Uzbekistan deserts

Deserts in Uzbekistan: general description – climate, kingdom of plants and animals in Uzbekistan deserts

About 75 % of Uzbekistan land is taken up by the greatest world deserts – the Kyzyl-Kum, the Usturt plateau, the Mirzachol (“Golodnaya” steppe – barren steppe) and a new desert in Uzbekistan – Aralkum. The wind and the broiling sun in the deserts of Uzbekistan are masters.

Everything is original, unique and grandiose; a sharply continental climate was notable for its extremes. Twenty-four-hours fluctuations of the temperature in the deserts of Uzbekistan are so great that some day one may see the four seasons of the year. The most torrid places of Uzbekistan are in the Kyzyl-Kum, where the mercury column jumps up to 52 (by Celsius) degrees in the shade, and the sand becomes heated up to 80 – 85 degrees. In such a natural brazier you may not only warm up dinner but even bake eggs. There are about 300 sunny days a year in Uzbekistan. In Uzbekistan deserts in winter it snows little or does not snow at all, the frosts are weak. In spring first rains fall in the desert (80–90 mm per year). The sands drink life-giving moisture and tender green grass suckers stretch up. In a short space of time the desert becomes a bright carpet embroidered by nature. Everything is covered with old saxaul, scarlet poppies, timid tulips, white-yellow daisies. The bushes of calligonum put on red and crimson sarafans. Saxaul, acacia, ephedra break into blossom, the desert gets the wonderful gamut of colours. Unwittingly you may address a question to yourself:”Where is the desert?” Only with the help of a mighty binocular you may find two-seven kilometer chains of bleak asymmetrical sand-hills, which comprise 10% of the whole territory of sand desert.

Deserts in Uzbekistan general description

What is the source of life for desert vegetation? They say: Where there is sand there is water. The sand like a zealous master hides every water drop of rain or snow from hot sunny rays into deep underground store-rooms. There are invisible lakes and seas of fresh and half-freshwater, the depth point of which is hundred and more meters under the deserts on the territory of Uzbekistan. In the lowlands with ground water there appear saline soils (solonchaks) which resemble fresh snow by their whiteness.

In spring sanguineous life is in full swing day and night in the desert. For two or three spring months it is filled with singing of nesting birds, rustle of Central Asian tortoises, desert round-headed lizards. The coming of spring into the desert is only a splash of plants’ blooming before cruel, withering, intense heat which becomes settled then for long months.

Deserts in Uzbekistan

With the coming of summer the nature in the deserts of Uzbekistan becomes torpid. Central Asian tortoises, yellow and small-toothed gophers fall into hibernation till the next spring because of the lack of succulent grass. Only long-clawed ground gophers are afraid of neither hot summer, nor frosty winter. They are awake the whole year round. If you watch the sandy desert in Uzbekistan more carefully, you may see extremely original life on its vast territory. Animals and plants possess historically worked out heat regulation mechanisms, which secure them supportable temperature and water rate. In order to stand heat the plants have a mighty root system, penetrating into a depth of even 15 meters, with the radius up to 30 meters. The leaves are as a rule small. Many plants have no leaves at all. Such plants are less heated, they keep water for a long time. The animals also accommodate themselves to the desert rigorous life. Most of them, mainly reptiles, manage without any water, getting it from organic food in insignificant quantities.

You can have the unforgettable trip to the deserts of Uzbekistan within tours by Peopletravel Company. You will have a great chance and take pictures of deserts of Uzbekistan which will remind landscapes of Uzbekistan deserts.

List of deserts in Uzbekistan

List of deserts in Uzbekistan

Kyzyl-Kum desert

The desert is the largest desert in Uzbekistan. The name of the Kyzyl-Kum desert is translated as “Red Sands”. The sands have a red colour, because these sands were formed by the way of weathering and blowing of basic sandy sedimentations.

The Kyzyl-Kum desert in the North-West is bounded by the Aral Sea, in the North-East – the Syrdarya River, in the East – the Tien-Shan and Pamir-Alay mountain spurs, in the South-West – the Amudarya River. The area of the desert is approximately 300 thousand of square kilometers.

Kyzyl-Kum desert

The Kyzyl-Kum desert is a prairie with relict mountains and folded rocks of the paleozoic era.  The mass of the desert is take up by sandy hills, the height of which reaches 75 meters.  The plain part of the Kyzyl-Kum consists of clays and sandstones. In the North-West and North there are riverine sedimentations of ancient channels of the Syrdarya and Amudarya rivers, once fell into the Aral Sea.

The largest desert in Uzbekistan – Kyzyl-Kum is rich with scantily explored historical sites. So, one of such sites are the ruins of the castles of ancient Khorezm, the culture of which is comparable with other developed nations of the world ancient, yet poorly researched. The main part of the ruins is situated in the Kyzyl-Kum desert. Hypothetically, there are about 300 fortresses, which are had not been dug yet.  The most significant fortresses are Ayaz-Kala, Toprak-Kala and Kyzyl-Kala.

Usturt plateau

The Usturt plateau, one of the deserts of Uzbekistan, is located in the Nort-West of the Turan low place. Today the plateau is rising above the plain at 180 – 300 meters. In the South-West the plateau has the separate ranges, resembling small mountain ridges. This part of the plateau is called Bozjira. It is the highest and beautiful part. There are no rivers and lakes on the Usturt plateau.

The Usturt plateau, the mysterious desert in Uzbekistan, is the amazing place on the Earth. For many centuries the Usturt plateau was the crossing of civilizations. It saved the remains of the Scythians, Mongolians and more ancient nations. The ways of great migrations ran across the deserted paths of the plateau.

Usturt plateau

The archeological sites are the part of the plateau Usturt. In ancientry the caravan ways crossed the plateau. So, the roads of Khorezm-shakhs connected Khiva with the downloads of the Emba and Volga. And as a result the border between Europe and Asia is this geological formation. Numerous old cemeteries with majestic mausoleums-mazaars (tombs of the saints) are spread along the whole territory of the plateau. It is known, that there are about 60 Neolithic stands on the Usturt plateau.

The Usturt desert on the territory of Uzbekistan can be characterized as a rocky plaster desert. Such soil unfavorably affects the development of vegetation. A great deal of animals and plants are included in Red Books.  Such animals as saigas (Asian antelope), goitered gazelles, susliks (ground squirrel), jerboas, tolai hares, foxes, corsacs and wolves inhabit this place.


Mirzachol is located at the foothills of the ranges of the Western part of the Turkestan and Nuratau ridges. It stretches to the North and North-East till the Ferghana valley, and in the North-West it is joined with the Kyzyl-Kum desert. It’s area takes about 10 thousand square kilometers.

Mirzachol is a clay desert on the territory of Uzbekistan. Plants get melt water and atmospheric precipitation having no resources to get moisture through the clay layer. Mirzachol – barren steppe, or Golodnaya steppe got its name owing to the fact that during a small amount of precipitation, dry air and high temperatures, there is a strong evaporation and drying of the soil, which perniciously influences on the cultivation of cotton and other crops. So, appeared a great need in sewage farms.



The development of irrigation of Mirzachol has a long history. The first attempts to flooding have been undertaken in the middle of the last century. Melioration of Mirzachol is a set of activities aimed primarily at salinization of soil.

Mirzachol was watered. This made it possible to transform the barren desert on the territory of Uzbekistan into a large area of cotton.


Aralkum is a new desert in Uzbekistan which was formed on the place of the Aral Sea. The Aralkum desert has a sandy saline ground. The problem of the drying Aral Sea came into existence at the beginning of 60-s. The analysis of the history of the Aral Sea in the past 40 years allows researchers to conclude that the sea has dried half. Today the area of the Aralkum desert is estimated in 38 thousand square kilometers.


The flora of the Aralkum desert counts 34 families of plants with 134 sorts and 300 types.

There is an interesting fact. Over the last thousand years the Aral Sea dried out not less than three times. It happened in the X, XIV and XX centuries. And there is a hope that the Aral Sea will appear in all its originality.

Useful information during visiting the deserts of Uzbekistan

Going on a tour of the deserts in Uzbekistan with Peopletravel company you should follow next directions.

Your footwear should be comfortable and hardwearing. Your clothes should satisfy the temperature conditions in the deserts of Uzbekistan. In daytime it would be better to wear light clothes made of cotton, and in nighttime more warm clothes will come very opportunely. It will be also advisable to have sunglasses, a light headdress and sunscreen.

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