Each 10-day journey is personally curated by Alexandra Tolstoy, taking in the finest landscapes of Sary Chelek, a remote ‘Garden of Eden’ located a 10-hour drive south-west of the capital, Bishkek.
Here, we ride through alpine meadows carpeted with vibrant wildflowers, past seven pristine lakes, through fruit orchards and walnut forests, and over dramatic mountain passes. We enjoy unparalleled access to the local nomadic community, which still lives much as it would have done for the last hundred years.
Alexandra’s personal itineraries
Alexandra Tolstoy has personally curated these horse riding holidays following many years spent exploring the region. Sary Chelek is the spot she loves most from her extensive travels, an area suited to those with an adventurous spirit who enjoy going off the beaten track and witnessing a community virtually untouched by the modern age.
An extraordinary country...
Kyrgyzstan, formerly part of the Soviet Union, is a Central Asian state bordering China, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Settled by nomadic Kyrgyz tribes from southern Siberia in the 17th century, the area was ruled by various regional powers before coming under Russian and then Soviet rule, until it became independent in 1991.
...And an extraordinary people
The majority of its six million people are Turkic-speaking and nominally Muslim, with a significant Russian minority population living harmoniously in the capital, Bishkek. Many of the Kyrgyz are semi-nomadic, spending their summers in yurts high in the jailoo (alpine pastures) with their numerous sheep and horses.
Alexandra’s trips support Uplift Aufwind, an important local NGO which empowers families with the skills and resources to look after children with disabilities at home, instead of sending them to state institutions where conditions are very poor. You can find out more here.
Our trips are guided by highly-skilled and knowledgeable locals whom we have worked with for years, and the few people we encounter on our journey are local shepherds and their families who offer a warm welcome to visitors.
“Kyrgyzstan is breathtakingly beautiful, and with Alexandra, we saw it in the best possible way. She knows the country and culture so well, and her eye for detail is unsurpassed. To be so comfortable in such a wild and remote landscape was amazing. We are dreaming of going back with the children, it’s the trip of a lifetime.”
“Alexandra Tolstoy’s trips offer unrivalled access to this historically, culturally and geographically fascinating region.”
“We were on a scimitar of a ridge, thousands of feet in the air. Snowcapped mountains loomed, but they loomed below us. We could see rivers, in extremely small scale, threads of blue monofilament. Mile-wide turquoise lakes glinted minutely, beads lost in a shag rug. We were at the top of the Chatkal Range of the Tian Shan, above everything.”
“Alexandra said she chose Sary Chelek as she felt like she’d landed in paradise on her Silk Road riding adventure. It did indeed feel like paradise, with waist height flowers of purple alliums, yellow fennel, pink lilies and irises. Riding through the walnut forest, plucking ripe mulberries from trees as we rode past, we heard a nightingale sing. With spectacular waterfalls and turquoise lakes, it was truly a paradise.”
“It is very difficult to pinpoint my favourite parts of our Kyrgyzstan adventure because it was all so wonderful. Arriving at our breathtakingly beautiful lakeside camp and plunging into the water. Eating home-cooked pumpkin dumplings under the milky way. Learning new card games with new friends, cocktail in hand. Or watching our brilliant guides play a very competitive game of Kyrgyz goat polo. I loved every minute.”
“Having been on many riding adventures around the world, this was, without doubt, the best. Alexandra Tolstoy’s knowledge of Kyrgyzstan and her fluent Russian ensured that it was a brilliant trip for our group. This was a trip of a lifetime, and it did not disappoint.”