Water, wind and man have eroded and carved Cappadocia’s soft rock, leaving a wonderland of deep canyons and fantastically shaped rocks. From prehistoric times, civilizations have flourished here and the Hittites, Persians, early and Byzantine Christians, Mongols, Greeks and Ottomans have all left evidence of their passage. Cappadocia, ‘the land of beautiful horses’, a name given by the Persians when they saw the wild mountain ponies of the region, is unique. It is listed World Heritage by UNESCO, wild ponies still live on the slopes of the Erciyes Volcano and churches, houses and dovecots are carved into the rocks. The numerous canyons and deep gorges are amazing to explore by horse and you will negotiate narrow paths, canter over steppe and explore winding canyons on horses whose endurance and agility may surprise you. At night you will be welcomed with traditional Turkish hospitality in comfortable guesthouses and pensions, in camps set up in different locations or if you choose the Pasha Ride, a higher level of accommodation and an extra level of service.
Another exciting option is the Mountains of Antalya Ride, exploring southern Turkey's Taurus Mountains and new for 2019 The Cappadocian Great Ride. Please contact us for details.
Rides are run for 6 or 7 nights from set dates between April and October. Please see dates below and contact us to discuss availability.
Riding: 4-6 hours a day.
Horses: Arab and Arab cross.
Pace: moderate; slow in places due to rugged, hilly terrain but chances to canter most days
Riding ability: confident novice to experienced riders (confident intermediate and above only for Capadocia Adventure Rides).
Weight limit: 90kg (14 st 2lbs)
Accommodation: different options - comfortable guesthouses / simple 2∆ camps / 3* hotels, boutique hotels.
Group size: max 7 or 8 (max 10 for camping rides).
Season: April to October (camping possible May to September only)
Horses: The horses used for these rides are locally bred, mainly Arab and Arab crosses, several of which are used for endurance. They are generally between 14.2 and 15.2hh, are keen and forward going but also adaptable, calm and well suited to the terrain. Maclellan saddles are used, similar to a western style saddle and comfortable for long hours. They are fitted with cruppers, breastplates and saddle bags are provided. The horses are mostly ridden in snaffles (some pelhams) and are used to light contact. There is a strict rider weight limit of 90kg / 14st 2lbs.
Hours: There is usually between 4 and 6 hours riding a day with breaks for rests and lunch. On one day you usually ride only in the morning with the afternoon free to visit the some of the fascinating villages on foot. Tailormade itineraries are possible for private groups.
Pace and experience required: The rides are at a moderate pace overall, with some slow sections due to hilly terrain (some quite steep mountain tracks which dictate a slow place and a bit of road work through towns and villages) but there are also some lovely long and energetic canters along valley floors, winding between towering rock formations and along paths between wheat fields - so you need to be an intermediate rider or above to take part. Tailormade rides can be organised on request for those who wish to adapt riding hours / pace. The Cappadocia Adventure Rides require the highest level of ability and riding fitness although you need a good level of general fitness for all rides due to their sporty nature. There is some walking on all routes; on Cappadocia Adventure and camping rides there are times you lead horses up and down steep hills and you need to be able to mount / dismount unassisted; on Pasha Rides the route is adapted so you lead very occasionally and extra help is on hand.
Accommodation is either in local guesthouses, simple camps (with some nights in guesthouses) or, on Pasha Rides, there is the option for more comfort, staying in stylish 'boutique' hotels with extra facilities. Standard and Delux levels of room are available on these rides. Guesthouses are all carefully chosen for their character; some are very traditional family run Turkish guesthouses and most are typical of the region, with rooms carved into the rock "troglodyte" style. Rooms usually have private bathrooms and ride rates are based on twin / double occupancy. If you would like a single room these can be arranged subject to availability for a small supplement. Camping accommodation is simple - 2 man 'teepee' sleeping tents with a waterproof groundsheet, rugs and 2" thick mattresses supplied. You need your own sleeping bag and are expected to put up / take down your tent. There is a central 'mess' tent, again in traditional nomadic style with kilims and rugs on the floor and low Turkish 'chai' tables. A 'shower' tent is set up for the group. Loos are open air!
Cappadocia Adventure - Low season 1250 Euros; Mid season 1375 Euros; High season 1475 Euros
Cappadocia Adventure (7 nights)
|Itinerary in brief - Cappadocla Adventure Ride. Please ask us for other itineraries
We recommend a night in Istanbul before the ride and can arrange this / book hotels etc.
|Day 1||Airport shuttle service from Kayseri to Ortahisar. Dinner and night at a guesthouse in Ortahisar.|
||After breakfast, you will be driven about 10 minutes to meet the horses. A brief introduction, saddle up and trial ride arond the farm, then set off riding aong the stream of the Uzengi Canyon and to Avlak mountain with a wonderful view. Canter on the plateau then a picnic lunch. Afternoon riding to Akkoy village. Night guesthouse in Akkoy.|
||Breakfast, prepare the horses and the day starts with a canter on the high Anatolian plateau. 20 minute decent on foot to Damsa lake. Lunch cooked on a woodfire, a swim in the lake if it is hot (with your horse), then canter on soft clay to the village of Ayvali. Dinner and night Ayvali.|
||Ride to the underground village of Golgoli, off the beaten track winding through rock formations, vineyards and orchards, Arrive in the old Greek village of Mustafapasa, climbing to a high plateau where there is chance for an exhilarating canter before riding back to the guesthouse in Ayvali. Lunch in Mustafapasa or by the pool in Ayvali depending on the weather.|
|Day 5||Riding away from the guesthouse, you can enjoy the variety of tracks, farmland and open spaces of Subasi before visiting a second, different underground village, Kirkule. Á long canter to the fairy chimneys of the Gomeda Valley and then lunch at a good local restaurant. After lunch climb the twin hills of Cappadocia and ride towards the village of Uchisar though canyons of multicoloured rocks and fairy chimneys. Dinner and night Uchisar.|
||Optional hot air balloon flight (approx 200 euros, always weather dependant) then ride through the 4kms long canyon, Green Valley. Detour through the famous Love Valley with its gigantic phallic rock formations and then into Sword Valley and Red Valley. With its citadels of red, pink and ochre rock and beautiful troglodytic churches, this is Cappadocia's most spectacular ensemble. Lunch in an ancient monastry, exploring again in the afternoon and ending with a long canter back to the guesthouse in Uchisar at sun set. Dinner and night|
||Breakfast and a final day's ride through White Valley., named after the colour of its rock. Stone labyrinths, towering fairy chimneys, another Love Valley ....then a short walk to the plateau of Boz and finally ride along sandy tracks, past orchards and gardens of Urgup to get back to the farm for tea. An optional Haman, steam bath and massage in Urgup before dinner and night at the guesthouse .|
||Breakfast and shuttle transfer back to Kayseri airport for onward flight.|
|Contact us at email@example.com or on tel (+44) (0)1837-82544 / 825440 for further information, detailed itineraries, dates and answers to questions.|
The start point for the rides is Kayseri airport (Konya airport for Antalya Ride). You need to fly to Istanbul and then take an internal flight to Kayseri / Konya. If possible we recommend a night or two in Istanbul before the ride to explore the city and be sure flight connections work. For flights from London budget around £400 to £500 economy return (varies with season and availability).