Kazakhstan Experience

5.0 (7)
17 days 16 nights
Kazakhstan
Difficulty
Challenging
Comfort
Basic
Midscale
Weight limit
100 kg / 220 lb

Ride swiftly across open meadows and through wooded paths, then gear up the pack horses and venture deep into the untouched wilderness of Katon-Karagay National Park on reliable Kazakh horses. Interested in joining us? Experienced travelers who enjoy horseback riding can team up with our local park rangers to explore the remote landscapes of Katon-Karagay National Park. This secluded area in the eastern part of Kazakhstan offers a unique blend of post-Soviet culture and breathtaking views, making it an ideal destination for horse trekking enthusiasts.

US$ 3 240
per tourist for 17 days
Departing from
Vostochno-Kazakhstanskaya oblast, City akimat of Oskemen
Available dates
Date of travel
Number of individuals
Only in the Horse Tours Club
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Photo John W.
John W. is the provider of this trip
The provider speaks: English
I am based in New Zealand, and have been travelling to Mongolia, and the wider Central Asian region, since 2000. Over the past 24 years I have built up a wonderful local team who are the heart of our trips. Two of my great passions are horse riding, and travelling off the beaten track. I have the perfect job, combining these two activities and exploring parts of the world that most people don't get to experience. Over the years I have lead horse treks in Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, Siberia and Ethiopia. Changing geopolitics means some countries open up to tourism, as others close down. We aim to create sustainable livelihoods for local people, to help them weather the changes affecting their traditional ways of living.

Tour highlights

Incredible Landscapes
Forests, lakes and high mountains of the far east of Kazakhstan
Meet Local Wranglers and Their Families
And try some local food
Join Local Horse Games
It will be a fun day!

Route details

Day 1
Arrival

Note, this trek is constantly evolving as we try new routes, and is weather dependent. Please don't take this as a rigid itinerary. There will be days away with packhorses, and days where we meet the support vehicle. Every day will be different, but always memorable. Think of our trips as non-itinerised.

We meet at our hotel in Ust-Kamenogorsk and head out for our first group dinner together. 

If you have time during the day, we can help with sightseeing around the town. Ust-Kamenogorsk is a pleasant place with plenty to see and do for a day or two.

A trip with us always involves getting down from your horse to meet the local people. The evolving post-Soviet mix of Kazakh, Russian and other cultures is wonderfully hospitable. The country is famously home to over 100 ethnic groups - a result of Stalin's forced movements of entire populations to Kazakhstan.

Day 2
To Katon-Karagay
Day 3
First Riding Day
Day 4
Mountain Camping
Day 5
Old Gold Mine
Day 6
Through Dense Forest
Day 7
New Horses and Place of Wild Onions
Day 8
Jailoo
Day 9
Back to Saram Sakhta
Day 10
To Akhainar
Day 11
Honey Farm
Day 12
To the Lake
Day 13
At the Border
Day 14
Back to Batbakbulag
Day 15
Horse Games
Day 16
Back to Ust-Kamenogorsk
Day 17
Departure
Difficulty
Challenging
Tour provider's comments

Time in the saddle: 12 days.

Adventurous travelers of all types, not just dedicated equestrians, are welcome on this trip. Skilled riders can take full advantage of the excellent horses and beautiful riding terrain, but less experienced riders with confidence are also encouraged to join. Be prepared for wilderness camping with packhorses and be ready to rough it when needed.

Even if you haven't ridden with us before but like our trip style, you are invited to come along. The fitter and more active you are, the more you will enjoy the trek. Flexibility is key as there won't be a strict itinerary.

Don't worry if you're concerned about following the leader at a slow pace during a trek. Skilled riders are encouraged to ride as fast as their horse allows. The open meadows without fences are ideal for quick rides, while less experienced riders can stick to a more moderate speed. There will be slower moments when navigating mountains, forests, and narrow trails. Remember, the trek isn't solely about galloping!

The saddles and bridles here are quite familiar to anyone who rides back home, so no big surprises.

horse

Accommodation

Comfort
Basic
Midscale
Hotel
2 nights
Tent
14 nights

If you require extra accommodation, we can advise.

2 nights
Ust-Kamenogorsk Hotel

Private room, where possible.

14 nights
Tents

Tickets to group meeting place

Group meeting place
Vostochno-Kazakhstanskaya oblast, City akimat of Oskemen
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Weather during the tour

Weather conditions along the route
You will get a weather forecast for this tour’s route based on
  • the forecasts for this season
  • the statistics from previous years’ trips
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Tour conditions

Included

  • English-speaking trip leader;
  • return transfers from the airport/train station (including arrivals before D1)
  • transport while in Kazakhstan, including support vehicle;
  • accommodation;
  • all meals from dinner on D1 to breakfast on D17, including snacks, tea and coffee;
  • local horse wranglers;
  • tips;
  • National Park and border permits.

Extras

  • flights;
  • visas;
  • travel insurance;
  • personal expenses.

Group size

up to 10 tourists

Duration

17 days
16 nights

It's important to know

Personal equipment you need for the tour
  • sleeping bag (essential), and liner;
  • pillow;
  • riding / camping clothes;
  • boots / walking shoes;
  • comfortable trousers
  • shirts / T-shirts;
  • spare shoes / sandals;
  • thermal tops and leggings;
  • jersey / polar fleece / down jacket;
  • raincoat (DO NOT bring a horse-scaring poncho-style plastic coat);
  • light waterproof over-trousers;
  • socks;
  • comfy underwear;
  • swim wear;
  • sun hat (with a string if you expect to be galloping!);
  • beanie / warm hat;
  • gloves (warm ones mainly, but also for riding);
  • towel;
  • toiletries;
  • personal first aid kit;
  • sun block, lip balm;
  • antiseptic ointment;
  • bandages;
  • insect repellent and after-bite cream;
  • head torch;
  • camera;
  • sunglasses;
  • water bottle;
  • dry bags (or plastic bags);
  • pocket knife;
  • spare boot laces;
  • sewing kit;
  • book.
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Tour reviews

5.0
Based on 7 reviews
  • L
    louise
    11 Oct, 2023
    about provider
    Thoughtfully planned, secure, and enjoyable. Beyond just a journey, it was a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. The team, including the guide, wranglers, drivers, and cook, were fantastic. Interacting with the locals during the three visits was a highlight, especially playing with the children. My horse was well-behaved, leading to a safe and enjoyable experience with no falls, plenty of rides, and great weather. I was grateful for the lessons that helped me feel at ease on the horse. Camping in stunning locations was a favorite part of the trip. Having traveled to over 50 countries, this experience ranks among the top three, if not the very best.
    11 Oct, 2023
  • W
    wjen9237
    29 Sep, 2023
    about provider
    Describing this trip as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity would be entirely accurate! My sister and I embarked on this adventure with high hopes after reading glowing reviews on TA, and we were delighted to discover that those testimonials were spot on. The professionalism and attentiveness impressed us from start to finish. From the informative program to the patient and thorough responses from John, Jen, and the rest of the team, we felt fully supported every step of the way. While my sister and I both had some horseback riding experience, we were novices when it came to camping. Nevertheless, with a spirit of adventure, we embraced the learning curve and had a blast discovering the ins and outs of camping. The trip delivered on all its promises - magnificent Mongolian horses that became our companions, a warm and friendly local team of wranglers, opportunities to connect with local families, breathtaking landscapes, a sky full of stars, and an epic journey from beginning to end. We were fortunate to share this experience with a fantastic group of fellow travelers and forged friendships that we hope will endure. For future travelers, I recommend packing plenty of layers for the chilly weather on the late September Altai trip, including long johns and thermals. Don't hesitate to request extra blankets and hot water bottles if needed for warmth at night. Make an effort to socialize and bond with your group and the wranglers - we regret not staying up later to enjoy their company more. A special mention goes out to our translator Hamza, our exceptional trip leader Janni (Lansi! Lansi! Lansi!), our patient head wrangler Muikthan, and the entire team. They consistently prioritized our safety and comfort, ensuring that we had a fantastic time throughout the journey.
    29 Sep, 2023
  • N
    NZ86kilo
    22 Sep, 2023
    about provider
    I used to work as a guide in Alaska, Hawaii, and New Zealand. I have experience recognizing a good crew and a great trip leader. Haldee and his crew really made the trip memorable. It was quite challenging, with a wasp attack, flat tires on the vans (common on Mongolian roads), flight delays, lack of showers for 10 days, and managing riders of different skill levels on semi-wild horses. Despite all the challenges, Haldee and his team remained calm and handled everything well. The wrangler crew led by Dondov ensured our safety on the horses, which was no easy task given that they were semi-wild. Dagee and her team cooked amazing food for us, and Bimba was able to fix anything that broke, whether it was a chainsaw or the van's gearbox. They even showed us how to slaughter and cook a sheep purchased from a local family. We had the opportunity to interact with real locals in their ger houses and learn about the local culture from Haldee, who really made the tour special. The only downsides were the rough hotel in UB where we stayed, and the lack of communication due to remote locations with no phone signal. It would have been helpful to have radios for the vans to communicate. Some suggestions for enhancing the experience would be learning how to set up a Ger and witnessing traditional Mongolian wrestling. Overall, despite these minor issues, it was an incredible adventure that I thoroughly enjoyed. From horseback riding through high cliffs and swimming in cold rivers, it was the true adventure I had been seeking.
    22 Sep, 2023

Dates and Prices

  • Any dates on request during the season
    1 Jun – 1 Sep
    Book
  • US$ 3 240
    14 – 30 Jul, 2025 17 days 16 nights
    Book

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