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Yurt camp: A night in the desert
We didn’t stay in Nurata itself but used it as a jumping off point for our brief visit to the Kyzyl Kum Desert and our night sleeping in a traditional yurt. I’ve written elsewhere on this page about other aspects of our stay in the camp, so here I want to focus mainly on the accommodation and facilities.
The yurts are constructed in the traditional style, with collapsible lattice frame walls, a roof of branches, and the whole covered in felt. As the weather was hot, the sides of ours were partially rolled back, as you can see in my photo, to allow the cool air to come in!) The floor was covered with felt too, and from the roof hung colourful mobiles (see photo 3). We slept on mattresses, which I found a little thin, and were provided with a cotton sheet and coverlet. I used the latter to augment the mattress to give me a softer base – which is maybe why I noticed the cool breeze later!
But I’m going too fast. Before then we’d had an interesting journey in an old soviet bus (see my Transportation tip) and been welcomed with green tea and sweetmeats. We’d had a ride on a camel (also under Transportation ;) ), a good meal (a Restaurant tip, of course!) and a lovely evening stargazing by the campfire.
There are some things you need to be aware of if contemplating a night in a camp like this. It isn’t a five-star hotel ;) As well as the slight discomfort of the rough ground not very far beneath you, you need to be prepared to share your yurt with others – Chris and I shared with the only other couple in our group, while the others were in groups of 4 or 5 in single-sex yurts. And a yurt doesn’t come with an en-suite bathroom! The washing facilities at the camp consisted of two open-air basins (photo 4) and two basic shower cubicles (photo 5), all fed with water from tanks perched above them, warmed by the sun. The two toilets are “long drop” ones, situated on two dunes a short climb either side of the camp – fine in the daylight, a bit of a challenge to find at bedtime (we went in a small group with several torches between us) and a real concern to those of us (thankfully not me at that stage) who were suffering from the side-effects of Uzbek cuisine and needed to climb those dunes several times in the night.
Please don’t let any of the above put you off a stay here if you get the chance. This was a very special part of our holiday, and I for one wouldn’t have missed it for anything! Sleeping here was a magical experience, especially when I awoke at about 4 to see a thin crescent moon through the lattice, and got up at 5.30 to find myself the only one awake in the camp …
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