Kazakhstan’s social media sensation and pink-coloured lake is just two hours from the capital

NUR-SULTAN – Social media is flooded with images of Lake Kobeytuz, which has turned pink. The waterway is conveniently located two hours of driving from the capital and visitors cannot get enough of it.

Maslikhat (local representative body) Deputy Miras Shekenov at Lake Kobeytuz. Photo credit: Miras Shekenov Facebook Page.

Famous for its healing mud and colour change every several years, Lake Kobeytuz is a landmark of Ereymentau, a city in the Akmola region Kazakhstan. Scientists have been trying to solve the mystery behind the metamorphosis for years and have finally learned the culprit is dunaliella salina, a type of halophile green micro-algae especially found in sea salt fields. Due to the ability to create large amounts of carotenoids, it creates a reddish hue. People use D. Salina in cosmetics and dietary supplements for its antioxidant activity and taking baths in the waters also has beneficial effects.

“The aqueous solution of this lake, the so-called brine, is saturated saline. A similar example is the Dead Sea. The colour is caused by the fact that in hot years and years with light rains, good conditions are created for the development of extremophile microorganisms that can survive in difficult conditions. They reproduce well in such years and such a saturated pink colour appears – the population of bacteria increases enormously. Next year, this may not be the case – I remember it turning this colour only once, maybe eight or ten years ago; afterwards, it was just gray. So, we do have unique places. Travel around Kazakhstan, love your homeland,” Maslikhat (local representative body) Deputy Miras Shekenov wrote on his Facebook page.

Australia’s famous pink saline Lake Hiller gains its colour due to D. Salina as well as red halophilic bacteria present in the salt crusts. While the best way to view the lake is by air and most people can take photos only from above, Kazakhs are lucky their pink natural beauty is easily accessible by car.

One way to reach the lake and meet up with other travel enthusiasts is by using the services of a travel company. Kompas.asia, which organises weekend tours from the capital, is forming a 7,000 tenge (US$18) day trip to the pink lake on Sept. 15. The price includes transfer to and from the city, a guided walking tour and photo report. The lake is only knee-deep, making it perfect for those hunting for unusual pictures. Interested visitors may check the company’s Instagram account @kompas.asia to discover other interesting, budget-friendly trips.