"The season of singing dunes" begins in late spring and ending in early autumn. The main thing is that there should be sunny, warm weather for several days and the dunes will “sing” you their songs.
The singing dune is a pearl in the famous Kazakhstani nature reserve Altyn-Emel. Altyn-Emel is one of the largest and most famous nature reserves in Kazakhstan with a size of more than 500 thousand hectares. Currently, "Singing Dune" has the official status of a state natural monument of national importance.
To truly enjoy the natural beauty of Altyn-Emel, we advise you to spend 2-3 days there - in one day you definitely can not get around all the natural and historical attractions.
A 150-meter sand dune rises lonely in the desert near the Ili River between the two ridges of the Dzungarian Alatau - Kysty-Kalkan (Small Kalkan) and Ulken-Kalkan (Big Kalkan). The length of the dune is about 3 km. What is around - only a rocky desert, overgrown with saxaul and small bushes ...
Where did this sand dune come from?
The Shilik strong wind almost always blows in this area. It was thanks to this wind that a mountain of sand was formed: for millennia, the wind raised sand dust and carried it stubbornly in one direction. But Big and Small Kalkans stood in its way - and, having flown onto this obstacle, the wind weakened and dropped sand ... So a huge sand dune grew up on this place, the crests of which reach 600-650 m.
As for the singing of the dune, then everything is simple and there is no mystery. In dry weather, grains of sand rub against each other because of the wind and make a variety of sounds - from a subtle squeak to a frightening roar that spreads for many kilometers around. Sometimes you can even hear an "organ concert" performed by the wind, moving a mass of sand.
However, you can "play" on a dune if you’re not lazy to climb its crest and go down the northern slope. Ofc you can’t call the ascent easy: the slope angle reaches 45 degrees, the sand under your feet constantly crumbles, and even the wind strives to prevent it, blowing directly into your face and throwing sand! But at the end of the road, all who overcome the road will be rewarded: a stunning view from the dune ridge to the Ili valley in the south, blue-purple ridges of the Dzungarian Alatau in the north and mountains in the west and east ...And you can slide down the sand from the crest of a dune - and then you will hear mysterious and mystical sounds coming right from the bowels of the sandy mountain, similar to the roar of an airplane, or the roar of a dragon...
Ofс, such an unusual natural phenomenon couldn’t exist for many centuries, without a lot of legends... In ancient times, the sounds of a singing dune frightened people. They believed that the spirits of the desert were singing, the bells of the cities buried beneath the sand were sound, or some mysterious animals roared.
And according to one of the other legends, the singing of a dune is the moan of a shaitan (shaitan is a devil). In ancient times, a shaitan lived on the Earth and did harm to people in every possible way. For this, God was angry with him and punished him, depriving him of the ability to instantly move from one place to another. So the shaitan had to walk... He went home (and his house, according to legend, stood on a mountain), walked for a long time in the desert and, finally, lay down to rest. He lay down and fell asleep. He still sleeps, turning into a sand dune. And when someone disturbs him - the wind or people - a dull moan breaks out from the chest of the shaitan...
The Singing Dune is located on the territory of the Altyn-Emel National Park, 182 km northeast of Almaty.
How to get there?
You can get to the Singing Dune from Almaty on your own or on a sightseeing bus, ordering a weekend tour in one of the tourist companies of Almaty. The distance from Almaty to the "Singing Dune" is about 300 km.
When is the best time to go?
The Almaty region has a desert, sharply continental climate with dry, cold winters and hot summers. In order not to fall under the summer sun, we advise you to go to the Altyn Emel from April to June and from August to October.
Don’t forget to bring
• water (as much as possible!);
• picnic mat;
• handkerchief to protect your face from sand;
How to dress?
• comfortable shoes (walking on the sand is difficult);
• raincoat (watch the weather forecast on the Internet);
• sports suit.
And a few more little things:
• Entrance to the Altyn-Emel nature reserve, where the Singing Dune is located, is only by special passes. You can get them in Almaty at the Zhetysu Hotel (55 Abylay Khan Ave., off. 244, 242).
Firstly, go to the central estate! There will be a guide for you. This is necessary because you can simply get lost in the huge territory of the park.
Fees: per person - 2$, guide services - 2$ per group, car - 1$ per day, . If you want to stay overnight, you can rent a guest house in the village 13 $ per person for a day.
The average July temperature is 26 ° C, the maximum is 45 ° C - keep this in mind when planning your trip and “dress code” in the summer.
“Singing Dune” is a unique miracle of nature. If you have a chance to visit it, be sure to do it! It is better to see once with your own eyes and hear with your own ears than to watch photos and videos on the Internet.