Photo Tour: Balkhash Lake (8 days)

Photo Tour: Balkhash Lake (8 days)

August 10, 2016
All Tours | Photo Tours | Ecotours | Photo expedition along the southern shore of Balkhash lake, to Sary Esik - Atyrau desert, where ten centuries ago the life has been seething and urban civilization has been flourishing, that was based on large-scale irrigation of the plains by water of ancient channels

Route: Almaty Region (Kazakhstan)

Season: January - December

Best Period: March - April, October - November

 

 

Sary Esik - Atyrau desert is very typical for Kazakhstan. It is located in the Balkhash region, between Ili and Karatal rivers. Although at the maps it is designated as completely sandy - in fact it is mainly clay, with large areas of verdurous dunes. At the present historical period the desert is completely desolated. There are no permanent residents, but many artifacts indicate to the other times. The culture of medieval towns and ancient channels was interrupted by the invasion of Genghis Khan. The culture of collective wintering and artesian wells - by the advent of perestroika. There remained a lot of dry hoses of ancient delta of Ili river, the largest ones are Orta-Bakanas and Sheth-Bakanas. In the desert, you are awaited a few insanely fascinating nights. And this is, maybe, the main charm of the whole journey. Overnight in the desert under the starry abyss, around the restrained campfire, in such a silence that you could hear the hiss of falling meteorites, entering the transparent atmosphere - this is a real adventure!

DAY BY DAY ITINERARY

Day 1. Almaty - Karamergen Ancient Settlement  

Group meeting and departure from Almaty at 06:30. Breakfast in a cafe on the way. Lunch in the desert. Arrival to an overnight place at Karamergen settlement approx. at 18:30. Setting a camp, dinner and preparations to the next day. Free time. Overnight in the tent camp at Karamergen settlement.  
Total automobile mileage in this day approx. 350-400 km

Day 2. Karamergen Ancient Settlement - Valley of Thousand Lakes

Early wake up at 05:30, meeting the dawn at ruins of Karamergen settlement, photographing. Breakfast, disassembling of the camp and transfer to Valley of Thousand Lakes through the desert. Arrival to an overnight place, late lunch and setting of a camp. Dinner and preparation to the next day. Free time. Optional - photographing of the night sky. Overnight in the tent camp on the shore of the one of thousand lakes. 
Total automobile mileage in this day approx. 100 km

Day 3. Valley of Thousand Lakes 

Early wake up at 05:30 for photographing the dawn on the lake shore. Return to the camp, breakfast. Free time or walking around the neighborhood. Lunch in the camp. Dinner and preparation for the next day. Free time. Optional - photographing of the night sky. Overnight in the tent camp on the shore of the one of thousand lakes.

Day 4. Valley of Thousand Lakes - Backwater of Balkhash Lake

Early wake up at 05:30 for photographing the dawn at a dune at a solt lake. Return to the camp, breakfast, disassembling of the camp and departure. Transfer along Balkhash lake shore through rugged terrain. Lunch in a picturesque place. Arrival to an overnight place at a silent backwater of Balkhash lake. Setting a camp. Dinner and preparation to the next day. Free time. Overnight in the tent camp at the shore of Balkhash lake. 
Total automobile mileage in this day approx. 130 km

Day 5. Backwater of Balkhash Lake - Ak-Zhar Dune

Early wake up at 05:30 for photographing the dawn on the shore of the silent backwater of Balkhash lake. Return to the camp, breakfast, disassembling of the camp. Transfer along Balkhash lake shore through rugged terrain. Arrival to an overnight place at a foot of misterious Ak-Zhar dune. Lunch and setting a camp. Walking around the neighborhood, photographing and rest. Dinner in the camp and preparation to the next day. Free time. Optional - photographing of the night sky. Overnight in the tent camp at Ak-Zhar dune.
Total automobile mileage in this day approx. 130 km

Day 6. Ak-Zhar Dune - Balkhash Lake Shore

Early wake up at 05:30 for photographing the dawn at Ak-Zhar dune. Return to the camp, breakfast, disassembling of the camp and departure. Transfer along Balkhash lake shore through rugged terrain. Lunch in a picturesque place. Arrival to an overnight place at a dark backwater. Setting a camp, dinner and preparation to the next day. Free time, rest. Overnight in the tent camp on Balkhash lake shore.  
Total automobile mileage in this day approx. 150 km

Day 7. Balkhash Lake Shore - Karatal River

Early wake up at 05:30 for photographing the dawn on the shore of the dark backwater. Return to the camp, breakfast, disassembling of the camp and departure to Lepsy village. Lunch. Transfer from Lepsy village to the bank of Karatal river near Ushtobe village. Arrival to an overnight place on the bank of Karatal river. Dinner, setting a camp and rest. Free time. Optional - fishing. Overnight in the tent camp on the bank of Karatal river.  
Total automobile mileage in this day approx. 200 km

Day 8. Karatal River - Almaty

Early wake up at 05:30 for photographing the dawn on the bank of Karatal river. Breakfast, disassembling of the camp and departure to Almaty. Lunch on the way in a cafe. Arrival to Almaty approx. at 20:00.   
Total automobile mileage in this day approx. 300 km

TOUR FEATURES:

The tour program is very intensive, almost all camp-to-camp transfers will be off-roads. You will need to get up very early and walk a lot in search of the best shots. All of this - in the desert, where the weather often changes: it can be very hot during the day and quite cool during the evening and night. There are many dangerous insects and reptiles. That is why, it is strongly recommended to refrain from the use of alcohol and to be extremely careful.

Tour Price for 2017: 1015 USD Per Person, provided 4 persons traveling together

Tour Price INCLUSIONS:

1. Transport services on the entire route    
2. Guide-photographer service
3. Camping equipment for common use (camping tent, table, chairs, cooking utensils)
4. Food for cooking in field conditions  
5. Permits to visit the specially protected natural areas, all environmental fees

Tour Price EXCLUSIONS:

1. Accommodation in Almaty before/after the tour, if required      
2. Airport transfer, if required   
3. Meals not indicated in the program and/or not included into the tour price     
4. Rent of personal camping outfit (tent, sleeping bag, сaremat, personal utensils, etc.)      
5. Medical insurance    
6. Visa support and registration on the territory of Kazakhstan, if required   
7. Personal expenses and other expenses not indicated in the program    

RECOMMENDATIONS on clothing and equipment:

Taking into account that in the evenings and at night can be quite cold, be sure to take with you:     
1. Waterproof membrane Gore-Tex jacket and pants     
2. Warm fleece jacket or Polartec jacket     
3. Windproof jacket     
4. Several sets of underwear, several pairs of socks and a pair of warm socks     
5. Several T-shirts with short sleeves, shorts     
6. Appropriate hiking boots, shoes for camp (lightweight sneakers)     
7. Sunglasses and sunscreen     
8. Head torch with adjustable brightness and beam distance, several sets of batteries     
9. Thermos for 1-1.5 liters, or other water container     
10. Personal hygiene items, personal first aid kit (for chronic diseases is obligatory)     
11. Camera, waterproof carrying case, a neutral filter with variable density, tripod, remote control, wide-angle and telephoto lenses    
12. Anti acarid remedy     
13. Tent, sleeping bag, caremat, utensils for personal use

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    Contacts in Almaty

    113 Baitursynov Street, Astana InterHotel, 2nd Floor, Almaty 050022  +7 (727) 3-131-867
    +7 (727) 2-900-777
             info @ city-tour.kz
             Mon-Fri: 09:00-18:00

    Contacts in Astana

    12/1 Kunaev Street, Business-Center "On the Water-Green Boulevard", office 0512, 7th Floor, Astana 010000  +7 (7172) 729-429
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