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Ridge North Aktau Mangyshlak.

Birding Tours on Mangyshlak.

"Flying an airplane would be perfectly safe if there were no land"

Travel in the mountains of Mangyshlak.

The North Aktau Ridge (Kaz.Soltүstіk Karatau) refers to the Karatau Mountain System on the Mangyshlak Peninsula in the Mangystau region in western Kazakhstan. The length of the Karatau Mountains from the south-west to the north-east is 130 kilometers, the highest altitude is up to 532.7 meters above sea level.
The mountains are carved by deep ravines-sais, built of sandstones, limestones, marls, clays and sands. The North Aktau Ridge is located in the Karatau mountain system and is located in the northern part of the Mangyshlak Peninsula.
The length of the North Aktau ridge from the north-west to the south-east is 102 kilometers, at the same time, the width of the ridge from north to south does not exceed more than 10 kilometers. This is the longest, separate ridge in the system of the Mangystau Mountains.
The highest point in the central part of the ridge is the mountain Karykbasan with a height of 298.7 meters above sea level. The North Aktau Ridge is located in the Mangistau district of the Mangystau region. Northern Aktau is almost all expressed as a single ridge extending from west to northwest to east and southeast (only its western tip has a different direction - from west to southwest to east and northeast).
The ridge is cut by several erosional ravines, which divide it into parts that have independent names: the Kausho, Emdy, Murzatai, Akmaia, North Aktau and Kaskirjol ridges stand out from west to east. North Aktau is composed of mountain plains and a cliff within 100 – 200 meters of altitude with a foot covered with large fragments - rocks, boulders, stones.
Sometimes the cliff is hidden by the sands leaning against it. The northern slopes of the ridge are gentle, cut by countless ravines, beams, logs, especially in the lower part. Peaks located at an altitude of 200 - 300 meters above sea level. In the northern Karatau valley there are several rocky outcrops, towering 200 - 250 meters above the surrounding plains.
Some of them are composed of chalk, others - sandstones. Outcalls with flat tops and steep inaccessible slopes and cone-shaped outcroppings differ. The ridges of North Aktau are composed of Cretaceous and Paleogene limestones, chalk and sandstones.
They are characterized by a variety of relief elements (outcrops, boulders, rock and mountain canopies, caves, etc.). Only in two points of these mountains was found a very rare endangered endemic species (included in the Red Books of Kazakhstan and Mangystau region) - Rubia cretacea Pojark. (madder chalk).
The northern part of the North Aktau ridge is located 2 kilometers from Kochak Bay. The most northern extremity of the ridge begins from the Ushauyz range, which is located from the south-east to north-west, with a length of 5 kilometers and the greatest width from north to south, 3 kilometers in its southern part.
The highest altitude in the Ushaus ridge is the nameless mountain 200.5 meters above sea level. The famous Ushauz mountain, 183.6 meters above sea level, is located on the southwestern slope of the ridge. Further south, as part of the North Aktau ridge, are the mountains Myrzatau.
The greatest height of the mountains Myrzatai is the mountain Myrzatai with a height of 232.7 meters above sea level. In the south, from the mountains Myrzatai, along its south-western slopes stretches a picturesque ravine Akespe.
Akespe ravine and the southern tip of the Myrzatai mountains are cut by the Aktau highway - the Karamzhambas and Kalamkas fields. In the northern part of the mountains Myrzatai located tract Tuyesu. The northern part of the Myrzatai mountains is a storage of groundwater, more than 6 underground water storage sites are concentrated here.
Further to the southeast behind the mountains Myrzatai, as part of the North Aktau ridge, follow the mountains of Akmaya. The highest altitude in the mountains of Akmaya is a nameless mountain 261.8 meters above sea level, located on the southern slope of the mountains of Akmaya.
In the southern part of the mountain Akmaya bordering the Altankazgan tract, to the south the Zhamansai tract is located. The famous Kostam necropolis at the Shiili winter road at an altitude of 58.5 meters above sea level is located in the northern part of the Akmay Mountains Further, the mountains spread to the south-east by a single ridge of the North Aktau.
It should be noted that a noticeable increase in the height of the southern slopes of the ridge is observed from the Sharymkopa area and the Kada tract located in the southern part of the Severny Aktau ridge. Here, apart from the southern tip of the ridge, there are separate mountains: Kozhakhmet, 257.7 meters above sea level, Koksepke, 277.4 meters above sea level, Zhangypespe, 299 meters above sea level, Karykbasan 298, 6 meters above sea level.
The Mangyshlak - Beyneu railway built between 1964 and 1965 of the last century passes through the Kuartu Kompu gorge in North Aktau. In the southeastern part of North Aktau Mountain is Mount Aksiyrtau, at a height of 330.2 meters above sea level.

Ridge North Aktau Mangyshlak and environs.Ridge North Aktau Mangyshlak and environs.Ridge North Aktau Mangyshlak and environs.Ridge North Aktau Mangyshlak and environs.Ridge North Aktau Mangyshlak and environs.Ridge North Aktau Mangyshlak and environs.Ridge North Aktau Mangyshlak and environs.Ridge North Aktau Mangyshlak and environs.Ridge North Aktau Mangyshlak and environs.Ridge North Aktau Mangyshlak and environs.Ridge North Aktau Mangyshlak and environs.Ridge North Aktau Mangyshlak and environs.Ridge North Aktau Mangyshlak and environs.Ridge North Aktau Mangyshlak and environs.Ridge North Aktau Mangyshlak and environs.

Authority:
Alexander Petrov, N.N. Safronov “Mangyshlak Desert” (sketch of vegetation). St. Petersburg, 1996.

Photos by
Alexander Petrov.