Around the world, eco-tourism is most actively developing near specially protected natural areas – national parks and nature reserves. After all, it is there that oases of wild nature, untouched by civilization, are preserved, and even if any human activity is allowed, it is strictly regulated.
In this article, we want to show the top 20 places with the pristine nature of Kazakhstan. Of course, there are more than 20 unique protected areas in Kazakhstan. We will list only the brightest pearls in the necklace of natural attractions in several areas, combining those that are located close to each other.
Akmola region: Burabay and Korgalzhyn
the Main natural attractions of the Akmola region are, of course, the objects of the national natural Park “Burabay” and the lakes of the Korgalzhyn reserve.
1. the Forests and lakes of Burabay are an oasis in the surrounding steppes. Here are found both Northern and southern species of animals, in the forests: deer, elk, ROE deer and others; in the steppe and forest-steppe foxes, korsaks, hares are often found. And let infrequently, but they are quite real to see! Unusual granite rocks of bizarre shapes, as if made of giant slabs. Almost everyone has their own legend, their own name. It is not surprising that this region has long been favored by both Kazakh and foreign tourists, and accessibility is provided by an excellent new road directly from Nur-Sultan. A little more than 250 kilometers – and you are there.
2. Getting to the Tengiz-Korgalzhyn lake system to admire their main decoration pink flamingos is more difficult, the road here is much worse. But it’s worth it! Just need to find a suitable transport. Moreover, there is also a high probability of meeting with a steppe antelope-saiga.
Irgiz-Turgay nature reserve in Aktobe region
3.you can also Observe saigas, representatives of the Betpakdala population, on the territory of the Irgiz-Turgay nature reserve in the Aktobe region. The reserve was created for the conservation and restoration of habitats (wintering, flying, lambing), migration routes of the saiga. In addition, the task of the reserve is to preserve the unique wetlands of the Irgiz-Turgay lake system as one of the places of the greatest concentration of wetland birds during seasonal migrations, fish spawning grounds. The reserve’s lands are listed by the International Union for conservation of nature as wetlands of international significance for the conservation of unique aquatic and near-water bird species. These regions, far from civilization, will be very interesting to naturalists.
Almaty region: from mountain peaks to desert dunes
4. Near the city of Almaty, you just need to visit the Big Almaty lake, which is part of the Ile-Alatau national Park. Yes, the paved road almost to the shore of the lake has made it very visited, and sometimes there is not enough of the usual silence around to fully enjoy the view, however, do not cross the lake from your list of ecomest. It is also still home to rare birds – sickle-billed, and on the slopes of the mountains grow Edelweiss.
5. several interesting natural sites can be visited In the national Park “Altyn-Emel”: the mountains of Aktau, Katutau and the famous “Singing dune”. There are two sandy hills between the peaks of Bolshoy and Maly Kalkan. The southern dune rises 150 meters, the Northern one – 100 meters. The Park is located in desert and mountain areas. It is home to about 80 species of mammals and 260 species of birds. Argali, gazelles and kulans peacefully coexist on the spacious plains and mountain slopes of Altyn-Emel. In addition, for more than a decade, work has been underway to restore an endangered species-the Przewalski horse.
6. Turgen gorge, rich in waterfalls and streams, coniferous and mixed forests, Alpine and subalpine meadows, goes deep for 44 kilometers to the Asa plateau. Walking to the waterfalls is very popular among tourists. The path on foot from the main road to the Bear waterfall is about one kilometer, somewhere in the middle of the way to it, on the opposite slope of the gorge, you can see the Rocky waterfall. After a walk to the waterfalls, you can continue along the powerful Turgen river by car. There is an asphalt road to the village of Batan, then it ends, but the Asa plateau is waiting ahead. After a long ascent along the serpentine, you can enjoy a wonderful view of the plateau-a spacious summer pasture-Zhailau, stretching to the East, towards the Bartogai reservoir for 40 kilometers. Here and there will be summer camps of shepherds. You can even look at them for a Cup of hot fragrant tea.
7. Kolsay lakes are located on the territory of the national Park “Kolsay kolderi” at an altitude of 1818, 2252 and 2850 meters above sea level. Kaindy lake is located 12 kilometer East of the Kolsai lakes and extends over a length of 400 metres. One weekend trip quite possible to visit two of the lower Kolsai lakes and lake Kaindy. Upper Kolsay (the third lake) is located 4 kilometers further from the second one and 600 meters higher. it takes more time and better physical training to get to it. Kolsay is a great place for Hiking, horse riding and mountain Biking.
8. Charyn canyon is one of the most interesting natural objects in the Almaty region. The canyon is made up of sedimentary rocks that are about 12 million years old! At sunset, the walls of the canyon from large deposits of clay turn red and shimmer with amazing shades. The most visited place is the So-called valley of castles. Charyn canyon resembles the Grand canyon of Colorado (Grand Canyon) in North America, although it is inferior in size, but the beauty Of the valley of castles is unique and unique. You will also be interested to visit the Temirlik canyon, where the relict ash grove is preserved, as well as the Uzunbulak canyon and the Kurtogai tract.
9. The Bayankol river valley at the foot of the world’s northernmost seven – thousand-meter peak, Khan Tengri, has long been known among mountaineers. After all, Khan Tengri is a well-promoted brand. However, people who are far from professional sports, there is also something to do and admire. In addition to mountaineers, “Khan” also attracts mountain tourists. Every year, several hundred people make hikes of varying degrees of difficulty along Terskey Alatau. There is also a unique opportunity to observe wild animals-marals, ibex and argali-in their natural habitat. Some even manage to meet a snow leopard! The length of the Bayankol gorge from the source to the exit to the Tekes valley is 70 kilometers. I must say that in summer, the valley is a real jailau with many yurts, where guests are always welcome!
10. The highest waterfall in Central Asia – Burkhan-Bulak in the Korin gorge in Zhetysu (better known as Dzungarian) Alatau is also a noteworthy tourist attraction in the Almaty region. The height of all its visible cascades is about 112 meters. But getting there is not so easy! Only on very passable transport, and today there is only one entrance option-through the Kapalsky izvoz pass. From the pass, it is breathtaking that when descending into the gorge to the Kora river, and when returning-when climbing it. At the bottom of the gorge to the waterfall is only 12 kilometers of dirt road. If you are lucky enough to become a member of the tour to the waterfall, you will not regret it, and all the difficulties of the road will later be remembered as an interesting adventure!
East Kazakhstan region: oddities of Altai
10. the Highest point of the Katun range and the highest point of Siberia-mount Belukha – is one of the brightest sights of Kazakhstan’s Altai. The two-headed peak has long attracted travelers, scientists, esotericists, and mountaineers from all over the world. The peaks have the shape of irregular pyramids – Western (4435 meters) and Eastern (4506 meters). Between them there is a drop-Beluga saddle. The name Belukha mountain was given because of the large snow cover on the peaks. Today, various tours are organized to the foot of Belukha: on foot, on horseback, and even with a helicopter ride.
12. Waterfalls and lakes of Katon-Karagay national Park. Katon-Karagay state national nature Park is the largest protected area in Kazakhstan. The region’s ecosystems have been preserved almost in their original form due to their remoteness and inaccessibility to humans. The Altai mountains include various landscapes, including swamps, forests, meadows, and tundra. The Park’s heritage is the largest waterfall in the East – Kokkolsky, whose height is more than 50 meters. It is located in a difficult area near mount Belukha. You can get there either on foot or on horseback. The Hiking trail next to the waterfall is popular among travelers heading to the Berel glacier. Waterfall Yazevoe less than Kokkolsky, but its picturesque rocky shores, covered with soft moss and red bilberry, will not leave you indifferent.
In addition, since time immemorial, the area of Katon-Karagay famous for the presence of radon keys. There are about 400 lakes in the area! The largest lake – Bukhtarma-is located at the source of the Bukhtarma river at the upper border of the forest distribution. Located very close to the Large Rakhmanovskoe lake. Three large lake yazevoe, Rough and Maral – located on the Listvyaga ridge. In the waters of these lakes are numerous IDE and grayling.
13. another attraction of the East Kazakhstan region, which has long been loved by travelers, is lake Markakol. It is located on the territory of the Markakolsky reserve, between the Azutau ranges in the South and Kurchumsky in the North. The area is 455 square kilometers. The lake is fed by many small rivers and streams, and follows only one river Kaldzhir. Getting to Markakol is also not easy: the long distance and lack of a good road make the trip to the lake a real adventure. But it’s worth it! The water in the lake is fresh, greenish-blue, clean and very soft. Transparency – 4-7 meters. There is an unusual fish of the salmon family – uskuch.
14. Taiga places of the Western Altai. The West Altai reserve is known far beyond the borders of Kazakhstan due to the stone remains on the mountain tops at the junction of the three main ridges of the region – Koksuysky, Ivanovsky and Kholzun. This place is called “Stone fairy tale”. On an area of almost 16 square kilometers in the area of Skazka peak, granite remnants of a bizarre shape rise like guardians, sometimes reaching a height of 35 meters! Many of them have their own names: Heroes Looking, the Conversation of the elders and others.
In addition to outliers, its uniqueness attracted the attention of Belaruskie Alpine lakes, the most beautiful of these is lake Pine. Here, in the intermountain basin, is the largest in the Western Altai high-altitude swamp Gulbishche (six kilometers long and two wide) – a place of summer habitat for ungulates: ROE deer, maral, elk. In General, a photo session of the animal world, and birds, and animals, is provided for you here. No less interesting places to observe the taiga inhabitants in this region are the valley of the Black UBA river at the foot of the Lyaminy Belka. There are even viewing platforms for tourists. From a safe distance from a height of 3-4 meters, you can watch elk, marals, ROE deer.
15. Kiin-Kerish Tract. Unusual in its beauty, the Kiin-Kerish tract combines intricate red, white and yellow clay “structures”. From a distance, the bright clay rocks and precipices of Kiin Kerish look like fiery flames. Therefore, these rocks are called “Flaming”. Until now, tourists find here the remains of ancient vertebrates (rhinos, crocodiles, turtles). Scientists ‘ attention is also drawn to living forms of flora and fauna, and scientific expeditions are regularly organized. The hot climate that dominates here, combined with the complete absence of water, creates a fantastically picturesque and mystical atmosphere.
Karaganda region: Karkaraly mountain range
16. Local mountain ranges in steppe and small-scale areas are a distinctive feature of the landscape of Central Kazakhstan. The most famous, popular and accessible for tourists is the Karkaraly mountain range, located on the territory of the national Park of the same name. Relict pine forests are preserved here, and mountain lakes in crater-like depressions of granite rocks are pleasing to the eye. Two lakes located in the immediate vicinity of the city of Karkaraly have their own names and legends: Shaitankol and Pool. More than a dozen mountain lakes are located in the protected Western part of the national Park and are not inferior in beauty to the lakes named above. The inaccessibility of the mountainous country has created conditions for a significant concentration of wild animals here: elk, ROE deer, foxes, hares, etc. There are even red book argali!
Mangystau region:” Gray-blue land ” of Ustyurt And the valley of balls
17. Very long distances, unpredictable weather conditions, lack of opportunity to get drinking water on the road-that’s what you need to know when going to Ustyurt. Where you can drive in dry weather, as soon as the rain starts to fall , it will be simply impossible to do this. There are a lot of natural attractions on Mangystau, the two main ones are Bozzhyra (loosely translated from Kazakh as “gray-blue land”), a very spectacular for photo shoots remnant mountain range on the outskirts of the Western chink of Ustyurt and the Valley of balls (Torysh) – globular nodules formed millions of years ago at the bottom of the ancient ocean.
18. Bayanaul national Park 100 kilometers from the city of Ekibastuz is the main natural attraction of the Pavlodar region. Quaint rocks, picturesque freshwater lakes, the largest of which are Sabyndykol, Zhasybay, Toraigyr and Byrzhankol, mysterious caves and grottos, and most importantly, the remoteness from large cities make this region attractive for ecotourists. In 1985, the Bayanaul state national nature Park was established here. Of the 460 plant species that grow in the Park, 50 are relict, including Bayanaul pine and stone currant.
19. The Imantau-Shalkar resort area. One of the most interesting and insufficiently known regions is, of course, the Imantau-Shalkar resort area of the North Kazakhstan region, where there are beautiful lakes for beach tourism and winter outdoor activities. The region ranks first in the country in terms of the number of lakes. The second-by the number of woodlands and the third-by the length of roads. Picturesque nature, represented by undulating hills with bizarre sculptures of mountains and lake basins, a combination of forest-steppe vegetation and pine forests, makes the Northern region of Kazakhstan attractive for tourism development.
Turkestan region: Aksu-Zhabagli reserve – the oldest reserve in the country
20. The Aksu-Zhabagly nature reserve is one of the oldest on the territory of Central Asia. Both in the reserve itself and near it, ornithological tours and tours for botanists interested in tulips were organized before anyone else in the country. No wonder the emblem of the reserve is a Greig’s Tulip! As for birds, 130 species of birds nest here, 11 of them are listed in the Red book. The reserve is located in the Talas Alatau mountains in the Western Tien Shan. The Central place is occupied by the Aksu canyon with a depth of about 1800 meters. Both on foot and on horseback are possible here.
Undoubtedly, the situation with the virus in the world has changed our vacation plans. But perhaps this is our chance to get to know the wonders of our native land better. Explore and find out places that you read about in guidebooks or last visited on a distant school trip. It’s time to be optimistic and go on an adventure.
Information taken from the site Tengritravel.kz