Route: Karaganda Region (Kazakhstan)
Season: January - December
Best Period:March - May, October - November
Mountain range Bektau-Ata is unborn volcano. In the distant past, in the Paleozoic era, at the boundary of the Permian and Carboniferous, a great volcano started its birth. It has melted the rocks, but has not exploded. In this place a giant granite plug was remained, which has closed the volcano vent forever. Mountain range is small in size - about 6 × 6 km (4,000 ha), but contains extraordinary diversity of bizarre rocks and thorny gorges. The processes of weathering have been destroying granite for thousands of years, and where it has succumbed, deep cracks and niches have been formed, and some parts of the mountains have taken the most fantastic forms. They are called "Mushroom", "Chest", "Turtle". One of the arrays is named Sarykulja - "Yellow Argali."
DAY BY DAY ITINERARY
Day 1. Almaty - Balkhash Lake - Bektau-Ata
Group meeting and departure from Almaty at 07:00. Lunch in a cafe (or picnic) on the way. Stop by the shore of Balkhash lake, rest and photography. Arrival to Bektau-Ata guest complex, accommodation. Departure to the shooting point of sunset - Bektau-Ata and Sarykulja mountains. Return to the guest complex, dinner and preparations to the next day. Free time. Overnight in the guest house.
Total automobile mileage in this day approx. 700 km
Day 2. Bektau-Ata
Early wake up at 04:30 for photographing the dawn. Departure to the shooting point - Karabota lake. Return to the guest complex, breakfast. Free time. Lunch, walking around the mountain. Departure to the evening shooting point - a draw-well on the background of Sarykulja mountains. Return to the guest complex, dinner, free time and preparation for the next day. Overnight in the guest house.
Total automobile mileage in this day approx. 50 km
Day 3. Bektau-Ata
Wake up at 07:00. Preparation for hiking to the top of the mountain. Breakfast and start of hiking. Reaching of the top approx. at 14:00. Rest, lunch, photographing. The descent from the top of the mountain until 19:00. Return to the guest complex. Dinner, free time and preparation for the next day. Overnight in the guest house.
Walking distance in this day approx. 15 km
Day 4. Bektau-Ata
Early wake up at 04:30 for photographing the dawn. Departure to the shooting point - Sarykulja mountain. Return to the guest complex, breakfast. Free time. Lunch and departure for a walk to Sarakulja mountain. Photographing of sunset. Return to the guest complex, dinner. Short briefing on the next day program. Free time. Overnight in the guest house.
Total automobile mileage in this day approx. 30 km, walking distance - 10 km
Day 5. Bektau-Ata - Balkhash Lake
Wake up at 07:00, breakfast and departure to the northern coast of Balkhash lake. Lunch (picnic) on the way in a picturesque location. Movement further along the lake shore, with stops to take pictures. Setting a camp by the lake. Walking along the shore, shooting of sunset. Dinner and short briefing on the next day program. Free time. Optional - photographing of the night sky. Overnight in a tent camp on the Balkhash lake shore.
Total automobile mileage in this day approx. 200 km
Day 6. Balkhash Lake
Early wake up at 05:30 for photographing the dawn. Breakfast, disassembling of the camp and preparation for departure. Movement along the lake shore with stops to take pictures. Lunch (picnic) on the way in a picturesque location. Arrival to the overnight place on Kentubek peninsula, setting a camp. Walking along the beach, sunset shooting. Return to the camp, dinner, free time. Overnight in a tent camp on Balkhash lake shore.
Total automobile mileage in this day approx. 100-150 km
Day 7. Balkhash Lake - Almaty
Early wake up at 05:30 for photographing the dawn. Breakfast, disassembling of the camp and departure to Almaty. Lunch on the way in a cafe. Arrival to Almaty approx. at 20:00.
Total automobile mileage in this day approx. 600 km
The tour program is very intensive, almost all camp-to-camp transfers will be off-roads. You will need to get up very early and walk a lot in search of the best shots. All of this - in the desert, where the weather often changes: it can be very hot during the day and quite cool during the evening and night. There are many dangerous insects and reptiles. That is why, it is strongly recommended to refrain from the use of alcohol and to be extremely careful.
Tour Price for 2017: 1015 USD Per Person, provided 4 persons traveling together
Tour Price INCLUSIONS:
1. Transport services on the entire route
2. Guide-photographer service
3. Camping equipment for common use (camping tent, table, chairs, cooking utensils)
4. Food for cooking in field conditions
5. Permits to visit the specially protected natural areas, all environmental fees
6. Accommodation and meals in Bektau-Ata guest complex
Tour Price EXCLUSIONS:
1. Accommodation in Almaty before/after the tour, if required
2. Airport transfer, if required
3. Meals not indicated in the program and/or not included into the tour price
4. Rent of personal camping outfit (tent, sleeping bag, сaremat, personal utensils, etc.)
5. Medical insurance
6. Visa support and registration on the territory of Kazakhstan, if required
7. Personal expenses and other expenses not indicated in the program
RECOMMENDATIONS on clothing and equipment:
Taking into account that in the evenings and at night can be quite cold, be sure to take with you:
1. Waterproof membrane Gore-Tex jacket and pants
2. Warm fleece jacket or Polartec jacket
3. Windproof jacket
4. Several sets of underwear, several pairs of socks and a pair of warm socks
5. Several T-shirts with short sleeves, shorts
6. Appropriate hiking boots, shoes for camp (lightweight sneakers)
7. Sunglasses and sunscreen
8. Head torch with adjustable brightness and beam distance, several sets of batteries
9. Thermos for 1-1.5 liters, or other water container
10. Personal hygiene items, personal first aid kit (for chronic diseases is obligatory)
11. Camera, waterproof carrying case, a neutral filter with variable density, tripod, remote control, wide-angle and telephoto lenses
12. Anti acarid remedy
13. Tent, sleeping bag, caremat, utensils for personal use