easy hike. On the way, see the ancient petroglyphs and visit the ruins of a medieval 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 and have lunch with the family
Say goodbye to your hosts and leave for the next destination.



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