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Photo Tour: Caspian Lowland (8 days)

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Photo Tour: Caspian Lowland (8 days)

April 1, 2018

Photo Tours | Ecotours | All Tour Packages | See more interesting and hard-to-reach places in this route! One of them is Karynzharyk hollow, at the bottom of which the Kenderli saline, the largest in Mangystau region, is located. The highlight of the route is visit to the observation point, with an overview almost of the entire Caspian lowland.
Route: Mangystau Region (Kazakhstan)
Season: April-November
Best Period: April-May, September-November
 
 
DAY BY DAY ITINERARY
 

Day 1. Aktau - Airakty 

Departure from Aktau at 07:00 to Airakty Shomanay. Arrival to the valley at approx. 12:00, setting a camp, lunch, then walking and photographing.
The system of small remnant mountains well known among the local population under the name of Airakty Shomanay. Airakty mountains look like fairytale castles with spiers, towers, colonnades and fortified walls. A winding trail, trodden by semi-wild horses, leads to a small viewing platform, which offers a panoramic view of the far-off Aktau mountains and all the Airaktan castles. In the spring, the valley is covered with small but gently fragrant Sogdian tulips. Along the sides of Airakty Mount on blocks of chalky rock you can see scratched drawings, called by one of the researchers as the "Steppe Symphonies". 
Return to the camp, dinner. Free time. Night photographing, if desired. Overnight in the tent camp.  
Total automobile mileage in this day approx. 200 km
 
Day 2. Airakty - Tuzbaiyr
 
Early wake up for photographing the dawn in the canyon. Return to the camp, breakfast. Disassembling of the camp and departure to Tuzbaiyr saline.
Tuzbaiyr is a majestic creation of natural elements. In this place, the plateau of Ustyurt is cut off by a cascade of clayey-limestone and chalky steps, at the base of which there is an extensive saline, called in the local regions as a «sor». The plumes of the Cretaceous are interrupted by numerous gullies and deep channels, forming endless rows of the most intricate columns. At the very base of the chink there is a giant natural semi-arch, created by wind erosion. During snowmelt and heavy rains periods, the mud is filled with water, forming a huge salt mirror, in which the sky and the сretaceous colonnades are reflected. 
On the way we'll have a stop in the modern caravan-sarai, where you'll have an opportunity to take shower. Then, transfer to the viewing points of Tuzbaiyr saline. Photographing at the sunset. Then transfer to an overnight place, setting a camp, dinner and overnight in the tent camp. Night photographing, if desired.  
Total automobile mileage in this day approx. 80 km, walking distance - 1-2 km
 
Day 3. Tuzbaiyr
 
Early wake up for photographing the dawn. Return to the camp, breakfast. Free time after the breakfast. Walking around the neighborhood, lunch in the camp. Photographing in the evening. Dinner in the camp, free time and preparation to the next day. Photographing the starry sky, if desired. Overnight in the tent camp.  
Total walking distance in this day - approx. 10 km
 
Day 4. Tuzbaiyr - Bozzhira

Early wake up for photographing the dawn. Return to the camp, breakfast. Disassembling of the camp and departure to Bozzhira canyon.
Bozzhira is the site of the «chink» (border) of the Ustyurt plateau, where mother-nature gave complete freedom to its imagination, creating an unearthly landscape in white tones. A small Bozzhira valley is surrounded on three sides by an amphitheater of natural fads. Here everything is white: canyons, peaks, mountain-towers, mountains-castles, mountains-yurts. The Bozzhira remnant mountains are like chameleons, they change their appearance when you go round them. Whimsical remnants as silent guards peer into the misty far away, keeping the peace of the majestic symbol of Mangystau - a giant stone yurt. Its only owner is a lonely wind, singing a melancholy song of the steppe to the boundless skies. 
Visit of several viewing points and ancient constructions. Lunch at one of the viewing points. Descend to a valley. Setting a camp, walking around the neighborhood until the sunset, photographing. Return to the camp, dinner. Free time, night photographing if desired. Overnight in the tent camp.  
Total automobile mileage in this day approx. 110 km, walking distance - 3-4 km.
 
Day 5. Bozzhira

Early wake up for photographing the dawn. Return to the camp, breakfast. After breakfast, walking in the canyon, photographing. Lunch in the camp. Walking until the sunset, photographing the sunset in the canyon. Return to the camp, dinner. Free time, overnight in the tent camp.  
Total walking distance in this day - approx. 10-12 km
 
Day 6. Bozzhira - Karynzharyk Hollow

Early wake up for photographing the dawn in the valley. Return to the camp, breakfast. Disassembling of the camp and departure to Karynzharyk.
Karynzharyk hollow stretches in the meridional direction for more than 70 km, at the base of the Ustyurt chink. At its bottom the Kenderli saline, the longest in Mangystau region, is located. The attractiveness of the Kenderli saline lies in the five remnant mountains, rising in the midst of a white-salty silence. Three of them stand close to each other, that is why the local call these mountains "Three Batyrs» or "Three Brothers". The bottom of the saline is always wet and covered with a salty crust that swells in the sun as the veins of endless cracks. In wet seasons the saline is covered with a thin layer of water and then the remains, as inaccessible islands, rise above the mirror surface. 
Upon arrival, setting a camp and lunch. Walking and photographing. Dinner and overnight in the tent camp.  
Total automobile mileage in this day approx. 90 km, walking distance - 1-5 km.
 
Day 7. Karynzharyk Hollow
 
Early wake up for photographing the dawn in the valley. Return to the camp, breakfast. After breakfast, walking in the valley and photographing. Lunch in the camp. Walking and photographing at the sunset. Return to the camp, dinner, free time. Overnight in the tent camp.  
Total walking distance in this day - approx. 8-10 km
 
Day 8. Karynzharyk - Tokmak Cape - Karakia Valley - Aktau

Early wake up for photographing the dawn. Return to the camp, breakfast. Disassembling of the camp and departure to Zhanaozen, lunch in a local cafe. On the way we'll visit a mysterious place - Tokmak Cape, and Karakia valley - one of the deepest hollows in the world.
Tokmak Cape - barely investigated place, there is not much information about it, but what is known is astonishing. Each archaeological expedition makes a new and new unique discovery, which, in turn, only puzzles the scientific world more and more.
Take at least two strange structures in the form of huge stone ships, discovered by scientists on the coast of the cape. How could a simple inhabitant not gasp with the thought: "Here it is, there was a mysterious Atlantis. "The age of the stone finds is supposedly 1 millennium BC. That's what the ship looked like when scientists discovered it. "The nose of the ship will turn into the sea. The contour is laid out of vertically placed unprocessed stone stoves up to 50 centimeters high. The length of the ship is about 14 meters, the greatest width is 4 meters. On the starboard side there is an entrance about 2 meters wide." The huge stone ship, according to scientists, served as a staple for the manufacture of ancient ships. "In ancient times, Amu Darya River flowed into the Caspian Sea near the Tokmak Cape. Ships carried cargo from the Azov Sea through Don River to Volga and Caspian Sea. Then, the cargoes on the wagons were sent to Aral Sea and more or less along the rivers of Syr Darya and Amu Darya. Perhaps there was another option: the ships could cross the Caspian Sea directly and reload goods to one of the directions of the Great Silk Road. The economic benefits are obvious here. In this place, on the peninsula of Mangystau, it is possible that these ships were manufactured or repaired before shipment.
On the desert lands of Tokmak Cape another archaeological expedition not so long ago discovered and explored the burial of the era of the Eneolithic. Millennia ago people lived here and their settlements yet to be investigated. The age of the tomb is counted as thousands years old, this is the end of the fourth millennium BC - a very important epoch for the history of Kazakhstan and the nomadic civilization. The find was even more valuable and unique due to the fact that the discovered cemetery was destroyed as a result of natural factors and was not looted, the main part of the monument reached untouched today, which allowed scientists to learn a lot about the funeral customs of those remote times. 
Arrival to Aktau in the evening. Transfer to the hotel or airport.  
Total automobile mileage in this day approx. 350 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 semidesert, where the weather often changes: it can be very hot during the day and quite cool during the evening and night. Many dangerous insects and reptiles. We recommend you to refrain from drinking alcohol and to be attentive.

Private Tour Price: 2115 USD Per Person, provided 2 persons traveling together 

Group discounts available

Tour Price INCLUSIONS:

1. Transport services on the entire route
2. English-speaking guide and photographer service
3. Camping equipment for common use (camping tent, table, chairs, cooking utensils)
4. Personal camping outfit (tent, sleeping bag, сaremat, personal utensils, etc.)
5. Food for cooking in field conditions
6. Permits to visit the specially protected natural areas, all environmental fees

Tour Price EXCLUSIONS:

1. Accommodation in Aktau 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. Medical insurance  
5. Visa support and registration on the territory of Kazakhstan, if required  
6. 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

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