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 the 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 three 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 in the Nuratau Nature Reserve

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

Quick Itinerary

Day 1 – Samarkand or Bukhara – Hayat village

At 9:00 be picked up by our driver from your hotel and drive to Hayat village. Arrive in Hayat village by lunchtime and settle in the homestay. In the afternoon walk through 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, the guided tour starts on the next day.

Day 2- Hayat – 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 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 the medieval observation point. Return to Asraf village and after lunch leave for the next destination.


Price & Service

Number of People 1 2-3 4-12
Price per person EUR 370 EUR 270 EUR 250

For groups greater than 3 people –price upon request

What is Included
  • 3 nights accommodation 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

While visiting Nuratau Mountains please be respectful of local traditions and follow our Countryside Behaviour Rules.

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

Yurt stay and camel riding near the Lake Aydarkul

1 person – EUR 100
2 persons – EUR 75 per person
3 persons – EUR 65 per person

Price includes

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

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

Price includes:

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

1 person – EUR 30
2 persons – EUR 25 per person
3 persons – EUR 20 per person

Price includes:

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

Day 1 – Samarkand or Bukhara – Hayat village

At 9:00 be picked up by our driver from your hotel and drive to Hayat village. Arrive in Hayat village by lunchtime.  Your host welcomes you and shows you 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 a warden in the Nature Reserve.
Have lunch with the family.

Start your 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 the 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

After breakfast, meet with your mountain guide.  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 the 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 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 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 demonstrating 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 the local 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 a local 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.



    guide sarbon

    Group tour details

    The meeting point for this group tour is the eastern side of Lyabi-Hauz Pool in Bukhara ( at the statue of Hoja Nasruddin). You will be met by our guide in the meeting point, our guide will be wearing clothing with Responsible Travel logo. Please make sure to arrive at 8:30 as our minibus starts to the desert at 9:00.
    This group tour is booked by making advance payment using visa or master card, we will send the link once we receive your request. This group tour is operated with minimum 3 persons.

    Tour Reviews

    5.00 based on 1 review
    23 June 2019

    In mid May 2019, we went for a trip to Nuratau Mountains to 3 different villages: Hayat, Uhum and Asraf. It was an amazing experience. We got to meet the families living in the mountains, see how they manage daily arrangements: work, school, watering the crops, cooking. The families mostly speak Uzbek or Tajik. Children and teenagers learn English at school and older family members speak some Russian. Our guide, Sherali, spoke very good English, we were very lucky to spend time with him. He told us a lot about the Uzbek culture and landscape and made sure our trip is diverse. I appreciate that, apart from the fixed attractions in the itinerary, we could pick from different options, for example change the additional hiking for spending time with the local family. On top of that, we could take some rest from the Internet and mobile networks. Only UzMobile would work in few spots. The families had stationary satelite phones to communicate within the country. Overall, it was a precious experience, we met very kind and welcoming people who will stay in our memories for long. If we ever get a chance to come back to Uzbekistan, we would definitely get in touch with the company and Sherali for another trip. Thank you for your kindness! 🙂

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