Land of Saiga

Day 1.

Arrival to Rostov-on Don, the capital of Southern Russia.

Day 2.

Morning sightseeing tour in Rostov-on-Don (visit Embankment, Central market and historical area). Departure to Orlovskiy district (to the east of Rostov region).
Excursion to the Center of Rare animals (Association "Living Nature of the Steppes") in khutor (village) Koundruchenskiy.

Day 3.

Morning visit to the visit-centre of nature biosphere reserve "Rostovskiy". Tour to the steppes, to the salt lakes, birdwatching, wild animals: saigas, bustards, ostrich.

Day 4.

Morning road across the steppe to Elista, a capital of the Kalmyk Republic. Sightseeing tour in Elista. The Kalmyks, who migrated to Russia from China in the 18th century, are Mongols and they practice Tibetan Buddhism. We will visit the main temple in the centre of the city, the huge Golden Temple and several stupas and monuments.

Day 5.

Leave Elista in the morning. The remainder of the day is at the Centre of Wild Animals in Yashkul, where we will see saiga in enclosures. Birdwatching (birds of prey and their nests), observing wild steppes, sand dunes, artesian springs. In the afternoon -a visit to a nearby lake, or a chance to stroll in the steppe.

Day 6.

Morning activity in the area surrounding the Centre of Wild Animals, transfer to the Volga Delta region. Stop at the village of Khulkhutta to see the memorial marking the Russian-German front in the World War II.

Day 7.

Full day exploring the Volga Delta down towards the Caspian Sea. The coach will take us to where we will embark on a boat for a fairly leisurely cruise through the lush maze of channels, islands and lotus fields (August, the beginning of September), home to a wide diversity of bird life.

Day 8.

Full day exploring Stepnoi in the wild steppes. Birdwatching (birds of prey and their nests), observing wild steppes. We may encounter saigas.

Day 9.

Morning departure to Astrakhan. City-tour in Astrakhan, a former capital of the Khanate of Astrakhan. It is a pleasant city of canals and tree-lined streets as well as some lovely old traditional wooden houses. The Tatar presence is still highly visible in the faces in the streets and numerous old mosques in the Tatar quarter. The old city walls were removed a long time ago, but the impressive Kremlin with the Cathedral of the Assumption and other buildings inside remained. We will also visit the old merchants' quarter and merchants' houses.

Day 10.

Transfer to the airport.

Open your Russia with "SAGA VOYAGES"!