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Tour to deserts of Mangyshlak.

Nautical tourism on Caspian Sea.

“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world” 

Gustave Flaubert.

 

Geographical location Mangystau region. Mangystau region includes territory of Mangyshlak half-island, major part of Usturt plateau and southern part of Caspian lowland – Buzachi half-island. That amounts more than 16 million hectares of areas of natural deserts and semideserts. There are several landscape areas there:
- foreshore of Caspian Sea with a big number of canyons and ravines;
- mountain massif Karatau;
- chalk and calcareous cliffs;
- sandy massives;
- clayey and salty bottoms of dry lakes;
- hollows.
Treelike and shrubby vegetation are rare. Earth is naked “to the bones” in Mangyshlak what gives superb possibility for geologists to investigate the aqueous rocks.
Climate of the Mangyshlak region  is strong continental. Winters are harsh, windy and not snowy. Spring is short, dry and windy. Summer is hot, cloudless and long-lasting. Autumn is warm and long-lasting too. Caspian Sea surrounds Mangyshlak from the three sides but influences only a narrow seaside. Climate there is more humid, 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 chills start in the end of October, spring chills end in April.

Atmospheric precipitation of the Mangyshlak region. Annual average precipitation is from 140  - 160 mm in the north to 90 - 12- mm in the south. Rain showers are not rare in spring and summer. In the mountain area they may cause mudflows. Snow cover on Mangyshlak and Usturt is small (3 - 7 cm) and unstable. Not all areas are covered with snow. As a result of high temperatures, poor precipitation and windy weather, evaporation exceeds precipitation in 10 - 15 times and air humidity is 40 - 60% only.

The short description of a route of tours across of Peninsula Mangyshlak:

Almaty - town the Aktau - town the Fort-Shevchenko - necropolis Tubezhik - valley Zhygylgan - necropolises Karagashty-aulie and Ushtam (XVI - IX c.c.) - canyon Sultan-epe - mosque Shakpak-ata - cretaceous canyon Shakpakatasay - canyon Kapamsay - valley Torysh - mount Sherkala - valley Kokala - valley Akmyshtau - the medieval town of Kyzylkala - cretaceous mountains Ayirakty and Ktayirakty - mountain Tomalak - mountains East Karatau – valley Zharmysh - sands Sauskan - mosque Shopan-ata - monument Ulkenduk - sand Tuesu - mount Bokty - valley Boszhira - valley Akkurpa - valley Baysary - hollow Kamysty – Zhanaozen town – Aktau - Almaty.

Distaance of route: 1085 km.
Season: from April 1th till September, 30th.
 The best time for travel: April, May, June, September.
Duration of the tour: 9 days, 8 nights.

The detailed program of tour day after day on natural and historical sights Peninsula Mangyshlak:

Coastal tourism on Caspian Sea.

1 Day. Almaty – Aktau. 
Departure from Almaty city. Arrival in Aktau. Meeting at the airport, transfer to hotel, accommodation. Short rest. Excursion on town Aktau: visiting of town historical museum, orthodox church the Blagoveshchensk meeting house, visiting of town mosque Beket-Ata, monument Taras Shevchenko on coast of Caspian sea, quay of city, walk in vicinities of cape Cretaceous, walk on central city area Intymak, walk in vicinities of city quay with panorama on town, sightseeing tour on city with visiting an old part of city. Sightseeing tour on town. Return to hotel. A dinner and overnight at the hotel.
2 Day. Aktau - town Fort-Shevchenko - necropolis Taubezhik - valley Zhygylgan - necropolises Karagashty-ailie and Ushtam (XVI - IX c.c.) - canyon the Sultan-epe (135 km).
Breakfast. Departure from Aktau. Transfer: Aktau town – Fort-Shevchenko (135 km., asphalt road). We are going to visit a museum complex, dedicated to ethnography of the region, a local narrator Muryn and days spent in Mangyshlak by Ukrainian poet and artist Taras Shevchenko.
Transfer: Fort-Shevchenko – Zhagylgan valley (60 km on the country road). We are going to visit a grandiose geological cavity, situated at the seaside. We will also give the petrified traces of animals of Neogene (sabre-toothed cats and hoofed, 15 mln years ago) a look-over. Visit to archaeological monument Tubezhik on the way. Foot walk (3 km) up and down the plateau 100 meters above sea level.
Transfer: Zhygylgan – Sultan-Epe canyon (30 km., country road). On the way visit to family burial grounds Kargashty-aulie and Ushtam (XVI - IX c.c.). At the beginning of the canyon, its right side, there is a grave of holy Sultan-epe and an underground mosque. Visit to the mosque, walking around. Night in tents.  
3 Day. The Sultan-ape - underground mosque Shakpak-ata - cretaceous canyon Shakpakatasay - canyon Kapamsay - valley Torysh (170 km).
Breakfast. Transfer: Sultan-epe – Shakpak-ata underground mosque (30 km., country road). On the way visit to the chalky canyon Kapamsay, foot walk (6 km). Visit to the underground mosque Shakpak-ata cutout in the rock. We will see unique drawings and epigraphy (X - XIII c.c.) on the walls of the mosque.
Then again transfer: Shakpak-ata mosque – Torysh valley (50 km., country road, asphalt road). We drive through big chalky canyon Shakpakatasay that ends up with a wide area of  globe-shaped concretions – Torysh valley unique geological formations reaching 2,5 m in diameter. Walking around. Overnight in tents.
4 Day. Torysh - mount Sherkala of 300 meters above sea level - natural boundary Kokala - valley Almyshtau - the medieval town of Kyzylkala - cretaceous mountains Ayrakty and Ktayirakty (130 km).
Breakfast. Transfer: Torysh valley – Sherkala mountain. Our road goes among picturesque colourful clays of Kokala valley (40 km., country road). Sherkala mountain is an unique natural object – from one side its shape reminds of a giant yurta. Walking around (3 km) and climbing up the mountain with alpinist gear for those who wish.
Further transfer: Sherkala mountain – Akmyshtau valley (20 km., asphalt and country road). On the way visit to the remains of the ancient settlement Kyzylkala (X - XIII c.c.). Overnight. Breakfast. After breakfast we go up to the top of Tomalak mountain (4 km) 200 meters above sea level.
A superb view of the surroundings is open from the mountain. Return to Akmyshtau. Transfer: Akmyshtau valley – Zharmysh valley (70 km., asphalt and country road). Walking along the valley of Eastern Karatau ridge (3 km). Overnight in tents.
5 Day. Akmyshtau - mountain Tomalak of 200 meters above sea level - mountains East Karatau (80 km).
Breakfast. After breakfast we go up to the top of Tomalak mountain (4 km) 200 meters above sea level. A super view of the surroundings is open from the mountain. Return to Akmyshtau. Transfer: Akmyshtau valley – Zharmysh valley (70 km., asphalt and country road). Walking along the valley of  Eastern Karatau ridge (3 km). Night in tents.
6 Day. Zharmysh - sand Sauskan - underground mosque Shopan-Ata - archeologic monument Ulkenduk (190 km).
Breakfast. Transfer: Zharmysh valley – Sauskan sands (80 km., asphalt, country road). Our road goes through Eastern Karatau ridge. Sauskan sands is a huge massif of sand waves. Hight of the sand waves reaches 15 meters. Walking on the sands.
Transfer: Sauskan sands – underground mosque Shopan-ata (70 km., country road). There is a grave of holy Shopan-ata near the mosque (X - XI c.c.). This place is visited by piligrims. Visit to archaeological monument Ulkenkuduk (middle of 2000 year BC). Overnight in tents.
7 Day. Mosque Shopan-Ata - sand Tuesu - mount Bokty of 165 meters above sea level - valley Boszhira (100 km).
Breakfast. After breakfast transfer: underground mosque Shopan-ata – Boszhira valley (100 km., country road). The road goes along Tuesu sands, near beautiful Tynymbai 227 meters above sea level and Bokty 165 meters above sea level mountains. Boszhira valley is a picturesque bluff of Usturt plateau.
A Big dry salty lake Karashek joins the bluff from the south-east. Here we will see the giant formations of globe-shape and petrified Sea fauna. Walking around or going up the hill to see superb panorama (5 km). Overnight in tents.
8 Day. Boszhira - valley Akkurpa - valley Baysary - hollow Kamysty - Zhanaozen town - Aktau (280 km).
Breakfast. Transfer: Baszhira valley – Zhanaozen town - Aktau (280 km., country road, asphalt road). The end of our way goes along the inimitable galleries of stone columns in Akkurpa and Baisary valley, on the bottom of ancient sea Kamysty.
Our way to Aktau goes via the third deepest hollow in the world – Karagie. Arrival in Aktau, transfer to hotel, accommodation. Farewell supper at local eating house and overnight in the hotel.
9 Day. Aktau - Almaty.
Transfer to the airport and departure from Aktau to Almaty.

The price of the program “Deserts of Mangyshlak(in $ USA):

1 pax – 4096 on the person.
2 pax – 2190 on the person.
3 pax – 1659 on the person.
4 pax – 1613 on the person.
5 pax – 1396 on the person.
6 pax – 1297 on the person.
7 pax – 1278 on the person.
8 pax – 1235 on the person.
9 pax – 1194 on the person.
10 + 1 pax – 1212 on the person.

The price includes of the program “Deserts of Mangyshlak:

All land transfers.
Meeting and seeing off at the airport.
Services of guide and interpreter.
Accommodation at hotels (double standard rooms with breakfast).
Excursions according of the program.
Entry fees.
Ecological taxes.
Special permits.
Tents during the programm on double basis.
Guide consultations.
Bottled water on transfers.

The price does not include of the program “Deserts of Mangyshlak:

Airline tickets.
Tips, insurance and other medical subcosts.
Additional excursions.
Not mentioned in the program.
Personal extras like luggage overweight.
Laundry, phone, e-mail services.
Alcohol drinks.
Mini bar and other extra services at the hotels.

Additional payment for single accommodation - $ 286 p\p    

Additional payment for a full board - $ 478 p\p

Additional payment for a half board (dinners) - $ 276 p\p

The price of ticket for flight: Almaty - Aktau - Almaty is $ 520 p/p (Y class)

Please note, that the prices and timetable are subject to change without notice!

Additional information:

  1. Different wild animals may be seen during the tour: saiga, steppe gazelle, Usturt moufflon, wolf, fox, hare, jackal, snakes and lizards, different birds of prey.
  2. Under the cliffs of Usturt plateau, in Boszhira valley it is extremely windy.

Town the Aktau. Orthodox church the Blagoveshchenskiy. Town the Fort-Shevchenko. Town the Fort-Shevchenko. Necropolises Karagashty-aulie (XVI - IX c.c.).Canyon the Sultan-epe. Mosque Shakpak-ata.Cretaceous canyon Shakpakatasay. Canyon Kapamsay. Valley Torysh. The mount Sherkala.Valley Kokala. Cretaceous mountains Ayirakty and Ktayirakty. Mountains East Karatau. Sands Sauskan. Mosque Shopan-ata. Sand Tuyesu. Mount Bokty. Valley Boszhira. Valley Baysary. Zhanaozen town.

Alexander Petrov
photos.

The note:
Author program is Andrei Astafyev. Copying and use - from the sanction of the petrovsra@mail.ru