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Lake Tuzkol in Kazkakhstan.

Adventures in mountains Almaty.

“Now more than ever do I realize that I will never be content with a sedentary life, that I will always be haunted by thoughts of a sun-drenched elsewhere” 

 Isabelle Eberhardt, «The Nomad: The Diaries of Isabelle Eberhardt».

Trip to lake Tuzkol in Kazakhstan.

The bitter-salty, closed-drainage lake Tuzkol (Kaz. Tұzkөl) is located at an altitude of 1958.9 meters above sea level in an intermountain depression. In the east, the lake is bounded by the Elshyn-Buyryk mountains, in the south by the Aibyrzhal and Zhabyrtau mountains, in the northeast by the Tzgen-Karatau mountains in the east by the Aigyrzhol mountains in the Kegen and Narynkol districts of the Almaty region.
The perimeter of the lake is 14387 meters, the area is 7.01 square kilometers. The length of the lake is 5.3 kilometers, the greatest width in the central part is 2.5 kilometers. The greatest depth is 3 meters, the average depth is 0.3 meters.
Food is carried out only at the expense of the springs concentrated to a greater extent in the western part of the lake, which is closer to the Elshyn-Buirykin mountains. In the vicinity of the lake there are more than 25 springs with fresh and brackish water.
The shores of the lake in the east are swampy up to 2 kilometers in the southwest for almost 3 kilometers. In the central part of the lake there is an island measuring 400 x 320 meters. The salinity of Lake Tuzkol varies according to the seasons.
It has been found that it can reach 300 g/l and is almost the same as in the Dead Sea in Israel or the Great Salt Lake in the United States. From the dominant hills that rise in the northern part of the lake, magical panoramas open to Lake Tuzkol, which encircles the hills from the north-east, east and south. In the south of the lake, an endless panorama of the Sarydzhaz and Meridional ridges opens up, which stretches from east to west in an advanced chain of snow-capped mountains with glaciers and peaked peaks.
In the central part of the panorama, the mountains of the Central Tien-Shan rise - the Meridional ridge with the highest peak Khan Tengri, 6995.2 meters above sea level, to the west and south, the highest peak of the Kokshlal Too ridge - Pobeda Peak, 7439.3 meters above sea level. At sunset hours, if you are lucky, and the mountains will be open, you can see a magnificent picture in travel.
In August 2017, we had to state with regret that the marmots that lived in the western part of the lake left their homes. Judging by the non-residential burrows, they left two years ago. In spring, summer and autumn, the lake is filled with duck - ogar (Todorna ferruginea) (local name ataiyka), young shoots of which are fed by plankton, which is found in abundance in the lake.
The incessant hubbub of fires is heard throughout the day, with the first rays of the sun it increases by another two octaves. In addition to ogars, various species of waders live on the lake - lapwings (Vanellus vanellus), stilts (Himantopus himntopus), plovers (Charadrius alexandrius), herbalists (Tringa totanus) predominate among migrating waders.
Among the gulls on the lake live: black-headed gull (Larus ridibundus), gull (Larus cahcinnans). The summer season of 2021 is characterized by high aridity and intense heat not only in the foothill plains, but also in the mountain valleys, which led to the shallowing of the lake and the drying up of wetlands, the lake became shallow.
In this regard, the species composition of birds was very poor, during two days of our presence on the lake we managed to see a dozen ogars, but there was a huge flock of black-headed gulls. The lake is located 204 kilometers east of Almaty and 74 kilometers from the Kegen district center of the Kegen village.
For motorists, you need to turn left behind the village of Sarydzhas and move 34 kilometers through the village of Karasaz to Lake Tuzkol. From the village of Karasaz, you have to go to the east for another 11 kilometers.
In the northern part of the lake there is a road: the village of Karasaz - the villages of Tekes, Sarybastau, Narynkol.
Geographic coordinates of Lake Tuzkol: N43 ° 00'34.59 "E79 ° 59'42.38"

The lake Tuzkol in Kazkakhstan.The lake Tuzkol in Kazkakhstan.The lake Tuzkol in Kazkakhstan.The lake Tuzkol in Kazkakhstan.The lake Tuzkol in Kazkakhstan.The lake Tuzkol in Kazkakhstan.The lake Tuzkol in Kazkakhstan.

Alexander Petrov.

Photos by
Alexander Petrov.