Published on : Friday, August 25, 2017
The Korgalzhyn Nature Reserve, one of Kazakhstan’s major attractions, occupies almost 550,000 hectares in two regions about 130 kilometres southwest of the capital. The place features included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The vast lands of the reserve provide the perfect living space for Asia’s largest population of water birds. The wildlife community consists of more than 60 rare species of plants and animals, including flamingos and the Shrenk wild tulip, listed in the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red Book. The pink birds come here once a year, and hence, it has become a sought-after tourist destination.
The Pana (Shelter) Guest House in Korgalzhyn village has enthusiastic visitors from many countries. Weekend tours are especially in demand, said host Bibinur Amanzholova.
“Many foreign tourists from Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, South Korea and the U.S. come to visit us. We introduce them to the national customs, traditions and music.
We invite the Dudarai folklore ensemble for a concert programme. The season lasts from April-October, as flamingos arrive and tulips blossom,” Amanzholova said.
There are also guided excursions to the reserve and the museum is across the road. The guest house can accommodate up to 20 people and lodging in yurts or small houses with three meals a day costs 10,000 tenge (US$30).
The Ptichyi Rai (Bird’s Paradise), which provides necessary information and tours around the reserve, is seeking to become an environmental education centre not only for the locals, but also for visitors.
The eco-route is a perfect opportunity to enjoy bird watching at Lake Birtaban. From mid-April to September, many species visit the shores to breed. Flamingos usually arrive in Korgalzhyn for the entire spring and summer.
Swimming in the lake, boating and sailing catamarans are offered by the host and ice fishing is popular during winter months. One can collect souvenir items made by local craftspeople at the kiosks.