Overview

Our Best of Central Asia tour combines the best of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, two landlocked countries with spectacular scenery, interesting historical and cultural sites, wide varieties of exciting habitats, and of course both well-represented with some of the finest Central Asian birds found in this fascinating region. Our tour starts in Uzbekistan where the general topography ranges from desert flatlands to the foothills of the Tien Shan Mountains in the east. We will drive out into the remote Kyzyl-Kum Desert in search for the desert loving Pander’s Ground Jay, a unique terrestrial species. Other special birds that we will target over the next few days include Pygmy Cormorant, Saker Falcon, Eastern Imperial Eagle, the striking Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Streaked Scrub Warbler and Asian Desert Warbler. From here we travel to the scenic hills south of Samarkand in search of White-throated Robin, Eastern Rock Nuthatch, Red-headed Bunting, Asian Paradise Flycatcher and Finch’s Wheatear. Our comprehensive tour continues in the remote Taukum Desert: a great start and excellent introduction to Kazakhstan birding! We will search for specialties such as Macqueen’s Bustard and the handsome Caspian Plover. Wells in the area attract Pin-tailed, Black-bellied and the much desired Pallas’s Sandgrouse. Other targets include Saxaul Sparrow, White-winged Woodpecker and the striking Azure Tit. Later on we’ll drive up into the Tien Shan Mountain range where the highly sought after Ibisbill occurs (this smart looking bird is the sole representative of its monotypic family). Other specialities in this area include Himalayan Snowcock, Güldenstädt’s and Eversmann’s Redstarts, Wallcreeper and the stunning White-browed (Sveretov’s) Tit-warbler. Flying to the capital, Astana, we will bird the surrounding steppe in search of the enigmatic Demoiselle Crane and the critically endangered Sociable Lapwing at their favoured breeding grounds. Here we will also enjoy sightings of Pallid Harrier and both White-winged and the mythical Black Lark doing their displays over the steppe grasslands!

2023 Tour price is an estimate and will change. Tour dates could be adjusted.

Tour Facts Top Birds
Himalayan Snowcock, Ibisbill, Chukar Partridge, Pin-tailed, Black-bellied & Pallas’s Sandgrouse, Demoiselle Crane, Macqueen’s Bustard, Pygmy Cormorant, Dalmatian & Great White Pelican, Bearded & Cinereous Vulture, Himalayan Griffon, Eastern Imperial & Steppe Eagle, Pallid Harrier, Saker & Red-footed Falcon, White-headed & Marbled Duck, Slavonian Grebe, Sociable Lapwing, Caspian Plover, Terek Sandpiper, Lesser Sand Plover, Pander’s Ground Jay, White-winged Woodpecker, Blue-cheeeked Bee-eater, Spotted Nutcracker, European Roller, Wallcreeper, Streaked Scrub Warbler, Red-headed & Grey-necked Bunting, Asian Desert Warbler, Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Finch’s, Desert & Pied Wheatear, Eastern Rock Nuthatch, Turkestan, Daurian & Long-tailed Shrike, Blue-capped, Guldenstadt’s & Eversmann’s Redstart, White-tailed Rubythroat, Brown & Altai Accentor, Yellow-breasted, Azure, Turkestan and Rufous-naped Tit, White-throated Robin, Pied Bush Chat, Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin, White-browed Tit-warbler, Saxaul Sparrow, White-winged & Black Lark, Citrine & Masked Wagtail, Asian Crimson-winged Finch
Habitats Covered
rich steppe grasslands, remote deserts, foothills, high mountains, valleys, pristine spruce forest, alpine meadows, wetlands, marshes, reed beds, lakes
Expected Climate
generally hot and sunny but much cooler in the mountains
Max Group Size
8 with 1 Rockjumper leader & 1 local leader
Tour Pace & Walking
relaxed to moderate at times with generally easy walking and some longer drives
Accommodation
comfortable lodging with two nights of camping
Ease of Birding
generally easy with a few nomadic and tricky species
Other Attractions
spectacular scenery, ancient deserts, pristine wildernesses, incredible history and culture
Photographic Opportunities
excellent
Tour Route Map Route Map Client Testimonials

Our tour was really exceptional, and our guide, Glen Valentine, was fabulous!!! Being in the jungle meant our views were narrowed, but Glen went out of his way to make sure everyone had a chance to see these exceptional birds.

MN

Our questions were always answered with clarity and accuracy. There were no surprises as a result... This trip was a wonderful and unique experience for me. I actually felt renewed and revitalized when it was over. Thanks to everyone for an experience of a lifetime!

MN

I look forward to another RBT tour...you can never go on too many RBT tours.

Dennis's knowledge & ability to imitate bird calls is phenomenal. He is also an interesting person to travel with. I enjoyed Eric's humour and felt he handled the group well.

H

Marius Coetzee is one of the most knowledgeable and experienced safari (field) guides I have met on my more than 30 trips to Africa. His knowledge of the bush and ability to work with his tracker to find animals is unique and appreciated. As an accomplished photographer, Marius knows how to position his vehicle to get the best photograph and has the patience to make sure that his guests see what they need.

Dates, Leaders and Pricing
2023 DEPARTURES
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