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Road from Nukus (Uzbekistan) to Atyrau (Kazakhstan)
I am planning on travelling from Nukus in Uzbekistan to Aktau on the Caspian Sea in Kazakhstan so that I can get the ferry from Aktau down to Baku in Azerbijan and from there into Iran. I was originally planning on travelling through Turkmenistan to Iran, but Turkmenistan (for reasons know only to Turkmenbashi himself!) have decided to close their doors to foreigners for all of the month of October and so I now have to re-plan my route.
I have been told that there is a road (of sorts) which follows the railway line from Nukus to Aktau and while I have heard that it is just about do'able I wondered whether anyone had taken that route or had any knowledge of it first hand.
Tomorrow morning I'm leaving to Pamirs and can tell you that being very interested in news from 'Stans I never heard of anyone taking the route you're thinking about. Also, I saw a question like yours already asked on HUBB without _any_ reply.
I have an atlas of former Soviet Union published 2003 by Trivium, Belarus and it does show a border crossing on that road. I would recommend that you call some Uzbek embassy and ask if there really is a border crossing AND if it is a multinational one! Without such crossing, road conditions do not matter... If there is railway-only border crossing, check an option to load your bike on a train.
If all this fails, to get south of Caucasus would require driving to a Russian port on the Black Sea and taking a ferry to Georgia or Turkey... You probably know that the road between Aralsk and Aktiubinsk (Aqtobe) and from Aktiubinsk to Astrakhan is pretty poor, see pictures at: http://www.cologne-shanghai.de/
Thanks for that. It was actually David Berghof at Stantours here in Almaty who receommended that we take that route. I have just spoken with him again this afternoon and he tells me that he knows of a lot of people (in cars only!) who have done that route and he tells me that although there is no where to get petrol en-route (!!) he thinks that it is more or less do'able by bike and that in any event it is a fairly (relatively speaking) well travelled road and so you are bound to come accross people should anything happen!
As for the border issue David tells me that he does not think that there is any formal border point as such, but that you need to find the customs guy (there is just one guy by all accounts) in the last Kazakh town you pass through (I can't remember its name) and ask him to stamp you out of Kazakhastan. You then pass through a couple of hundred kilometres of no-man's land before you get to the first Uzbek town (again I don't know its name) and there you need to find the one Uzbek customs guy in that town who will stamp you into Uzbekekistan, but only once he has checked with his Kazakh counterpart that you really do come from Kazakh - this is bascially done by him calling the Kazakh guy sho stamped you out of the country and asking him whether you're genuine. It all sounds pretty hit and miss and so as I type we are currently looking into other alternatives - watch this space!
Enjoy the Pamirs - we are heading there from Krgystan once we get out of Almaty - maybe see you up there.
Very detailed info! I used to think to take this road because it would be very cool to drive the very same E40 from Krakow to Pamirs, wouldn't it??? but never heard about anyone doing it and decided it must undoable.
There will be quite a meeting Sept. 14th in Bishkek. I will come from Poland on a motorcycle and 6 machines more will arrive on a trailer to speed up things for those in a hurry. Then we will wander around Kiryzstan, then take The Pamir Highway, then Samarqand and Bukhara and back home about Oct. 1st. We will not visit Almaty.
Our itinerary is pretty fixed, see if it fits to meet you and let me know.
i'm in ulan bator where i've met some people who did the london-ub rally. mainly cars but a couple of motorbikes too. rules are they must be 125cc or less! met tommy who just got his license a couple of days before leaving the uk and made it all the way here on some korean p.o.s. he took the ferry from baku to aktau, then rode down thru uzbekistan. he said he put his bike in a truck for a few hundred kms, but that it is doable. he also said there is no gas for a long time, but they got through. i will probably give that route a go myself next month.
I have no info on this road, but David Berghof usually has his finger on the pulse. I rode the main track west from Aktubinsk in November 2004 and it was atrocious, i think the condition of the roads in that region are largely dependent on the weather, if it's dry you shouldn't have a problem, but if it rains the dirt turns to slippery, sticky clay, very difficult to ride on (especially on an R65 with street tyres).
Check out www.hotkey.net.au/~howmans for a story and photos of this.
I m gonna try this route. Has anyone done it recently?
2 months ago ... its fine ... the direction you are coming from will be about 80 km of unsealed road just before the border, then about the same amount to Beyneu in KZ.
There is no petrol after Kungrad ('Qonghirat' on some maps) in UZ ... so you need about 350km range to get from Kungrad to Akjigit in KZ ... where they have 80 octane, or about 400 km to get to Beyneu where there is 93 and sometimes 96.
Fuel in north-west UZ is tricky after Nukus ... most stations are gas only. Uzbekistan has loads of gas but no oil ... so many cars in the northwest are converted to LP gas and getting proper fuel is tough. Best bet is to ask around for blue Turkmen benzin.
In Beyneu there is a good guy who welcomes bike travellers ... he has a guesthouse / service station on the edge of Beyneu. The guys name is 'Alyosha' and he is a former soviet enduro champion. His place is a regular stop off point for Russian and Kazakh bikers travelling the road to UZ. To find him, from the direction you are coming ... the road in from the border takes you past an old railway yard with abandoned steam trains ... eventually you cross the railway tracks on the northern edge of town and immediately there is a roundabout with a police post. If you go straight ahead you are going towards Aktau, if you turn left you head in to Beyneu itself and if you turn right at the roundabout (towards Atyrau), about 100-150 metres down the road there is a dusty old stoyanka (parking lot) full of old buses and GAZelles (like a russian ford transit van) ... thats the spot. Drive in there and ask for Alyosha.
Thanks a lot. Useful information. And even more, Alyosha is also one of the Karamazov Brothers from the Tolstoy novel. It sounds promising. I have a good friend and we use to call each other (specially when drunk) "Alyosha, my brother", remembering his usual phrase on the story.
But how about the border? I read here that one should look for the customs guys in the last Uzbk town and in the first one in Kaz.
Anyway, I probably go to Turkmenistan and trying to get ferry at Turkmenbashi, but you never know till the end what is gonna happen.
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