"Aidarkul Lake" Nurata Off The Beaten Path Tip by toonsarah
Nurata Off The Beaten Path: 6 reviews and 19 photos
On the morning after our night in the camp we headed to Lake Aidarkul, which seems to be standard practice on all these tours. Opinions in our group about this were rather mixed, with some of us enjoying the interlude in the intensive sightseeing, and others regretting that it gave us less time in Samarkand. I think it depended on whether you found something there to appeal to you. If like me and a few others you were keen to swim it was great, and if like Chris you fancied a walk and a chance to see the desert scenery from somewhere other than out of the bus window, it was also good.
But this isn’t really a place to come to simply relax – there is no shade, and although an awning was set up for us to sit under, it was rather small, so those who wanted peace and quiet to read, write up their journal or just unwind would have found the chatter of the others distracting. I however really enjoyed my swim – see my Sports tip for more about it if you fancy doing the same yourself. Our visit concluded with a picnic lunch that had been provided by the Kazaks at the yurt camp – salads, cold potatoes, bread, watermelon, with bottled water and green tea to drink.
The Lake itself is man-made – a result of water supply projects in the area in the early 1970s (resulting in the Sirdarya river overflowing from the Chardarinskaya Reservoir). It is over 200 km long and in some places as much as 15 km wide – enough that you can’t see the far side. The bay where we swam was fairly uninteresting to look at, apart from the pretty green rushes captured in Chris’s photo (no. 3), but elsewhere I’ve read that it attracts a lot of birds such as cormorants, pelicans and herons – I would have liked to have visited that part. It’s also well-stocked with fish, and indeed fishing is the main industry in this region, apart maybe from tourism as more and more travellers choose to spend a night (or more) in one of these yurt camps as part of their Uzbekistan experience.
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