Korgalzhyn Nature Reserve
and Tengiz Lake
Korgalzhyn Nature Reserve
Korgalzhyn Nature Reserve is on of the “pearls” of Central Asia that is included in the UNESCO heritage list of Kazakhstan along with Naurzum Nature Reserve. The territory of the Korgalzhyn Reserve covers an area of more than 543 000 ha and was founded in 1968 on the territory of the Teniz-Korgalzhyn depression. The flora of the reserve has 443 plant species, 5 of which are listed in the Red Book of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
The protected area of Tengiz and the Korgalzhyn lakes lies 135 km to the southwest of Astana. Almost 3 000 square km in size, this vast water basin in the center of the Kazakh steppe lies on the roads between two important bird migratory routes: the Afro-Eurasian and Indo-Central-Asian routes.
This chain of lakes, fed by the River Nura, is an excellent location for bird-watching, providing a home for the world’s most northerly group of pink flamingos, vital populations of pelicans, demoiselle cranes, and several rare species which bring birdwatchers here from western Europe on special tours. The rare species also include the black lark and the friendly lapwing. In addition to birds, also mammals like wolf, fox, marmot, ground squirrel and horse springer (a kind of jumping mouse), and even a few rare saiga antelopes live in the area.
Lake Tengiz is an important wetland site for birds and a part of a Ramsar wetland site of international importance, the Tengiz-Korgalzhyn Lake System. It takes in most of its volume from the Nura River, and the water is brackish. The lakes of Korgalzhin are freshwater and are set in an immensely vast sea of reeds, home to tens of thousands of water birds Ornithologists have counted almost 330 species of indigenous and migrant birds, almost 20 of which are threatened with extinction. Lake Tengiz receives the northernmost and largest colony of pink flamingos in the world, with up to 14 000 pairs making their nests out on the lake.
Travel to Korgalzhyn Nature Reserve
You can visit the reserve only by getting permission and accompanied by one of the staff from the reserve office since the object is a protected area. Therefore plan to visit on the weekday and book before your arrival. You can book through the their office website. The reserve’s crew can arrange either group or individual visits, the season starts in late April or early May when the tulips bloom and ends in mid-September with the impressive autumn bird migration.
You can get to the reserve by bus or private vehicle from Astana to the village of Korgalzhyn is 130 km southwest. The reserve is located 200 m from the bus station. Several buses a day run from Astana bus station. You will first need to head to the office of the nature reserve administration once you arrive at the Korgalzhyn village to register and obtain a permit for entry into the reserve. If you are arriving at the weekend, you better phone the previous week during office hours to arrange for an appointment. The reserve lies further to the west the fence to the entrance of the reserve is about 38 km away Korgalzhyn.
Other sights & destinations near Korgalzhyn
Page updated 18.9.2022