Altyn Emel National Park is one of my favourite places in Almaty region! I love it for endless steppes, mysterious dark old mountains and feeling that it never changes – someone three hundred years ago could stay at the same place and see completely the same fantastic landscape! So let me show you what you will see at the one of the largest national parks in Kazakhstan covering an area of some about 4600 square kilometers. Hopefully we will have chance to show you this park in our 2-day tour.
Its southern boundary is formed by the Ile River and by Lake Kapchagai. The northern boundary of the park is marked by a line of hills, a western spur of the Dzhungar Alatau range, whose name changes from west to east: Degeres, then Altyn Emel, then Koyandytau. It is said that the name 'Altyn Emel', which means 'golden saddle', was given to the hills by Genghis Khan when he passed this way in 1219 and saw them covered with sun- yellowed grass. I guess its happened after the rain, when sun suddenly goes out of heavy black clouds and all grass scorched by merciless steppe heat starts to shine like liquid gold against background of black cloudy sky and accompanied by surrealistic rainbow (sometimes even two!). I wish all my guests would see it with their own eyes! In the east of the park are two further ranges, Katutau and Aktau. The rest of the park comprises dry plain.
The way from Almaty to the main village Basshy takes around three hours. There is a great highway till Saryozek, after Saryozek the road is ok, with some potholes. On the way we will pass Kapchagay – a city in the Almaty region that appeared due to the start of construction of the Kapchagai hydroelectric station. Its famous now for casinos and giant artificial lake built in Soviet times. Its forbidden to gamble in Almaty and all playfull dudes can satisfy gambling hunger in this little town not far from Almaty. However for most of l