Zhetysu - the valley of seven rivers

9 days/ 8 nights


"The endless diversity of nature of the Zhetysu area starts from Balkhash Lake in the north and extends to the Tien-Shan mountain ranges in the south, from the Ili valley in the west to Alakol Lake in the east. This region has always been of great interest to travelers. Acquaintance with these beautiful places will bring you a huge charge of positive emotions and will help to fully experience all the joy of life! "M.Levitin

Day 1. Almaty - Butakov Falls

08.00 Meeting with the guide. Departure towards Butakovsky gorge. It is, as it is not surprising, in the Butakov Gorge. The main attraction of Butakovsky Gorge is waterfalls. There are two waterfalls: the lower, the height of 15 meters, the most popular among tourists. Butakovsky waterfalls - one of the largest waterfalls, located near Almaty. The upper is less than the lower waterfall and is located in the upper part of the gorge at a distance of two kilometers. There, except the sound of streaming ribbons of a mountain waterfall, you can hear the beautiful singing of a blue bird. Gorge is a popular holiday destination for citizens and guests of Almaty.

We begin the march from a height above sea level - 1787 meters. The pedestrian part of the trek, first goes along a dirt road, the rise is gentle. Further the path passes among the sprawling, Siberian firs. We reach an altitude of 2080 meters above sea level and a waterfall appears before us. It looks very picturesque and gentle. The height is about 30 meters. The stream is not strong, so under the streams grow algae, which gives the waterfall a beautiful, greenish color. In winter, the waterfall looks more charming.

Those who wish can continue their journey to the Upper Butakov waterfall (about 2 hours, 2470 meters above sea level) Places more severe than at the Lower Butakov waterfall. The gorge in this place is very narrow, the light day is short, so even at such a low altitude, snow lies all year round.

Lunch in lunch boxes.

Return to Almaty. Overnight at the hotel.

Meal: lunch

Day 2. Almaty - Turgen - the Batan tract 

Turgen Gorge is one of the outstanding sightseeing in the Ili-Alatau National Park. It is located 70 km from the center of Almaty.

On the way to the gorge there will be a stop at the "Ostrich Farm" - an interesting and very informative excursion.

In the gorge there is an opportunity to enjoy trout fishing, see unique waterfalls and forest expanses. There are many different coniferous and larch trees, alpine and subalpine meadow fields, lakes, springs. The Tien Shan fir trees, thickets of barberry, wild rose, wild raspberries and currants grow along the Turgen river bed.

During the tour through the Turgen gorge, you will have the opportunity to rent horses and ride on the spacious loess terrain of the Turgen gorge.

Bear's Waterfall is located 1 km from the road that passes through the gorge. A mountain path leads from the road to the waterfall. It is the closest and most popular of the Turgen waterfalls. Getting to the waterfall is not difficult.

After visiting the Bear’s waterfall move to the site of Batan, where you can stay in the guest house and spend a pleasant evening surrounded by wildlife.

Meal: lunch, dinner

Day 3. The Batan tract - Assy

Breakfast. Transfer to the Assy plateau (near Turgen). The plateau is located at an altitude of 2800-3200 meters. You will be surprised by the magnificent view when you reach the Assy pass: an incredibly huge green valley with pearls of white yurts and remote flocks of sheep and horses. Since ancient times it has been used as a pasture. Scientists have found here the remains of ancient people who lived more than 5000 years ago.

Once a year in July nomads of the Almaty region meet at the Nomad festival in Assy: this is an excellent show with traditional Kazakh Baiga and Cock-steam, with local dishes from horse milk (kymyz) and meat (kazy). The festival lasts 3 days, and this is definitely the most suitable place for studying the authentic Kazakh nomadic culture.

Another attraction of Assy - the astronomical observatory - one of the largest in Kazakhstan, from anywhere in the valley can be seen its huge dome.

Overnight in tents or return to the guest house in the Batan tract.

Meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 4. Assy - Zhinishke river -Algabas pass – Saty -Kaiyndy

07.00 Breakfast. Transfer to the gorge of Zhinishke river (50 km, 2 hours)

The Zhinishke Gorge is one of the eastern gorges of the Zailiysky Alatau, located almost on the border with the Kungei Alatau in the Chilik-Ketmen Mountains, which is the watershed of the Chilik and Chong-Kemin rivers. The Zhinishke river originates at an altitude of 3,650 m in the upper reaches of the Sarytau ridge.

Zhinishke Gorge is a very beautiful place, wild and secluded. It is an uninhabited corner of nature, according to which only occasionally the shepherds drive their livestock to free pastures far into the mountains. There is also "Three Monks" - a sculpture created by nature. For those who want to stay here, there is a possibility to rest in the guest house.

Drive along the Algabas pass to the village Saty (170 km, 3 hours). Arrival to the guest house in Saty. After a short rest, transfer to Kaiyndy Lake. It is a very young lake, which appeared only at the beginning of the last century as a result of the earthquake of 1911. This fantastic place is popular among tourists because of the firs and pines that grow inside of the lake. The depth of the water is 21 meters, the length of the pond is about four meters.

We can also arrange a boat trip on the lake.

Lunch during excursion.

Dinner and overnight in the guest house.

Meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 5. Kolsai

Breakfast. Transfer to Kolsai Lakes (20 km from Saty). Arrival to the 1st Kolsai Lake. Trek to the 2nd Kolsai Lake (about 8 km, horseback riding is possible). Such kind of beauty cannot be found anywhere. Kolsai is a succession of 3 alpine lakes between altitudes of 1700 – 2650m. The 3 lakes are exceptionally clear and lie in an idyllic location, surrounded by massive cliffs and mountains with snowy caps and wooded slopes. These lakes are situated in the eastern part of the picturesque Kungei Tau gorge, 300 km from Almaty. You will see the beauty of nature, inhale the fresh mountain air, enjoy the peace and quiet, admire light clouds reflected in the surface of lakes and enchanting panorama of mountain landscape.

Lunch break during the excursion.

Dinner and overnight in the guest house.

Meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 6. Kolsai - Shalkode

Breakfast. Transfer to the Shalkode Valley (175 km, 3 hours).

Shalkodesu Valley - is the center of transhumance, or as the Kazakhs say, it is zhailau. There is so beautiful in zhailau in summer, high grass and fresh air. From their ancestors - nomadic tribes and peoples inhabiting the expanses of Eurasia - Kazakhs inherited the yurt. This portable home according to its structure most suits to the nomadic way of life, and according to the design it has no equal. After long, harsh winter days, in the summer on the zhailau you can see the yurts of the shepherds. They bring cattle here. Here and there goats and sheep are grazing. A variety of relief forms make this place the best for rest.

Zhailau is a place for rest for the soul and body. Every guest here is pleasant, so they are greeted here as sincerely and cordially as the urban residents are rarely able to. Zhailau is also a good resting place for children who through life on the nature can understand the nomadic way of life of Kazakhs, traditions and craft.

Lunch at local residents home. Dinner by the fire. Overnight in tents or in a yurt.

Meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 7. Shalcode - Dardamty

Breakfast. You will go on a horse tour to the Dardamty tour base. On the way, you can observe wild animals such as maral, Siberian roe deer, Siberian ibex, wild boar, wolf, fox, badger, hare, from birds: ular, black grouse, cactus. The untouched wild nature of indescribable beauty, fresh air will make you love this place once and forever.

In the evening arrival to the base. You can visit sauna here.

Meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 8. Dardamty

Breakfast. Early observation of animals with binoculars, since they are most active at this time of day. Departure on horseback for a tour of the surroundings. Photo safari.

The weather in the Ketmen Mountains is changing rapidly: cold rain, then hot heat. The trees can blossom in the foothills, and on the shady slopes and peaks even in summer will be snow. But the temperature drops cannot prevent anyone who wants to enjoy the silence and walk along the animal trails of these mountains.

Arrival to the guesthouse in Dardamty gorge. Rest, dinner.

Meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 9. Dardamty - Almaty

08.00 Breakfast. After collecting the things, you will say goodbye to the horses and drive by car to Almaty (310 km, 5 hours)

For those who wish, a stop is possible in Chungja, which is known for its underground springs of mineral waters and clear steppe air. Water in springs has medicinal properties. Its composition, which is heated by active volcanic processes to a temperature of 37-50 ° C, includes radon, which in small doses gives a good health effect.

15.00 Arrival in Almaty

Meal: breakfast, lunch

 Any questions?