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Astana, Kazakhstan • 26 October 2022

5 National Parks in Kazakhstan Open For Tourists

Travel guide with prices, directions, and unique wildlife to see

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www.naurzum.kz
www.naurzum.kz

Being the ninth largest country in the world, Kazakhstan covers almost as much territory as the entirety of Western Europe. Such an expanse covers a diverse set of biomes that the country pledged to protect through its nature reserves - places where wildlife is able to thrive without human influence.

QazMonitor made a list of five nature reserves from all corners of Kazakhstan that will introduce you to the beauty the county holds.

NOTE: The pricing is valid as of October 13. It is strongly advised to contact the reserves before planning your visit.

1. Korgalzhyn Nature Reserve

Central Kazakhstan is a diverse region and home to the Korgalzhyn Nature Reserve, the northernmost nesting point of greater flamingos which build their colonies right in the salt waters of the great Tengiz Lake.

Justly called “Pearl of the Land”, the reserve presents itself as a vast expanse dotted with over a hundred lakes and small islands that appear during floods and droughts. This part of the world is one of the proposed birthplaces of modern domesticated tulips, or Tulipa suaveolens, which, during the blooming season, color the steppe in hues of yellow, white, and red.

Islands in the lakes of Tengiz and Korgalzhyn serve as the reserve’s main habitats and nesting points for as many as 350 species of migratory birds. This includes pink flocks of greater flamingos, dalmatian pelicans with their imposing beaks, Pallas’s gull that is easily mistaken for a common duck, and many others.

How to get there:

Address: R. Madina Street 20/2

By car - Drive 150 km from Astana on P-2 and R-206 highways to the Korgalzhyn village

By bus - Take the route from Saparzhai bus terminal in Astana to the Korgalzhyn village

By taxi - Order a ride through YandexGo or inDrive apps from Saparzhai bus terminal in Astana to the Korgalzhyn village

Cost:

₸13,000-₸26,000 - taxi ride

~₸7,000-₸10,000 - daily living expenses

₸13,430 - daily mandatory service by the reserve’s surveyor or guide

2. Naurzum Nature Reserve

In the North, we have the ancient pine forests of the Naurzum Nature Reserve, which have been around since the era of the dinosaurs.

Located in the Turgay basin and caught between the river network of Turgay, Tobol and Ubagan, the soil of the reserve is deeply nourished with rich minerals that feeds into the territory’s lush greenery. Naurzum is home to a wide spectrum of flora and fauna and is one of few reserves in the world to remain undisturbed by human presence, making its pristine condition its main tourist appeal.

Considering its river-oriented ecosystem, it is no wonder that these grounds serve as a meeting point for the region’s wildlife. When the local water bodies fill up, observers can see herds of elks and saiga, wolf packs, and steppe vipers all gathering at the lakes to relieve themselves of thirst.

How to get there:

Address: Kazybek Bi Street 5

By car - Drive 190 km from Kostanay to the Karamendy village via the Kostanay-Karamendy route

By taxi - Order a ride through YandexGo or inDrive apps from the Kostanay bus terminal to the Karamendy village

Cost:

₸23,790-₸24,650 - taxi ride

~₸7,000-₸10,000 - daily living expenses

₸780-₸950 - daily mandatory service by the reserve’s surveyor or guide

3. West Altai Nature Reserve

Eastern Kazakhstan boasts panoramic vistas reminiscents of scenes in Lord of the Rings with hilly terrain and great white mountain peaks rising above the morning mist.

Boreal forests or taiga are the main attraction of the reserve and the reason behind its creation. Along with softwood forests, West Altai preserves a combination of other biomes: alpine meadows with their lush herbaceous and floral cover and tundra with its flora and fauna clustering near the mountain lakes.

The wildlife in Altai is one of the most diverse in all of Kazakhstan with just the alpine meadows being the breeding grounds for herds of elks and the Altai wapiti with the occasional sightings of bear families strolling along lake shores.

How to get there:

Address: Semipalatinskaya Street 9

By car - Drive from Oskemen to the city of Ridder where the reserve’s office is located

Cost:

₸15,750-₸19,540 - taxi ride

~₸7,000-₸10,000 - daily living expenses

₸12,200-₸41,700 - car provision for one day

₸600-₸1,000 - daily mandatory service by the reserve’s surveyor, guide, or translator

4. Aksu-Zhabagly Nature Reserve

Aksu-Zhabagly is the first nature reserve in Central Asia, with the namesake rivers flowing right through it. As with any other southern locale, the reserve’s premises are overshadowed by the great mountain range of Tian-Shan.

Due to the clay admixture, the calm waters of Zhabagly are colored in distinct yellow and sometimes even red hues, further distinguishing it from Aksu, a rushing mountain river whose waters have eroded the rock and earth down a hundred meters at the site of the famous Aksu Canyon.

These grounds are home to many animals that are recorded in Kazakhstan’s Red List of Threatened Species. The reserve shelters rare snow leopards with three recorded specimens living on the premises. Aksu-Zhabagly is also one of the few places where the Turkistan lynx, the Himalayan brown bear, and the Altai Argali can roam freely.

How to get there:

By car - Drive approx. 100 km ride from Shymkent to the Zhabagly village where the reserve’s office is located

By train - Take the train from Almaty to the Tulkubas station and ride a taxi for 18 km to the Zhabagly village

By taxi - Order a ride through YandexGo or inDrive apps from the Aina bus terminal in Shymkent to the Zhabagly village

By bus - Ride a bus from the Aina bus terminal in Shymkent to the Zhabagly village

Cost:

~₸25,000 - taxi ride from Shymkent to Zhabagly

₸550-₸3,000 - horse or car provision for one day

~₸7,000-₸13,000 - daily living expenses

₸600-₸1,650 - daily mandatory service by the reserve’s surveyor, guide, or translator

5. Ustyurt Nature Reserve

We’re leaving you with the final destination in West Kazakhstan - the Ustyurt plateau, one of the least accessible yet most unique places in our country. Ustyurt Nature Reserve is tasked with protecting the desert with its numerous red and brown ledges rising against the barren land.

Seeing those in the distance, you could easily mistake them for man-made structures and not without a good reason. During the height of the Silk Road, Ustyurt was a busy caravan route with many settlements lined up along the way. Their ruins remain as one of the main attractions of the land.

The plateau is completely devoid of any water with only distant sights showing numerous small lakes and the Caspian Sea on the horizon. Inhabitants of this place sustain themselves through a system of springs and wells supplied by the groundwater.

How to get there:

By taxi - order a taxi from Aktau to the city of Zhanaozen, and in succession through the villages of Stary Uzen, Senek, and Akkuduk, before arriving at the reserve

Cost:

~₸5,000-₸10,000 - daily living expenses

₸61,290 - car provision for one day

₸1,700-₸1,800 - daily mandatory service by the reserve’s surveyor, or guide

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Kazakhstan
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National Parks