Sayram-Ugam National Park Presents Upgraded Tourist Route

ASTANA – The Sayramsu Anizdary (Legends) tourist trail in the Sayram-Ugam National Park, located in the Turkistan Region, was officially opened with the support of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) on June 28, the UNDP’s press service reported.

Photo credit: Click to see the map in full size. The map is designed by The Astana Times.

The trail underwent renovations, including the addition of entrance gates, viewing points, art installations, information signs, and thematic placards presenting information about the park’s biodiversity. All these elements were designed using locally-sourced natural materials, blending seamlessly with the surrounding landscape. 

The trail covers a total distance of approximately 16 kilometers and takes about six to eight hours to complete, considering its ascents and descents. The Sayramsu Anizdary trail aims to introduce visitors to the unique nature of the Western Tien-Shan Region.

Protected wilderness areas, particularly national parks, play a significant role in developing ecotourism. Kazakhstan is home to 14 national parks, boasting a diverse range of forests, mountains, deserts, and lakes. 

Photo credit:

According to the Kazakh Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, the number of tourists visiting the national parks in 2022 increased by 25% compared to the previous year, with nearly 2 million people.

The UNDP supports the development of ecotourism in the Sayram-Ugam National Park by enhancing the safety of outdoor enthusiasts and ensuring an equal distribution of recreational activities are priorities in improving tourist routes and trails within natural areas. In 2022, the national park welcomed 68,350 tourists, and the number reached 64,500 from the beginning of 2023.

The UNDP Resident Representative Katarzyna Wawiernia emphasized that increasing the potential of specially protected natural areas, developing ecotourism, and supporting local communities are critical priorities in Kazakhstan’s commitment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, forming the foundation for the economic and social well-being of the regions and positively influencing biodiversity conservation and ecological systems. 

Photo credit:

“The UNDP, in collaboration with its national partners, is conducting a series of initiatives to promote ecotourism development in Kazakhstan’s protected areas. It supports the local population and implements comprehensive measures to mitigate the risks associated with biodiversity loss,” said Wawiernia.

According to Daniyar Turgambayev, Deputy Chairman of the ministry’s Forestry and Wildlife Committee, the country is working to enhance the legislative framework on specially protected natural areas, including the updated version of the National Standard 2993-2017 on ecotourism. 

“We also implemented automation of national park checkpoints to ensure transparency in collecting fees for using protected natural areas and to reduce corruption risks. The majority of national parks are now connected to banking payment services, enabling visitors to purchase entrance tickets online,” he said. 

Tourist trails have also been upgraded in the Qaton-Qaragay and the Kolsai Lakes National Park with the support of the UNDP. Regarding sustainable tourism development, the UNDP has launched virtual tours in the West Altai Nature Reserve, Qaton-Qaragay, Sayram-Ugam, Tarbagatai National Parks, and the Kolsai Lakes National Park, offering detailed information about the natural sites. 

“Over the past 14 years, UNDP assisted in establishing eight new specially protected natural areas and in expanding the territories of three existing protected areas in the country. The new Aqzhaiyq, Altyn-Dala, Ile-Balkhash nature reserves, Buiratau, Zhonghar Alatau, and Tarbaghatai national parks have been created. The first-ever ecological corridors of Qapshaghai-Balkhash and Yrghyz-Torghai-Zhylanshyq, covering 2.9 million hectares, were established,” reads the press statement. 

Get The Astana Times stories sent directly to you! Sign up via the website or subscribe to our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Telegram, YouTube and Tiktok!