Russia and Kazakhstan - two countries, unique natural attractions in one expedition auto tour.
Behind the gloomy and little-known names for tourists - «the Volga delta, the Ustyurt plateau, the Mangyshlak peninsula» - there is a huge and unique world filled with natural and historical monuments, geological objects, standing on a par with the famous American Grand Canyon and Monument Valley. Don't believe me? Check it out!
SO, WHAT WE WILL SEE:
The Volga Delta is the largest river delta in Europe and the 8th in the world, «a pearl» of Russian nature
The Caspian seal (Phoca caspica), the American mink (Mustela vison) and the otter (Lutra lutra), an indigenous inhabitant of the Volga delta, are found in the channels of the Volga delta (occasionally and in the main channel of the river). The Volga Delta is one of the most important areas on the Eurasian continent where birds gather during the periods of seasonal migrations. In the areas of the Astrakhan Reserve, the concentration of migratory waterfowl and near-water birds is especially high: anseriformes (14 species), waders (25), gulls (7), ankle-footed (11 species). We will stop here at a tourist base in comfortable houses and every day we will make boat trips to places where birds and waterfowl, as well as amazing plants, congregate, observing their life and taking unique pictures.
These are not great mountain systems, like the Himalayas or the Andes, but their beauty and uniqueness will not leave anyone indifferent - we guarantee! There are many caves, faults, bizarre shapes of all colors and shades in them. Of course, we will not be able to see and explore all of them, but we will definitely go through something, climb some peaks from which a beautiful and majestic view opens up. And if there is a common desire of the group, then we can spend the night on one of the peaks, seeing the sun to the west and the next morning meeting it in the east.
A lonely rounded mountain with a height of more than 300 meters in the middle of a bare steppe, one of the attractions of Mangyshlak. If you look at it from one side, the mountain resembles a huge white yurt, but from the other - Shergala is like a sleeping lion with its huge head resting on its paws. Therefore, the mountain was named — Shergala, which translated from Turkmen means «Lion Mountain».
Trough Karagiye «Black mouth» a real mystery for geologists. The exact nature of its origin cannot be found out until now. It is located at the foot of the Karakhau Mountains. The length of the depression is 50 km, the width is 30 km. Karagiye is in fifth place in the ranking of the deepest troughs in the world, its absolute elevation is 132 meters below the level of the World Ocean, and 100 meters below the waters of the Caspian Sea.
Paleontological open-air museum
The remains of marine organisms that can be found in the Cretaceous deposits of Ustyurt are extremely diverse: ammonites, numerous shells of bivalve and gastropods (including large oysters), perfectly preserved shells of sea urchins, teeth of sharks and rays, vertebrae of bony fish.
Dragon eggs and stone mushrooms
These are, of course, just stones, shaped like huge eggs and the same huge mushrooms, but their number and scale are amazing!
An ancient underground temple, distinguished by its scale, dates back to 9 – 10 centuries, and is one of the main mysteries of the Mangyshlak Peninsula. It is located off the southern coast of Sary-Tash Bay. The entrance to the temple is skillfully decorated with various emblems, animal figures, epitaph inscriptions and Arabic script, which are woven into an ornament. All elements make up a complete and thoughtful composition .
Ancient settlements of the Mangyshlak peninsula
For many years, the Mangyshlak Peninsula has been a platform for scientists studying its mysteries. During this time, the Paleolithic team discovered more than a thousand monuments dating back to the Middle Ages. Among them are overground and underground temples, necropolises. Small rooms carved right into the rocks, which served as either tombs or abodes of Muslim hermits, are found throughout the territory of the Mangyshlak Peninsula.
And not only will we see it, but we will definitely bathe!
Fort Shevchenko, Atyrau and Aktau cities
Atyrau is the oil center of Kazakhstan. Aktau, the largest and most civilized city in the region, a major port, a regional center. Fort Shevchenko is the most ancient, former tsarist outpost of Russia in the Caspian Sea .
The route day by day:
Meeting in Astrakhan. We get in SUVs and immediately go to the tourist base in the Volga delta.
We spend these two days inside the DELTA on especial "bird-safari".
Early in the morning, right after breakfast, we set off on a trip to the Ustyurt plateau in Kazastan. On this day, we will pass the Russian-Kazakh border (queues for 2-4 hours are possible), reach the city of oil workers of Atyrau, observing a large number of oil wells along the way, take a short sightseeing tour of the city, and then stop in the steppe, setting up a tent camp there.
Hiking breakfast and we continue our way across Kazakhstan. Today we will drive about 600 km. along the highway that connects the cities of Atyrau and Aktau, but at some point we will leave it and go on a journey along the dirt roads of the Mangyshlak peninsula. We will camp at the foot of Mount Sherkala - a unique geological object, which we will study at sunset, as well as in the morning of the next day.
After breakfast and a walk around the Sherkala mountain, we will continue to explore the stunning nature of the Mangyshlak peninsula. Having traveled all over it, in the evening we will arrive in the city of Aktau, where we will stop for the night in a comfortable hotel - a shower and a soft bed are perceived especially well after several hot days and dusty roads. .
In the morning we set off by car towards the Ustyurt plateau. The first stop will be in the area of the Karagiye trough, then we will visit the city of Zhanaozen, where we will have lunch in a cafe, and after us we will wait for a road monstrous in quality and quantity of dust to the entrance to the Ustyurt plateau. Having overcome it and soaked in pulley, we will drive up to a steep cliff, from which a view of the plateau, incredible in its beauty and singularity, will open. About three aces we will drive along this cliff, stopping every now and then to take pictures, and then we will start down the steep and bad road, so that in the evening we will be next to those natural monuments. which we saw from above. We will set up a camp at the bottom of a canyon with a resounding echo and fantastic views.
For two days we drive around the plateau in cars, stopping and hiking along and around stone pillars, arches, canyons, salt lakes, sometimes climbing small mountains, sometimes exploring their surroundings. on the 10th day in the evening we leave along the same road on which we arrived at the plateau, to the top and set up a tent camp on the edge of the cliff - fantastic pictures of sunrise and sunset are guaranteed the next day!
All good things come to an end, so the main part of our wonderful journey is coming to an end. In the morning. after a hike breakfast and the last photo session on the edge of the cliff, from which a fantastic view of the Ustyurt plateau opens up, we set off on our way back to the city of Aktau, where we will arrive in the evening and check into a hotel.
Transfer to the airport and flight home.
Organizer and guide Evgeny Androsov:
The film about the Ustyurt plateau
How much it costs
2200 Euros per person
What is included in the price
- travel by comfortable off-road vehicles (Toyota Land Cruiser or similar) all days of the tour,
- accommodation in tourist class hotels in Aktau (two nights),
- accommodation in cottages at a tourist base in the Volga delta (4 nights),
- accommodation in tents on all other days of the route (tents are provided),
- two camping meals a day, as well as snacks as lunch; water, tea, coffee in the car while driving and during boat trips in the Volga delta,
- general camping equipment (tents, pots, burners, gas),
- work of a guide-instructor, work and accommodation of off-road drivers,
What is NOT included in the price
- air tickets,
- food in cafes and restaurants,
- personal equipment of participants (sleeping bags, rugs, trekking poles, etc.),
- medical insurance,
- expenses for obtaining Russian and Kazakh visas, consular fees,
- souvenirs and other personal expenses of participants,
- other expenses not specified in the section «included in the price».
How difficult is the trip? What are the limitations?
The tour is not difficult. We will be walking light, the maximum walking distance is 10 km. in a day. This means that with minimal physical training, you will be able to withstand all the hiking loads without any problems.
Recommendations for clothing and equipment:
We drive in a wonderful time of the year: in the south of Russia and in Western Kazakhstan there is still no summer heat in May, but there are no cold weather either - the temperature is comfortable during the day, and there may be light frosts at night.
Recommended minimum set of clothing and equipment:
hiking pants, you can transformers - pants-shorts, or pants and shorts separately, a light hiking jacket, fleece, trekking boots, light thermal underwear for sleeping, baseball cap or panama hat, several T-shirts, backpack 60-90 liters, sleeping bag 0 degrees comfort, travel mat, set of personal utensils (bowl, cup, spoon), headlamp, sunglasses with good UV protection, sunscreen.
How to participate
- If you are interested in this tour, leave a request through the form below or call the indicated numbers, I, Evgeny Androsov or my assistants will tell you in detail about the route and answer all your questions.
- To reserve a place, you must make an advance payment of 30% of the cost of the tour if it is more than 45 days before the start and 50% of the cost if it is less than 45 days before the start. Prepayment is refundable 45 days or more before the start of the hike / tour and non-refundable, unfortunately, less than 45 days before the start of the hike / tour, if the refund is related to your refusal to participate (for any reason). If the tour does not take place due to our fault, due to a group that has not been formed or due to force majeure, the prepayment will be guaranteed to be refunded to you in any case.
- During the hiking part of the tour, the group moves at the speed of the last participant, the participants are engaged in cooking and setting up tents under the guidance of an instructor.
Enroll in this tour
The cost of participation is Euro 2200 per person
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