Travel Journal

Ugam National Park (Kazakhstan)

(Saturday 19 April 2008) by Lynda
After an overdose of culture in Turkistan and Sayram it was time to submerge myself in nature so we headed to Ugam National Park. This national park is on the border with
Can I take this one home please?
Can I take this one home please?
Kirghistan and Uzbekistan and the actual border is the Tai Shan mountain range with a lot of +5.000 peaks. It's amazing how the landscape changes very quickly. We left Shymkent on a marshrutky (very old minibus) to Lenger where the coordinator of Eco tourism picked us up for the trip to Karkasul. Lenger is a dusty little village but the trip to Karkasul took us through a very green valley and Karkasul was at the end of the valley. And spring has arrived in Kazakhstan so the views were quite spectacular, lots of green with snow peaked mountains in the back. We slept in a yurt in the back garden of a Kazakh family and sleeping again in a yurt (same as a ger in Mongolian) was a great experience. It was a bit cold because it's only spring....not summer yet but with my sleeping bag and an extra duvet it's warm enough. We ate with the Kazakh family and our hostess was convinced that European women are too thin so she was constantly filling our soup bowls and our plates with more food. We had a great time even though we had some problems with the language barrier, the Kazakh are so hospitable and friendly.

After our welcome lunch we made a walk around Karkasul and saw this amazing canyon, never seen so many colors in rocks and the late afternoon sun was also helping a lot. We even helped a little goat finding his mum again, the little ones are
Ugam National Park
Ugam National Park
soo cute!!!! I was tempted to sneak that little one in my rucksack and take it home with me. But to be honest, they are less cute when they get older.....

Our second day was unfortunately a rainy day but we decided to go out on a day-trip anyway to see the national park. The trip was good but indeed, very wet! But after a trip like that it's great to come back home and find a full table again.....and vodka to get warm! The next day we had more luck and the sun was out, the trees were blossoming and we even found wild tulips hidden in the mountains. It was great to walk around in this beautiful park and see the natural beauty of Kazakhstan.

After this great trip we had to say goodbye to this wonderful family and get back to Shymkent to catch our train to Astana.

Astana is a weird place, with the founding of the independent republic of Kazakhstan it was also decided that a new country needed a new capital so Astana was chosen to replace Almaty as capital. It's a strange place, a big construction site with new buildings everywhere and a very small old town centre. Astana is the second coldest capital in the world (after Ulaanbaatar) and yes indeed, it was snowing when we got there and very very cold!!!!! I spend two days in Astana before getting on the train to Moscow (another 55 hours in the train.......getting used to it by now).

I'm in Moscow now, I've closed my loop after months of traveling in Asia.......I'm back in Europe and to be honest........it feels great!!!!

  • Mooi by Cindy


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