Welcome in Turkey where you are invited by Kapadokya Ranch to take part in wonderful horse riding holiday. You will enjoy trail rides with enchanting views of the surrounding. The Bivouac trail is dedicated for you who are fit, active, and autonomous. There will be difficult trails along the way where you will have to get off your horse and lead it and sometimes up steep paths. Experience full nature and evenings by the campfire in the bivouac formula on horseback!
You will stay for three nights in double tipi-tents including floor mats and single camp mattresses, one night in a Turkish family house, one night in troglodyte cave, and two nights in guesthouses in the nearest village (on the arrival night and departure night) in a double or triple room. The camp has a 'shower tent' with a bucket and a gas stove where you can heat the water. Meals will be taken the Turkish way, sitting on a carpet under the communal tent or outside by the campfire.
The number of participants is minimum four riders and maximum ten riders for one guide. Groups are often international.
The riding level is intermediate to confirmed. Riders must be able to tack up and mount their horse unassisted and be reasonably confident on rough terrain and during group canters on forward-going horses.
The riding will run for six days, five to six hours on the back of the horse each day, and 25 kilometers a day on average on varied terrain. The pace is mostly walking with opportunities for trots and canters each day.
Riders must be in a good physical condition. The circuit will include difficult ways where riders will be asked to dismount and lead their horse, sometimes up steep paths, and by hot weather in summer.
The maximum weight is strictly limited to 90 kilograms. Kapadokya Ranch will weigh the riders on arrival. Riders over 90 kilograms will not be allowed on horseback.
At the camp, guests will be required to help with the following things:
Your logistics will be carried by 4x4. Guests will have to move around their luggage often during the week so they should pack several, lighter bags rather than one large, heavy suitcase. You also need to bring one camp aid.
You must have a competent riding level to take part in this trail. The one-week trails are not suitable for novices or low intermediate riders. The horses are forward-going and you must be able to stay in control during group canters. Before coming to Turkey, please go for a few rides outdoor and exercise yourself in order to avoid muscular pain or irritations during the trail.
On the progressive trail, a good physical condition is essential as you will be asked to get off your horse several times a day to walk and sometimes up steep paths. There will be less walking / leading the horses on the Bivouac trail. If you suffer from the heat, please avoid the hottest weeks of the year from mid-July to end of August. Kapadokya Ranch values the horses and is extremely attentive to riders' weight. All riders are systematically weighed on arrival. Riders over 90 kilograms will not be accepted on horseback.
Kapadokya Ranch is owned and managed by French-born Nicolas Guillo. Nicolas decided to make Cappadocia his home over nine years ago and has been organizing horseriding trails since then. He speaks English and Turkish.
The stable is composed of forward-going Anatolian, Arab, and cross-Arab mares who will surprise you with their robustness and their agility. They are small (1,50 meters on average - the ideal size for trailing on tortuous paths). Responsive, well-balanced, and respectful of the rider, they are also extremely sure-footed.
Horses are assigned according to riding levels and riders' preferences but the size and the weight of the rider are also important criteria. Please don't look for boxes or a manège: when they are not on the trail, the horses are grazing in the fields around the farm. The riding equipment includes hackamores and McClellan light trailing saddles. These are fitted with two saddle-bags for you to carry the picnic and personal belongings for the day.
You need to arrive at Erkilet International Airport (ASR). You will be met by your chauffeur and transferred in 50 minutes to your guesthouse in Ortahisar where you will have dinner with your guide.
You will be driven to the ranch in the early morning to meet and choose your horse and get acquainted with the riding equipment. The trail will begin through the lush canyon of Uzengi where abrupt rock walls shelter troglodytic citadels of dovecotes. After your first gallop on the sandy tracks, your stop for lunch will be in the natural rock circus of Taslik. From there, a muleteer track carved in the rock will lead you to the ancient village of Mustafapaşa. You will spend the afternoon riding through expanses of steppe-like bare lands surrounding Lake Damsa. You will have the opportunity to swim with your horse. In the evening, you will reach the camp in the shady woods of the Valley of Cemece.
You will ascend the Plateau of Avlak for a magnificent encompassing view of Cappadocia. In the background, there stands majestic Erciyes volcano. After a canter on the plateau's larger tracks, you will stop for lunch on a cliff overlooking the Valley of Karlik. After more trots and canters on the plateau, you will ride down to the Valley of Cemil. As the sun is slowly setting, you will pass through orchards and vineyards to reach the camp near the remote village of Cemilkoy.
Following a track left by the muleteers on the flank of the mountain, you will reach a vast rocky plateau overlooking the south of Cappadocia. From the top of the cliff, the view is breathtaking. You will descend through a lush valley planted with woods where you will stop for a morning break. You will ride through the green countryside crossing narrow streams, winding your way through gardens and orchards.
For lunch, you will stop in the village of Ayvali where a lunch is waiting for you in front of a swimming pool. In the afternoon, leisure will be in front of the pool. Later, the land turns into wide open, bare spaces where shepherds lead their flock aided by the impressive Kangal dogs. After a last gallop on the steppe, you will arrive at the camp where dinner will be cooking on the woodfire.
You will begin from the Valley of Sorkumlu. There are areas so narrow that they form a deep canyon with out-of-the-way troglodytic treasures. You may visit the underground village of Kirkule. Then, you will gallop on a long sandy path lined with orchards and gardens, still cultivated by the locals using horses or mules. In the green field, you will stop for lunch surrounded by walls of soft colorful rock where the horses can rest and graze. In the afternoon, you will continue over rolling hills of white tufa leading you up to a rock pinnacle embracing Cappadocia's most beautiful valleys.
You will sneak your way through the rocky labyrinths, tunnels, and arches of the splendid Green Valley. You will admire the valley's strangely shaped pink rock formations. You will pass the fancy fairy chimneys of the aptly named Love Valley before reaching the guest house in Göreme, a friendly local family welcomes you (hot shower, clean WC, staying in dormitory, and single room are on request).
You may enjoy an optional hot-air balloon flight in the early morning: travel with the wind over Cappadocia's magical landscape at sunrise. After crossing Uchisar and the pigeon valley, you will enter the White Valley. You will take a short morning break among its fantastic rock formations. Through a narrow path carved in the rock, you will reach the plateau again for a wild gallop and break for lunch in the village of Cavusin in front of a fantastic panorama. Later, a scenic path carved in the red rock of Mount Boztepe will lead you to the famous rock formations of Paşabaği.
After a long canter across the plain of Avanos, you will ride along the crests overlooking the forest of fairy chimneys in Devrent Valley. You will dismount to ascend the Boz Tepe Mountain in order to reach the mausoleum of local saint Alil Dede. From his resting place, you can have a 360-degree view over Cappadocia. You will then descend through the maze of tracks and paths up the crests and down the canyons of the Red Valley. With its citadels of red, pink, and ocre rock, this is Cappadocia's most spectacular valley. You will sleep in troglodyte caves and enjoy the sunset.
You will leave the tortuous paths of the Rose Valley to take advantage of larger tracks for a long gallop. You will cross the Valley of Pancarlik and its multicolored rock formations, gardens, and orchards and then canter on the large tracks leading you to the natural rock circus of Taslik. You will stop for a picnic in a shady canyon cut deep in the mountain or have lunch at a restaurant with a swimming pool). In the afternoon, you will sneak your way among the fairy chimneys of Gümüslü Valley and then more fun riding will await you in the narrow corridors and arches of the canyon of Tahtali.
You will ride uphill to reach the crests again and then follow a spectacular, narrow path along a cliff overlooking the canyons. You will return to the ranch in the early afternoon. Depending on the season and availability of the cattle at the ranch, cattle drive, ranch sorting, and cutting will be offered for the rest of the afternoon. After having tea on the terrace, you may have an option to be driven to the hammam in Ürgüp for a relaxing steam bath and massage (free 4x4 transfer). There will be a short transfer back to your guesthouse in Ortahisar and farewell dinner.
After breakfast, you will depart departure to Erkilet International Airport (ASR) for your flight to Istanbul.
Note: You will have a full moon ride on August 24, 2018.
This horse riding trail will take place in Turkey. Turkey has been a secular republic ever since Ataturk came to power in the late 20s. Islam, as it is observed by the very large majority of Turkish people, is moderate and tolerant towards foreign visitors. You cannot eat pork in Turkey. However, the Turks love their raki and you won't have any difficulty finding other alcoholic drinks such as beer and wine. Turkey remains quite traditional and in the most rural areas such as Cappadocia, few women have jobs outside the home or participate in public life. Family in Turkey is sacred and so is hospitality. Wherever you'll go, you can be sure that you will be welcomed with friendliness and dedication even though average living conditions remain modest.
Cappadocia is a 40-square-kilometer wide, giant meringue formed between two and ten million years ago by a couple of hallucinatory volcanoes on the Anatolian plateau. While cooling, the warm ashes turned into layers of ‘tufa’ of varied colors and density. Water, wind, and man have eroded and carved the soft rock, giving birth to a wonderland of deep canyons and fantastically shaped rock formations that are simply unique in the world. From prehistoric times, civilizations have flourished here, and the Hittites, Persians, early and Byzantine Christians, Mongols, Greeks, and Ottomans have left abundant evidence of their passage. Cappadocia is unique, and, as such, is listed World Heritage by UNESCO.
Meals will be on full board basis (breakfast, lunch, and dinner). Vegetarian meals are available on request. Breakfast will be continental. Lunch will be a varied picnic of local specialties that participants carry with them. Meanwhile, dinners usually comprise a main traditional Turkish dish cooked on the woodfire, salad, and fruit. Water, tea, and coffee are included. The other drinks can be ordered and paid to the logistics team in the morning for the evening.
Kayseri Erkilet Airport
Please book your flight to arrive at Erkilet International Airport (ASR). Transfer from and to the airport is included. Kapadokya Ranch will pick you up from the airport.
The driver will wait for you at Erkilet International Airport (ASR) with your name written on a board and will drive you in 50 minutes to your pension. Your guides will join you at 8 p.m. for a welcome dinner. In the morning, the chauffeur will pick you up for the ten-minute drive to the ranch. Meanwhile, for the night arrival, transfer from / to Erkilet International Airport (ASR) will be charged 65 EUR for one way (per car), payable to the driver (in EUR or TRY).
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