Bozzhyra Tract, Mangystau

Bozzhyra Tract, Mangystau

Bozzhyra is the pearl of Mangystau! It’s the most impressive attraction in the region, best saved for last because its beauty overshadows all other locations. If you visit Mangystau without seeing Bozzhyra, you haven’t truly experienced the area.

Bozzhyra, which means "gray ravine" in Kazakh, is part of the western edge of the giant Ustyurt Plateau, spanning a colossal area in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Bozzhyra itself covers 3,000 square kilometers, with the most stunning views concentrated in just 40 square kilometers. This includes sharp ledges and precipices, island mountains, and bizarre walls sculpted by wind and water.

About 40-60 million years ago, the ancient Tethys Ocean receded from these places, leaving behind layers of limestone and chalk more than 250 meters thick. Over time, the giant slab lifted from the ocean bed and began to erode. Seasonal winds and rainfall carved bends in the soft rock, revealing fossils of ancient marine life, including shells, shark teeth, fossilized algae, and sea urchin skeletons.

Today, Bozzhyra is a nature park that requires a permit to visit. During the tourist season in spring and fall, dozens of visitors come daily, with many staying overnight. In Bozzhyra's lowlands, there are often 4-5 campsites. The most popular spots are three observation platforms: Martian Panorama, Dragon's Crest, and Fangs.

Martian Panorama is the first site visitors usually reach, just 5 km from the highway. It offers a sweeping view of Bozzhyra and the other two platforms in the distance. Dragon's Crest is 10 km further south, known for its rocks resembling the spiky back of a giant stone monster. It's the best spot for memorable photos of your Mangystau tour.

The third viewing platform, Fangs, is deeper within the Bozzhyra tract. To get there, you return to the asphalt road, then take another dirt road for 15 km. After driving, you'll need to walk another 1 km uphill, but you'll be rewarded with a fantastic landscape and a walk along a hundred-meter cliff—likely the most epic moment of your Mangystau trip.

To reach Bozzhyra, drive 270 km east from Aktau on an excellent asphalt road, passing through Zhanaozen and the village of Uzen. Travel between the three viewpoints requires navigating 60 km of average-quality dirt roads, so an off-road vehicle is essential. Nearby, you can also visit other Mangystau sites like the Kyzylkup tract, 20 km to the west, and the Beket-ata Mosque, 15 km to the north.