Ecotourism Growing in South Kazakhstan

SOUTH KAZAKHSTAN – Ecotourism could become a profitable part of the South Kazakhstan region’s budget. The number of domestic and foreign tourists eager to summit the snowy mountain peaks, roam the unique gorges and look for argali, snow leopards and Turkestan lynx is growing each year.

For those who prefer less-traveled areas, the management of the Sairam-Ugam National Park has developed seven tourist routes: four horseback and walking journeys, one horseback trek and two hiking trips. All of them are educational and athletic.

The total length of the tourist paths in the national park is more than 600 kilometres. The park includes seven natural areas, from the steppe zone in the foothills of the Western Tien Shan to the highlands.

The area is rich with wildlife with 59 species of mammals including the endemic Western Tien Shan Menzbir’s marmot, about 300 species of birds and 1,635 species of plants. 240 species in the area are included in the Red Book of Kazakhstan. Bears, wolves, wild boars, goats, deer, badgers and porcupines are common sights in the park. The graceful Karatau argali that appear there only in spring are infrequent guests in the southern parts of Boralday Ridge.

Green cover, wildlife, diverse terrain, rivers, waterfalls and mountain lakes create picturesque landscapes, which have great recreational potential. There are also religious sites, petroglyphs, ancient settlements and tombs of different historical periods. The cultural landscape is still poorly studied and ripe for exploration.

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