Kazakhstan is a mineral rich country with a tiny population in relation to its size, and yet it has built itself a new capital, Astana. However, most visitors to Kazakhstan prefer to visit the more interesting old capital of Almaty, meaning valley of apples, which sits nestled under the snowy peaks of the mighty Tien Shan (Celestial) Mountains. The splendid Zhenkov Cathedral is made entirely of wood, interlocked with such skill that no nails have been used in the construction. The markets are a delight and there is a fine museum of musical instruments.
Beyond Almaty, a holiday in Kazakhstan offers something for everyone. The cosmodrome at Baikonur, whose location was once the most highly classified secret, is now open to visitors so you can explore the world's largest operational space launch facility, from where the first manned spaceflight was launched. Balkash Lake, which stretches from the Kazakh Hills in the northeast to desert steppes in the southwest, is half freshwater and half saline and home to many species of birds, including flamingos.
Elsewhere Kazakhstan offers remarkable sand dunes, ancient burial grounds and fortresses, incredible scenery and a profusion of wildlife. Due to the vast spaces and limited intrusion from people, the varied fauna and flora exist unaffected by the usual pressures of human expansion.
- Visit the magnificent Charyn Canyon, Kazakhstan’s own Grand Canyon
- Spend a few nights in the Altai Mountains under canvas or in a traditional yurt
- Watch the magnificent Eagle Hunters, as Marco Polo described more than 700 years ago
- Visit the shrinking Aral Sea, now split into smaller lakes
OUR KAZAKHSTAN EXPERTISE
Paul Craven has been with Steppes Travel for 19 years and true travel beyond the ordinary is what he loves most. He is in his element when trekking through remote landscapes, exploring hidden back-streets and generally getting off the beaten track and setting foot where few have done before. During his travels Paul has also built up an interesting photo gallery of the 'world's worst toilets'!
Paul's knowledge of border crossings and their complications is hard to beat and many of the wonderful trips he prepares for our clients combine four or five countries over several months. He can tailor-make your holiday to your exact requirements, whether you're after a family adventure, a luxury holiday, a multi-country trip or you'd like to venture off the beaten track.