While off-the-beaten-track destinations appeal to many in this new era of exploration and experiential travel, hesitation to venture to a new country or even continent is still to be expected. For those nervous of embarking on an intrepid adventure alone, opting to travel with like-minded travelers with the support of a trusted tour operator, experienced English-speaking guides and local representatives, and comfortable hotels, can provide that all-important reassurance.
Air Astana, the principal airline and flag carrier of the Republic of Kazakhstan, has recently been selected to provide return flights between London Heathrow and Almaty for all 2024 departures of Jules Verne’s “Peaks & Petroglyphs” tour.
Starting from £2,545pp, this 10-night itinerary encompasses the landscapes, history, culture and diversity of two Central Asian countries. With three departures in 2024, this is a chance for travelers to step out of their comfort zone and get to know a region largely unfamiliar to the West.
As part of this trip, travelers will visit both countries’ answers to the Egyptian hieroglyphs. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Tamgaly is a petroglyph site in the Almaty region of Kazakhstan. With approximately 5,000 petroglyphs at the site, the lithic tapestry is a timeline of works from the Bronze and Iron Ages right through to the Middle Ages and modern times.
Early engravings depicting solar deities, sacrificial practices and primitive hunting techniques and more modern glyphs depicting more developed hunting practices and war tactics show a clear progression of nomadic life in Kazakhstan and Central Asia.
And the Saka-Usun in Kyrgyzstan, affectionately known as “the stone garden”, depicts drawings of animals and scenes from hunts, wars, and sacrificial rituals. These petroglyphs are located at Cholpon-Ata, a town on the Lake Issyk-Kul, a spot of natural beauty.
Nomads never stay in one place for long, but they don’t leave without first making fond memories of the regions they explored.
To book a place on Jules Verne’s “Peaks and Petroglyphs” tour which includes daily breakfast, nine nights’ accommodation, nine lunches, six dinners, services of guides and representatives, a comprehensive itinerary and return flights with Air Astana, visit www.vjv.com. Departure dates are 9 May, 6 June, and 12 September.