Aksu-Zhabagly nature reserve – is the oldest and most famous nature reserve in Central Asia. Year of the establishment is 1926. Its aim was to preserve endangered wild animals and abundant flora and fauna of the reserve. The nature reserve is located in the spurs of the Western Tien Shan at an altitude of 1000 to 4280 meters above sea level. In 2016 the nature reserve was included in the UNESCO list of the World Biosphere Reserves. The highest peak is Sairam Peak, its height is 4238 meters.The Aksu canyon, carved by the mighty Aksu river, is one the deepest canyons in Central Asia.
A large number of birds live here. There are 11 species of birds such as Golden eagle and Harrier Eagle also 11 species of reptiles live in the reserve. One of them is the Yellow Legless Lizard listed in the Red Book.
The emblem of the reserve is the Greig’s tulip, whose petals of a rare crimson color reach to the length of 15 sm.
|Duration||2 days / 1 night|
|Season||March – October|
|Route||Shymkent – Aksu-Zhabagly|
Private tour price for one individual is 1271 USD
Tour price in a group of 2 or more people: 665 USD per person
1. Shuttle service (from and to airport)
2. Double accommodation in 3 * hotel in Aktau (1 night)
3. 3 hours sightseeing tour around Aktau city (provided that a flight to Aktau is from Astana. If a flight to Aktau is from Almaty, sightseeing is not included, because of the late evening arrival from Almaty);
4. 3-day Jeep tour in a group (max 3 people in one car)
5. Meals: Full board during the Jeep tour starting from Day 2
6. Accommodation in a tent
7. All environmental and admission fees during the tour
8. Drinking water 1,5L per person per day
1. Domestic flight tickets
2. Meals not indicated in the program and/or not included into the tour price
3. Single accommodation supplement (26 USD)
4. Visa support and registration on the territory of Kazakhstan, if required
5. All personal and other expenses
Note: The tour route might be changed to the weather condition. The accommodation can be changed to 4* or 5* upon the guests preference for additional charge.
Arrival from Astana to Aktau at 12.35 am. Flight schedule might be subject to change. On arrival transfer to the hotel. After leaving luggage at the hotel, starts sightseeing in Aktau city. Visiting: City Museum, Mosque, Orthodox Church, Republic Square, the Main city promenade, Monument (symbol) of the city, Nuclear Factory for Water Purification. Transfer back to the hotel. Overnight
Aktau – Shakpak Ata – Torysh valley – Airacty valley
Departure from Aktau to Shakpak Ata (approx.122 km) at 8:30 am. Visit Shakpak Ata Underground mosque and underlying necropolis.
Underground mosque Shakpak-Ata (10th-13th cc.) is located on the Tupkargan peninsula. Design of the mosque is unique in Kazakhstan when looking from above on it looks like a cross. The mosque has similarities with some early Persian mosques and with mausoleum-mosque of Shir-Kabir in Dehistan (Turkmenistan) also dated of approximately the same time.
From Shakpak-Ata we will move to visit a valley of huge globular fossil concretions called Torysh or Magic Balls.
Torysh starts with infinite fields and ridges of unusual spherical stone formations with a size of about 3 – 4 m in diameter. Time of formation of these unique stones started 180 – 120 million years ago.
Lunch in a small village
After lunch depart to Kokala valley. Kokkala are multicolored rocks and from kazakh language literally translates as “Blue city”
We continue our route to Araicty valley with a stopover at Sherkala Mountain. Sherkala, which from Kazakh language translates as Lion’s city, has the same importance for local people as Eiffel Tower for Paris or the Statue of Liberty for New York. This yurt shape mountain is a Symbol and a Landmark of Mangistau region. Photos of Sherkala Mountain you will find on every website dedicated to Mangistau.
Second name of Airacty is Valley of Castles. Mountains of Airacty look like fairy-tale castles with towers and fortress walls. In the spring in the valley among the rocks grow the Sogdiana tulips.
Dinner. Overnight in a tent camp.
Tuzbair – Beket Ata – Boszhira valley
After breakfast we will depart to Tuzbair lake. Tuzbair is a hardly noticeable place. From afar it draws the eye only by two residual table mountains, adjacent to the main massif of the plateau. Tuzbair lake which literally translates as “Salty Wall” takes its name after the White Salty mountains that surround it. Upon arrival to Tuzbair, we will walk on salty surface of the lake on top of the water. Then we will climb on one of the rocks to see an amazing panorama that is opening on Tuzbair lake. It allows us to take photos of blue – white salty lake. After trekking on various rocks, in order to find the most astonishing view on opening landscape, we will start preparation for departure to Beket ata underground mosque.
Underground mosque of Beket-Ata (18th century) is a spiritual, historical and architectural monument. The mosque is standing on top the rock. Throughout the year pilgrims around the world visit the mosque named after holy Suffi – Beket Ata. For Kazakhs, Beket-Ata is prophet like figure. He was familiar with the laws of physics, mathematics and astronomy. Scientists have put forward a bold hypothesis that the mosque used to be an observatory.
The final part of destination is Boszhira valley. On Boszhira we will trek to the first panoramic platform and see a beautiful sunset that descends on a whole valley. Boszhira valley – one of the site of Ustyurt plateau covers a huge area and takes more than one day to explore all of it.
Dinner. Overnight in a tent camp.
Boszhira – Bokty – Karagiye Depression
After breakfast we will do hiking to the Dreadnote Cliff. From top of the Cliff opens breathtaking view on whole Ustyrt Plateau reminding us of Martian surface, but we know that is a bottom of the former Tethys ocean. After trekking we will depart to see Bokty mountain. Bokty Mountain is table-flat clay, called shatt. The red colour of the chalk is what truly makes this Mount stand out. Our guide will show you strategic high spots from where you can see Bokty from all angles. After lunch we will get prepared to see Karagiye Depression with a stopover at Tuesu sand dunes. At Tuesu you will forget that you are in Kazakhstan but more like in Sahara. Sand dunes impress with their uniqueness and purity, its height in some place reach 50 – 60 meters.
Karagiya depression is the lowest points in Kazakhstan and one of the lowest in whole Central Asia. Karagiye Depression is 132 metres below the sea level and 40 km long stretching close to the Caspian sea.
Dinner prepared by our guide.
Departure to Aktau and transfer to the airport or to the hotel.