Geographical location. Mangystau region includes the territory of the Mangyshlak peninsula, a major part of the Usturt plateau and the southern part of the Caspian depression - the Buzachi peninsula. That amounts more than 16 million hectares of natural desert and semi-desert. There are several beautiful landscape areas here:
- shore of the Caspian Sea with a large number of canyons and ravines;
- mountain massif of Karatau;
- chalky and limestone cliffs;
- sand dunes;
- clay and salty surfaces of dry lake beds;
Trees and shrubby vegetation are rare. The Earth is naked "to the bones" in Mangyshlak, which is what gives geologists such a superb possibility to investigate the ancient aquatic geology.
The climate of the region is extreme continental. Winters are harsh and windy, and snow is rare. Spring is short, dry and windy. Summer is hot, cloudless and long lasting. Autumn is warm and long as well. The Caspian Sea surrounds Mangyshlak from three sides, but influences only the narrow seaside. The climate there is more humid, and temperatures are lower in summer and higher in winter. Annual average temperature is about +10.5 + 11.5°C. Absolute annual minimum temperature is +26 + 34°C; maximum + 43 +45°C; surface heat reaches +60 +70°C. The hottest period is from the middle of July to mid-August. Autumn frosts begin at the end of October, and the spring thaw starts in April.
Precipitation is poor. Annual average precipitation is from 140-160mm in the north to 90-12mm in the south. Rain showers are common in spring and early summer. In mountain areas they may cause mudslides.
Snow cover on Mangyshlak and Ustyurt is weak (3-7 cm) and short lived, and not all areas are covered with snow. As a result of the high temperatures, poor precipitation and windy weather, evaporation exceeds precipitation by 10-15 times and air humidity is only 40-60% .
Duration: 4 days;
Accommodation: 2 nights in hotel, 1 night in tents;
Category of difficulty: A;
Season: April 15 - October 15;
Size of group: no more than 10.
Travel itinerary: Aktau - Sherkala mountain - Akmyshtau valley - Tomalak mountain - Akmyshtau valley - Kokala valley - Aktau
Day 1. Departure from Almaty. Arrival in Aktau. Meeting at the airport, transfer to the "Rakhat"**** hotel, accommodation. City sightseeing: city historical museum, orthodox church, monument to Taras Shevchenko, city square, city embankment, and cape Melovoi . Lunch and dinner at a local cafe. Night in hotel.
Day 2. Breakfast. Early departure from Aktau. Transfer: Aktau - Sherkala mountain. Sherkala mountain is an unique natural feature - from one side its shape is reminiscent of a giant yurta (300m). Free time (3 km) and climb on the cliffs with alpinist gear for those who wish. Lunch en-route. Further transfer: Sherkala mountain - Akmyshtau valley (20 km., asphalt and dirt road). On the way, trip to view the remains of the ancient settlement of Kyzylkala (10th-13th cc). Our route runs close to the picturesque chalky mountains Airakty and Katairakty. Dinner. Night in tents.
Day 3. Breakfast. After breakfast, drive to the top of Tomalak mountain (4 km) (200m). A superb view of the surroundings opens from the mountain. Return to Akmyshtau. Transfer: Akmyshtau valley - Kokala valley, famous for its colorful clays and natural springs (40 km., dirt road, asphalt road). Free time. Lunch en-route. Transfer: Kokala valley - Aktau (140 km), including stop at the "field of big stone balls". Arrival in Aktau, accommodation at the "Rakhat"**** hotel. Dinner at a local cafe. Night in hotel.
Day 4. Transfer to the airport and departure from Aktau to Almaty.
2. Various wild animals may be seen during the tour: saiga, steppe gazelle, Usturt moufflon, wolf, fox, hare, jackal, snakes and lizards, and different birds of prey.
3. Under the cliffs of the Usturt plateau, in the Basjira valley, it is extremely windy.
We hope you like the program and assure you that we are absolutely open to any suggestions to increase the range of our services for the entire satisfaction of our clients and are happy to meet your special requirements.
You can alter the duration of your tour and places of visits by adding one of the extensions. Our tour operator will work closely with you or your travel agent to carefully prepare an itinerary based on your stated interests.