Altyn Emel / all year around
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Trip to the region of unique natural phenomena at the foot of the legendary Dzungarian Alatau, national park Altyn Emel (Signing Dune — Aktau mountains — Katutau lava mountains — 700 y.o willow tree)
Activity level Средне
Altyn Emel National Park
Altyn Emel is one of Kazakhstan’s National Parks, located in the Ili River Valley in the Almaty region. Formally established in 1996, the park is a focal point for eco-tourism and the conservation of rare and endangered species, and has several notable archeological and cultural sites. Chief among these conservation efforts are the restoration of the Przewalski’s horse, one of the last true wild horses, to its native habitat.
Other highlights of the park include the 3-kilometer long Singing Dune, canyons cutting through the chalky Aktau mountains, and the colorful volcanic Katutau hills.
The Singing Dune
The Singing Dune is 150-meter high, 3-kilometer long sand dune within Altyn Emel National Park. The dune has been formed by wind blowing light sand from the banks of the Ili River to the Greater and Lesser Kalkans mountain ranges, where it settles to form this famous site. The dune is said to “sing” because of the amazing, organ-like sound that ranges from a squawk to a roar and is created by the shifting and friction of sand grains against each other. One fascinating detail of this dune is that it does not move within the valley, but for several millennia has been located in the same place and with the same form. From the southwest, the slope is invariably smooth; from the northeast, it has several ridges with gentle slopes. According to legend, the dune is a sleeping devil who lies in rest, and the sound is his groaning any time someone tries to raise him from his slumber.
The Aktau Mountains are one of the most popular attractions of Altyn Emel National Park. Although these mountains are named for their primarily whitish coloring, in certain parts they reveal a wide range of shades and colors. At around 400 million years old, they are a unique geological formation explored by only a small circle of paleontologists from around the world.
Among the chalky hills of the Aktau mountains today you can find ancient fossils of plants and animals, showing the richness of the history of our planet. It is believed that the Aktau mountains formed from currents shifting layers on top of each other under the Tethys Sea during the Mesozoic era. These ancient mountains are interesting not only to scientists and researchers, but also to tourists—their beautiful colors can range from burgundy to green or bright red to whitish blue. It is impossible to leave here without spectacular photographs.
- The Singing Sand-Dune — organ sounds in steppe
- Walking through the Martian landscapes of red mountains of Ak Tau
- Burial mounds of Saka kings and prehistoric rock engravings dated XVI-XIV centuries B.C.
- Excursion to the 700 year old willow, witness of Genghis Khan’s campaigns
- Off road vehicle
- English speaking guide
- Hotel accommodation
- Food: soft drinks and snacks on the way, picnic, breakfasts,lunches, dinners
- National park admission fee
- Horseback riding (by request)
- Airline tickets
- Visa support (by request)
- Health insurance
- Photoshooting (by request)
09:30 — 13:00 transfer Almaty — Baschy village
13:00 — 14:00 lunch
14:00 — 15:30 free time, visiting museum of the Altyn Emel national park
15:30 — 16:30 transfer to Signing Dunes
16:30 — 18:30 walk through the Dune
18:30 — 20:00 transfer back to the village (watching sunset on the way)
20:00 — 21:00 dinner
9:00—10:30 transfer to Ak Tau mountains
10:30—12:30 walking tour
13:30—15:00 attending of the volcanic mountains Katutau and 700 year old willow
15:00—19:30 return to Almaty