Vira Natura

Moonflowers, Junos & Turbans

13 - 23 April 2020
From $3,575.00 per person

 
As the snows of winter recede the magnificent landscapes of Kyrgyzstan awaken with a kaleidoscope of bulbs from stands of the Moonflower Fritillaria eduardii and stately Eremurus alberti. Oceans of stunningly patterned Papaver pannonicum are matched by vast drifts of Corydalis ledebouriana and turf painted gold with Colchicum luteum. The Kyrgyz name for tulip is turban and these range from the sumptuous cerise cups of Tulipa rosea to red-and-yellow Tulipa tetraphylla or the pretty stars of Tulipa tarda. Irresistible irises add to the rich mix including the blue of Iris zenaidae, egg-yolk yellow I. orchidoides and the delightful slender lilac of I. kolpakowskianum.  The undiscovered gem of Central Asia. 

Day 1        To Bishkek

Our journey to Kyrgyzstan sees us arriving in the early hours of day 2.

Day 2        Batken Fritillary Reserve

Following our early arrival we take a short internal flight to Batken. There will be time after arrival for a late breakfast. Among nearby cliffs are thriving stands of the impressive Fritillaria eduardii, known locally as Aigul, which means Moonflower – alluding to the silvery round nectaries inside the flowers. A scattering of Tulipa korolkowiiLeontice eversmannii and various gageas accompany them. They are well protected inside their reserve, which is patrolled by nimble school kids who chatise any adults guilty of picking! Nearby stony mounds have the unique reddish-pink of Tulipa rosea, a delight growing in austere surroundings.

Day 3        To Osh

Stony valleys have a selection of interesting steppic plants and the flat lands have vast carpets of Papaver pannonicum, creating a sea of scarlet. Growing with them are stands of Ixiolirion, purple Romeria hybrida, the attractive gold and purple of Arnebia guttata and its’ unusual cousin pink and blue A. obovata. Earthy slopes have a fine population of the beautiful flesh-pink Eremurus alberti.

Day 4        To Toktogul

A long day, but one with rewards. The rocky hills harbour the beautiful lilac-blue of Iris zenaidae, mingling with red and yellow Tulipa tetraphylla, domes of white-flowered Vinca erecta and the robust golden spikes of Phlomoides speciosa. Great billowing swathes of Crambe tartaricum turn the slopes white as stands of golden-spired foxtail lilies colour the rocks. We also hope to find the lovely Iris rodenkoi. There are larger displays of tulips further along and north-facing slopes with the fiesty bronzy-green flowered Fritillaria severzowii, as well as some fine vistas of the mountainous landscape that typify the country.

Day 5        Ala Bel

Amazing massed displays are the order of today, beginning with big stands of Fritillaria severzowii and Solenanthus circinnatusCorydalis glaucescens speckle the slopes at times alongside Colchicum kesselringianum and Tulipa dasystemon, other times with its’ cousin Corydalis ledebouriana. The latter occurs in vast drifts higher up, creating carpets of pink and yellow with the myriad gageas. The golden cups of Colchicum luteum appear closer to the snow and number in their countless thousands.

Day 6        The road to Mount Manas

Dry mounds have Iris subdecolorata and a gorge flanked by rocky slopes has the gorgeous Iris orchoides and Tulipa turkestanica. Climbing higher open shrubberies have the lovely Iris kopalkowskianum and beyond towards the snow patches the mountain road climbs high onto the slopes where there are huge populations of Crocus alatavicus and fine views.

Day 7        Tor Ashu

The high passes are still blanketed in snow at this time of year, but descending into broad valleys with grazing horses and magnificent mountain backdrops we will see the first drifts of Colchicum kesselringianum and patches of Tulipa dasystemon. The former occur in vast numbers fringing any area of melting snow on one side of the pass. On the other there are none, but as we descend the slopes begin to colour with the handsome dark-centred yellow and red Tulipa zenaidae.

Day 8        Tomok

Close to the Kazakhstan border the pretty yellow and white stars of Tulipa tarda crowd rocky slopes above a river and the neighbouring hills have large drifts of golden Tulipa tetraphylla and the startling red or yellow (or both) forms of Tulipa ostrowskiana. Hidden among them are the lovely purple flowers of Iris kuschakewiczii and if we are lucky the first spires of Eremurus lactiflorus. A detour into greener, grassier hills finds the feathery leaved Adonis tianshanicus topped with yellow flowers.

Day 9        Departure flights

 

TOUR DATES

13 - 23 April 2020

  

TOUR COST

Per person (twin share): 3575 USD

Deposit 535 USD

Single supplement 150 USD

Included:

  • Accommodation
  • All food
  • Ground transport
Not included:
  •  Flights
  • Travel/Medical Insurance
  • Alcoholic and soft drinks
  • Personal expenses

GROUP SIZE

*Minimum number of participants 5, maximum 12.  


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