One of nature's marvels, the Charyn Canyon is over 56 miles (90 km) in length with beauty and majesty reminiscent of the US Grand Canyon. Located only 2 hours from Almaty, it is easy to visit.
Experience stunning unspoiled natural beauty and tranquility here. Even the wild animals do not fear humans.
The Dzungarian Gate, the most popular area in this region for visitors, is a mountain pass between Birliktau and Militau, and formerly part of the great Silk Road trading route.
Have you ever heard sand dunes sing?
This truly amazing site, sight and sound occurs when winds blow over the ridges of the sand dunes when they are dry, causing the sand to shift and make a unique type of sound. They are located north-east of Almaty, in the country's largeset national park, Altyn-Emel.
You are welcome to join a tour to the mysterious world where the ancient and the modern are intertwined. You will see unparalleled, breathtaking views.
Route: Mangystau Region (Kazakhstan)
Season: April to November
Recommended period: May to June and October to November
Day 1. A trip to Saura, Zhygylgan, then to Kapamsay, Shakpak Ata and Akespe
You will take a short trip to Saura Canyon, which hides the most important landmark of the area, Lake Karakol. It is home to a relict turtle species. The animals come out to the sun in the morning.
Tourists explore the canyon. The next point on the agenda is Cape Zhygylgan. It is a landslide. You will see fascinating traces of Machairodus sabre-toothed tiger and three-toed Hipparion, which date back to 15 million years ago. It is a unique tourist attraction.
Moving to Kapamsay Canyon
A 40 km trip to the snow-white Kapamsay Canyon. The perfectly even steep walls are breathtaking. Eagles nest here. There is a grotto in the deep of it, where trees grow in the shade. It is deliciously cool on a hot day.
We move to the Shakpak Ata Mosque. It is a unique landmark situated on a ravine slope. Legend has it that Shakpak Ata once lived here, who could heal any ailment. Archaeologists date the mosque to the 9th to 10th century.
The next sight is Akespe Canyon. We put up a tent camp. A walk in the nearby.
Day 2. Moving to the Torysh Valley, then to the Sherkala and Ayrakty Mountains
A trip to the Valley of Spheres (Torysh). Legend has it that, when invaders were trying to conquer the land, the locals prayed and were heard. A downpour began, turning hills into fields with spherical structures.
Moving to Sherkala, probably including Kokala on the way (depending on the weather). Here you can see layers of Jurassic clay, where char of woods that burned as many as long as 200 million years ago can be found.
Trekking to Sherkala. The mountain is shaped very much like a yurt. According to ancient legends, brave defenders of the land hid from the enemies in the underground. A cave tour. Transfer. Putting up a camp.
Day 3. Ayrakty to Shetpe settlement to Tuzbayir
A walk to the sightseeing platform. The mountains look like castles with tall spires. You can see ancient rock art here.
Moving to Shetpe. Visiting a modern caravanserai and tasting local cuisine. Moving to Tuzbayir, nature's creature of limestone and chalk rock. Walking on the salt surface. Putting up a camp.
Day 4. To the Beket Ata Mosque and to the Bozzhira
Moving to the mosque named after Beket Ata, a famous prophet of ancient time. It is considered to be holy place and attracts pilgrims.
We go to the sightseeing point of the canyon, which is known for its otherworldly landscape. Tourists can admire the natural wonder from a high point. Putting up a camp.
Day 5. The Bozzhira Valley
After breakfast we trek 3 km to the peak of one of the elevations. The route brings us to a sightseeing platform. We have lunch and return to the camp.
Day 6. Moving to Tuyesu and then to Zhanaozen
Tuyesu is all about barkhans, saxauls, and heat. It feels unusually clean. We have a walk and lunch. Then me move to the city of Zhanaozen. Its underground has always been believed to hide untold riches. Geologists proved it by finding gas and oil deposits. A city for oil producers was build, which is now home to about 120,000 people.
Day 7. Moving to Cape Tokmak and Karagiye Trench, then to Aktau
A trip to Kenderli, where a sea resort is to be built. The mysterious unexplored Cape Tokmak lies near it. It is commonly believed to have been a storage terminal for carvans on the Silk Road. We go sightseeing and take a trip to Karakiya Trench (the name translates as Black Mouth). It is one of the world's deepest trenches.
Lunch. Descend to the lowest point. A trip to Aktau.