The district center of Zaamin lies 75 kilometers southeast of Djizak. The second-largest town in the medieval principality of Usrushana, Zaamin stands at the edge of the parched steppe before the slopes that lead to Tajikistan. The road to the mountains passes a number of Young Pioneer camps before climbing a ridge above a beautiful hill-ringed reservoir. Beyond stretches 47,000 hectares of national park, established in 1926 as the first nature reserve in the country.
The road winds with the Zaamin river up through apricot orchards, on towards juniper-green mountain slopes. The main visitor center is based here. For local day-trippers, the dacha and surroundings is Zaamin, but the real spectacle lies over nearby Suffa Pass, where alpine, meadows climb to 4,000-meter peaks like Shaukartau and triple-headed Tokalichuk. Trail routes cover 150 kilometers of great diversity, from the river canyons of Kulsai and Guralash to mountain passes over 3,000 meters.
Spring and summer boast the brightness of red tulips and white acacias, while autumnal gold shines from hazelnut and birch trees. Some 700 plant species and 30 medicinal herbs have been studied here, while there are 40 species of mammal and 150 types of bird, including the endangered Turkestan lynx, snow leopard and Asiatic black bear. Remote Chortangi gorge is home to the rare bearded vulture and the black stork, driven almost to extinction. Visitors are more likely to spot a squirrel-like tree dormouse, a porcupine or badger at twilight, and hear the startled cries of a partridge, nuthatch or bluebird.