Altyn-Emel - Domestic Tourism


Altyn-Emel – a national natural park in the Ile River Valley, Almaty Region – is located 280 kilometers north-east from the City of Almaty and 90 kilometers from the City of Saryozek.    

Altyn-Emel was organized in April 1996 and occupies the total area of 523,053 hectares, being the biggest park in the territory of Kazakhstan. 

The flora of the park contains about 1800 species of plants, including 21 species that are in the Red Book of Kazakhstan.  The fauna of the national park totals 393 species of vertebrates and 1658 species of invertebrates; 56 species of animals are in the Red Book of Kazakhstan, including 35 species of insects, 3 – of fish, 2 – of amphibians, 1 species of reptile, and 10 species of mammals, including argali, koulan, and Persian gazelle. 

The central farmstead of Altyn-Emel NNP is located in Basshi Village of Basshi Rural District, Kerbulak District. The most known points of interest of the park are: “Singing Barkhan”, loamy mountains cut by canyons – Aktau; Katautau – mountains formed by volcanic rocks. The famous Singing Barkhan, on whose slopes thickets of the rarest white saksaul can be met, is a hill from sand of light tones with the length of up to 3 km and the height of 150 m. The Singing Barkhan is a unique natural phenomenon on the right bank of the Ile River; it is famous for sounds resembling organ melody the sand produces in dry weather. Friction caused by movement of dry grains of sand, in combination with dry air, electrifies them, causing vibration, and favorable resonance conditions create sound waves of great force, which, reflecting from solid soil, cause the barkhan’s tremor. This sound is heard for several kilometers. In wet weather, the barkhan “does not sing”.  The more the moving sand mass is, the more expressive is the sound: from weak squeak to an organ melody and even roaring. This friction can be caused by wing, walking on the sand, etc. 

A beautiful view of the surrounding area is opened from the barkhan. A thin ribbon of the Ile River, violet mountains of the Sogetes and the Bogutes, behind which Ketmen Ranges peep out with their white tops, are seen in the south.  From the west, the horizon is closed with the abrupt side of the Great Kalkan, from the east – of the Small Kalkan. In the north, behind it, a lilac-blue ridge of outskirts of the DzungarianAla Tau, Chulak, Matay, and Altyn-Emel Mountains are seen. Lowlands, cut with thin lines of dry beds of rain flows, spread at their foot.  The south-west slope of the barkhan is soft, whereas the opposite one in the north-east has several ridges with gentle slopes. It is also curiously that the Barkhan does not wander in the plain in spite of sand instability and has stayed in its place for several millenniums. 

Here one can also visit the natural museum of the ancient geological past of the Earth: the Aktau Mountains, which are noted throughout the world for their paleontological field. Here remains of ancient animals whose age is estimated as 25-30 million years are preserved. 

And Katutau Mountain is a mountain from dark red sandstone having volcanic origin. The bizarre form of the mountain reminds a giant coral in the middle of the desert and cliffy spurs. 

Day one
  • Departure from Almaty at 08:00 a.m. 
  • Lunch in a guest house, set-off to the Singing Barkhan. 
  • Visit of Shokan Valikhanov spring.
  • Walk to the top of the dune. 
  • Visit of Oshaktas Stella
  • Return to the guest house, evening meal, night’s lodging.
Day two
  • Breakfast in the guest house.
  • Visit of a 700-year old willow. 
  • Excursion to a gorge of Aktau Mountains. 
  • Transfer to the Katutau Mountains, photo session.
  • Late dinner in the guest house, Basshi.
  • Arrival in Almaty at 09:00 p.m.


A trip in comfortable minivans (Mercedes Sprinter) - from 27 000 tenges for one tourist.

A trip in jeeps, “wild holiday” (overnight stop in tents at the feet of the Aktau Mountains, cooking hot meals by a guide) - from 41 000 tenges.

If you are going to live and have meals in a guest house of the National Park, the cost of a trip in jeeps is - from 46 000 tenges for one tourist.  

The cost includes transport, services of a Russian/Kazakh speaking guide, ecological duty, meals, accommodation in a guest house. A variant of stay in the park in the open air, intents, at the feet of the Aktau Mountains is possible. 

Additional option: an English speaking guide - 15 000 tenges for a group of tourists.

We provide the option of driving a car by a tourist on route. The conditions of hiring are discussed at request and in presence of needed skills and a driving license of such tourist. 
The complexity of the route: standard, suits for people with the average physical fitness. 
Precautions: 1-2 liters of fresh water, headwear, sunglasses, own first-aid kit. 

You can order the tour making a call to Travel Club Company:
telephone +7 (727) 258 51 17,
fax: +7 (727) 258 10 36, or sending your request by email: