Wonders of Kazakhstan: the mystery of Zhongar Alatau

12 days/ 11 nights

April - August

Season: April - August

During this tour, you will make a 12-day trip from the Altyn-Emel National Park along the Zhongar Alatau to Alakol Lake. On the way you will visit the most important tourist sites. The expedition program includes: a horse-riding tour and rafting along the Koksu River.

Day 1. Almaty - Singing dune

Meeting with a guide in Almaty. Departure for a tour to Tambali-Tas (about 170 km, 3 hours). Tambali-Tas is a cluster of early bronze petroglyphs in the tract in the Chulak mountains. On the rocks you can see inscriptions in Tibetan, Kalmyk and other languages, as well as you can see traces of Buddhists in the territory of Semirechye - five rocks with the image of Buddha.

Then moving to Besshatyr (35 km, 1.5 hours). The burial complex of the Saka era of the 3rd-7th centuries BC. has about 100 mounds. This is the legacy of the great nomads of the Central Asian steppes. In total there are 18 royal barrows with a diameter from 8 to 70 meters and from 2 to 20 meters in height, concentrated in the area of 2 sq. km.

After lunch, departure to Singing Dune (40 km, 1.5 hours). Singing Dune, in dry weather produces a sound resembling the roar of an airplane. While the wind blows from the West, scattering sand, there is a feeling that the organ tube is in the heart of the desert. Singing Dune is 1.5 km long and 120 meters high. Overnight in tents near Singing Dune. Night observation of the desert fauna, where, if lucky, you will be able to see a schecked gecko.

Meal: lunch, dinner

Day 2. Singing Dune - Katutau mountains 

Breakfast. Departure to the 700-year-old willow (25km, 1 hour), which is a cult object of the Altyn-Emel National Park. Its branches of thick trunks rest on the ground, and only a few people can hold the tree, holding hands.

After the tour, transfer to the mountains of Aktau, Katutau (90km, 3 hours). Color chalk mountains create a quaint scenic lunar landscape. These mountains are known for their unique appearance, which probably was created by small volcanic eruptions, cooled several thousand years ago. Walking tour, overnight.

Meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 3. Katutau mountain - the Buyen river  

Breakfast. Departure to the Tekeli village (250 km, 6 hours). Meeting with berkutchi, a demonstration of traditional art and a snack in the Kazakh family. Since ancient times hunting with a hunting bird was not so much a way of trophy hunting, as art and entertainment at the same time. It has not lost its importance even now. On November 16, 2010 hunting with hunting birds was included in the list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity by UNESCO.

Then there is a stop on the Chazhi River (30 km, 1 hour), in the tributaries of which lives Semirechensky frog, the rare animal listed in the International Red Book.

Our next stop will be the Koksu River (60 km, 2 hours), where you can have a raft. Rafting on Koksu is a unique opportunity to participate in an extreme alloy and see one of the most beautiful gorges of the Zhongar Alatau Mountains.

The place of our overnight stay will be the Buyen river near the Bayan Zhurek mountains (160 km, 3 hours). Dinner by the fire.

Bayan-Zhurek is the low remnant mountains in the Zhongar Alatau. There are located in the territory of Aksu district of Alma-Ata region. The length is 12-15 km, the width is 8-10 km, the absolute height is up to 2,079 m. The slopes are shallow. They are composed of shales, limestones and sandstones. On the slopes of Bayan-Zhurek, the tributaries of the Buyen River originate. As in other monuments of the Semirechye, in the Bayan-Zhurek there are Saki sketches of the Early Iron Age. Overnight on the river bank.

Meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 4. The Buyen river - Burhan-Bulak waterfall

Breakfast. Departure to Burhan Bulak waterfall (40 km, 2 hours). The Burkhan-Bulak falls are located on the same tributary of the Kora, about a kilometer from it. The height of the three visible cascades is 114 m, the fourth from below is not visible. The total height is 168 m, which makes Burkhan-Bulak the second tallest waterfall in Central Asia.

A halt on the bank of the Kora river, fishing. The road to the Burhan Bulak waterfall is very difficult, 20km of very bad roads, only specially prepared SUVs go there. The driver and those who wish can go to the waterfall for video and photo shoots. Overnight on the bank of the river Kora.

Meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 5. Burhan-Bulak Waterfall - Zhasylkol Lake

Breakfast. Departure to the Zhasylkol lake (190 km, 4 hours). Zhasylkol is a lake in Zhetysu Alatau. It is located 23 km to the south-west from the village of Lepsinsk, in the middle reaches of the Kikozen River, one of the sources of the Agynykatti river. The lake is located at an altitude of 1630 m. The lake has a length of two kilometers and a width at the widest point of 700 meters. The depth of the lake is supposedly 30-50 meters. On the shores of the lake grew deciduous groves that acquire special beauty in the fall. The color of the lake's water depends not only on the melting of the snows on, but also on the time of the day and the weather. The area of  Zhasylkol Lake is an excellent habitat for a large population of marals.

Overnight on the banks of the river Aganakty. Those who wish can climb to the mountains 13 km to the lake Zhasylkol.

Meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 6. Lake Zhasylkol - the river Tentek 2

Breakfast. Transfer to the Kokzhar village (200 km, 5 hours). Here you can admire the beauty of nature, and also if you are lucky enough see the Red Book black stork. In this area located the largest number of apple trees remained in Kazakhstan (49%), incl. apple tree of Sivers, which is the progenitor of all the apple trees on Earth.

Departure to the river Tentek 2 (30 km, 1 hour). On the bank of the river is the Uigentas barrow of the era of the Turkic Kaganate. The monument is a unique funerary complex, characterizing the level of social structure and culture of the ancient and medieval nomads of the Zhetysu. Overnight on the river bank.

Meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 7. The River Tentek 2-Atapkan

Breakfast. Transfer to the Atapkan Pass (25 km, 1.5 hours). From the Atapkan Pass you can see a picturesque view of the valley of the Tentek River. Photo-hunting in the evening and in the morning. There is an opportunity to see bears, ibex, marals, etc. The Zhongar mountains are unique, the northern slopes resemble Altai, and the southern Zailiysky Alatau. Only in these parts you can find a virgin nature, animals that are not afraid of people, and passes that are rarely ever passed. Overnight in tents.

Meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 8. Atapkan - Koktuma

Breakfast. Transfer to Koktuma (140 km, 5 hours). Koktuma is a beach area on the shore of Alakol Lake. Bathing and fishing.

Alakol in Kazakh means a multi-colored lake. Alakol is a saline drainage lake located on the Balkhash-Alakol lowland. To the south-east of Lake Alakol is the Zhongar Gate Pass.

It is known that many years ago the famous Great Silk Road passed by water "cups" called Alakol. Already in those days the caravanners, unable to give up after a tedious journey from refreshing in the waters of the lake, noticed: salty waves miraculously restore strength and strengthen health. By themselves skin deformities on the body disappear, wounds on the body heal faster, those suffering from sciatica forget about the pains in the lower back, even quarrels and grievances aside. Also, modern medical research confirms the medicinal qualities of water of lake. Sea breath of Alakol in combination with the dry, hot air, refreshed by the aroma of the steppes favorably affects the environment.

Overnight in the guesthouse.

Meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 9-10. Koktuma - Tastau base 

Breakfast. Transfer to the Tastau base (160 km, 5 hours). The tourist base of Tastau is located in the wild and picturesque area of Zhongar Alatau not far from Sandyktas Peak. Around the base there are many wild animals. Radial horse, pedestrian and automobile excursions can be organized from the territory of the base.

About 600 species of plants grow here. From an altitude of 1200 m above sea level grow apple orchards, overgrowths of apricots, then above grow aspen trees, and from about 1500 m begins the belt of spruce forests, reaching up to 2800-2900 m, then thickets of shrubbery to Alpine meadows. This is a strikingly beautiful corner of the earth. The unique natural conditions of the territory - a favorable climate and a significant aesthetic appeal of the mountain landscape - are complemented by the richness and diversity of the plant world, especially the picturesque coniferous forests and a significant number of species of animals that live in this region. 2 overnights in the guesthouse.

Meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 11. Base Tastau - Koilik settlement

Breakfast. Departure to home. So that you won’t get tired, we will make a stop to the settlement Koilik (300 km, 6 hours). Koilyk is the capital of the Karluks state. For the time of archaeological research, the Buddhist and Manichean temples, as well as the objects of Muslim culture of the 12th-14th centuries appeared to the gaze of scientists: a mosque, a complex of mausoleums and a khanaka. Overnight.

Meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 12. Koilik settlement - Almaty.

Breakfast. Departure to Almaty with stops for lunch (470 km, 6 hours).

Meal: breakfast, lunch

Any questions?