Blogs from Aksu-Zhabagly National Park, Southern Kazakhstan, Kazakhstan, Asia


Sept 14 and 15. had a great train ride in a 2 bunk sleeper compartment on Kazakh Railways on train #33 leaving Almaty 2 at 2133 and arriving on the dot at Tulkibas station at 0927. Was meet by our guide for the 2 days and a Russian made Lada Niva 4WD jeep, so roared off to our home stay. The Asku - Zhabagvly Nature Reserve is one of the largest Nature Reserves in Khazakhstan at 13000 sq kms, and 'allegedly' is the home to a vast number of birds, and animals including bears, ibex, marmots, fixes, wolves, goats, boars, etc. It is crushingly dry and this excludes weeds that simply can't hack the conditions. Lots of plants,biodiversity is immense 1,400 flowering plants.....some surprising...the clear ancestor of our beloved Rhubarb for example. A few remaining flowers...many ... read more
Mountain Erebus butterfly
Berberis berries
Original Rhubarb

As the title suggests, having done the relevant background reading, it was almost an imperative that a trip to Charyn Canyon was on the cards, as after all, this is the world's second largest canyon (after the blatantly obvious canyon), and the visuals were bound to appeal. Hiring a car plus driver is a sound way of achieving this trip, and the journey can be broken up by a brief stopover in either Shelek or Kokpek towns, neither of any great size, but both suitable for at very least taking a breather. Arriving at the canyon's national park area, a nominal admission fee will allow you to drive as far as the ridge of the canyon, and the start of the unmarked pathways which lead to the viewing spots. Sure footing is something of a requirement, ... read more
Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan 247
Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan 331
Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan 277

Hello again! I know it has been a while since my last entry and I have a lot to update you with this time. Currently I am in Bishkek and the internet is awful and they charge by the kilobyte, so I can't upload pictures now. I will do so when I get back to China (after 5-6 days I think). Let me start by sharing my experiences at Aksu-Zhababyly Nature Reserve in Southern Kazakhstan. I arrived in the mid-afternoon at the small town near the park entrance. There is a place mentioned in the Lonely Planet that has guides and other services. So I went to see about the "other services" i.e. lodging. So they drove me up to their little camp (they charge to drive you 8km to stay at THEIR hotel. That is ... read more
The first snow

The Aksu-Zhabagly national park is the oldest in the country, I stayed with the nicest couple, Elmira and Lammert, at their home turned hotel, called Wild Natures, with the wife, Elmira's elderly parents, and their two adorable 3 and 5 year old daughters. They had a lovely big garden complete with a big dog & various cats. It was right at the end of the tourist season, so the only other guy there was Panos from California (originally Greek), who'd worked in the Peace Corps in Kazakhstan twenty years before, and spoke fluent Russian. Lammert, who was from Holland, spoke a whopping seven languages, and was a lovely guy with puppy dog eyes and this great chuckle that sounded almost exactly like Doctor Hibbert from the Simpsons. "We arrive at our hut at about 5 o'clock ... read more
Zhabagly Moon
Trekking in the Mountains
Hut in the Hills

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