ASTANA – Kazakhstan travellers have started preparations for the first-ever round-the-world journey on camels, with the assistance of their Russian and European partners. The decision was announced during the International Cultural Tourism Forum in St. Petersburg, Russia on Oct. 11 by head of the Ulytau National Historical and Cultural and Natural Reserve of Kazakhstan Bakhtiyar Kozhakhmetov.
Adventurous Kazakh travellers have already crossed the globe on bikes, motorcycles and yachts. This time, the world tour will be on camelback. Kozhakhmetov will lead the expedition team and plans to take a route from the Altay region to the Danube River to Texas, U.S. and back to Altay. Organisers are now preparing camels for the journey.
The head of the expedition explained that the preparation process for travelling on camels is much harder than travelling using any other type of transportation, including on bicycles or horses. “It is probably only harder to travel on elephants,” Kozhakhmetov joked. The main obstacle lies in choosing an appropriate route with a suitable surface, as well as necessity of securing animal care. “Border crossings and other formalities are another set of difficulties we have to negotiate before starting the trip,” Kozhakhmetov said
Because of veterinary restrictions in some countries, it is not possible to use Kazakhstani camels throughout the journey. Travellers will have to rent camels in Russia, the U.S. and China in order to cross their territory.
After the expedition starts in the Altay region in Russia, the caravan will move to Europe, crossing the Czech Republic, Germany and France. To reach the next destination, the United States, the expedition team will cross the ocean by air. According to Kozhakhmetov, the expedition will pass through Texas and California and fly to China to complete the trip by returning overland to the starting point in Altay.
According to expert’s estimation, the preparation will take about three years and the trip itself will continue for four years. The organisers plan to use five camels in a caravan. It is expected that partners from Russia, the Czech Republic and Germany will support the Kazakhstan team on its unusual journey.
Kozhakhmetov noted that several attempts to organise world trip on camels have taken place in other countries in the past, but have never been successful. He believes that the Kazakhstan travellers will achieve their goal.
Kozhakhmetov is an experienced traveller and led a camel caravan to the border of Austria between 1999-2001. That international expedition followed the ancient great migration route from Altay to the Hungarian Danube. The expedition was a response to the call by President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev to create the Eurasian Union.
The International Cultural Tourism Forum was held in St. Petersburg on Oct. 11-12 through the initiative of the Ministry of Culture of Russia and supported by the Interparliamentary Assembly of the Commonwealth of Independent States.