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| There are the places of pristine nature in Kazakhstan that are able to charm once and forever. This tour route provides you opportunity to visit the two of these amazing places: Altyn Emel - the largest State Natural Park in Kazakhstan, and Charyn Natural Park...
Route: Almaty Region (Kazakhstan)
DAY BY DAY ITINERARY
Day 1. Almaty - Altyn Emel National Park
Having met the guide at your hotel at 09:00, you will board a comfortable minivan to start your unforgettable journey to Altyn Emel National Park. Upon arrival to the park at about 12:00, you will have sightseeing tour to the Singing Dune and a picnic at nature.
Singing Dune, reaching a height of 120 meters and a length of about 3 km, located in one of the corners of the Altyn-Emel National Park, a few kilometers from the Ili river between the mountains of Big and Small Kalkan. This sandy hill consists of very fine pure sand, which starts to "sing" in windy weather and its sound reminds the organ music. Before a sandy storm the dune sounds like a drum. From the top of the Dune you can observe the grand panorama of the surroundings. In the south - thin strip of the Ili River is visible as well as purple mountains of Sogety and Boguty, looking out from the white peaks of the Ketmen ridge. On the west the horizon is obstructed by the steep slope of the Big Kalkan, and the Small Kalkan – from the east. In the north - violet-blue ridge of Jungar Alatau mountains, Chulak mountain, Matai and Altyn-Emel are visible. If the weather is dry and windy, the sand-dune will "sing" you its song, which could be heard as far as several kilometers...
After hiking up to the 150-meter dune, you will have transfer to Basshi village for dinner and overnight in one of the villagers' guest houses or cozy local hotel.
Day 2. Altyn Emel National Park
After breakfast, you will be driving on unpaved park roads over 80 km (approx. 2 hours) to the Aktau mountains.
Aktau Mountains (White Mountains) are world-renowned paleontological field. In the layers of Paleogene lacustrine deposits well-preserved remains of ancient animals whose age is estimated at 25-30 million years have been found. Among the finds there are the remains the giant rhinos, crocodiles, turtles. Huge conical mountains remind the Egyptian pyramids and are a magical scene of the variety of shapes and colors.
A walk on Martian landscape requires nothing special from you, except to be attentive on a soft sandy surface and to add some fantasy listening to the guide's stories about inhabitants of an ancient ocean. After sightseeing at Aktau mountains, you will return to Basshi village for dinner and overnight.
Day 3. Altyn Emel National Park - Charyn Canyon - Almaty
Breakfast at 08:00. Transfer to Ash-tree Grove on the Temerlik River. Sightseeing and picnic.
In the lower reaches of the Charyn River and its tributary Temirlik there is a unique place, where relict species of Sogdian Ash-tree are growing. According to a legend, another 5 million years ago a wind blew a winged seed of Sogdian Ash-tree in this so-called "Valley of Yurts”. The millions of years have passed, mountains and climate have changed, the ancient era has sunk into oblivion and the mammoths have disappeared with it. But Ash-tree still exists... In 1964 the Ash-tree Grove has been given the status of the monument of nature. The four trees of about the same age are fenced off in the grove. It is some kind of open-air museum. Botanists believe that these trees are over a thousand years old.
Transfer to Charyn Canyon. Upon arrival, you will admire the grand panorama and go down the stairs to the bottom of the canyon, then walk around 2 km through the maze of the Castles Valley with its walls of bizarre shapes overhanging you.
Charyn Canyon is a natural complex, unique in its kind not only in Kazakhstan but also worldwide. It was formed during Paleogene and reminds the Grand Canyon of Colorado River in North America, although inferior to it in size. The height of the steep slopes of the canyon is up to 150-300 meters. Extraordinary dissection of the terrain is striking: the numerous ravines form a dense, chaotic network. Wind and water have created the beautiful "Valley of Castles", where you are always surrounded by the fancy towers composed of sedimentary rocks. The length of the valley - more than 2 km, width - 20-80 meters. For millions of years the nature has been creating a unique architecture, erecting magnificent castles carefully and slowly. You can spend hours walking among the strange towers and columns, being surprised by the wild imagination of the nature.
After sightseeing in the canyon you will have your ride back to Almaty. The approximate time of arrival at your hotel is 20:00.