This is the land where we are guests, not the hosts, where bird voices are heard everywhere in a ringing silence. Make yourself a gift, visit this nature reserve and feel the unity with Mother Nature. The vast wetland, a combination of steppes and lakes, is the habitat of wolves, wild boars, and saigas, but it is birds, and especially pink flamingos, that attract everyone's attention.
Korgalzhyn Nature Reserve is a diamond on a map of Kazakhstan. This unique place is under the protection of UNESCO. It is famous for its rich flora and fauna, as well as stunning natural landscapes. This reserve is a real paradise for a person who likes to watch birds. An unforgettable experience is left with an exciting spectacle of mass flight, as well as large concentrations of waterfowl on the lakes. The reserve is located at the crossroads of the three main flight paths of birds, and that is why you can see a lot of birds here.
The biodiversity of the reserve is unique. The reserve is home to up to 350 species of birds, 43 species of mammals and 500 species of higher plants. The Korgalzhyn Nature Reserve has sheltered several bird species whose existence is in danger now. They are listed in the Red Book. First of all, it is a fabulously beautiful bird - pink flamingo. "Flamingo" is translated from the Latin as "Flame". The bird is flexible, graceful and rather large. Flamingos are birds of rare beauty and extraordinary nature. In zoos, they live up to 35 years, and in the wild, they reach 70 years.
Here is an amazing fact: they choose one partner for life and have one chick during the season, which they take care of together. They lay eggs in Kazakhstan, and they look after the chicks here. In August-September, chicks leave the region as adult flamingos. Flamingos are very sensitive to irritating external factors, at the slightest alarm they can permanently leave their habitats, therefore it is even forbidden to fly planes below a certain height above the reserve. It is a huge joy to see flocks of flamingos and to observe their behavior. These are beautiful graceful birds with unusual pink plumage.
You can also see angler birds - curly pelicans and great cormorants, graceful gray and white herons and belladonna. As well as swans, geese, ducks, cranes, larks, herons and a great many other birds. From mammals, you can see saigas, steppe groundhogs, several species of ground squirrels, as well as a fox and others...
The territory of the Korgalzhyn Nature Reserve is occupied by salt and freshwater lakes.
But the territory is not only lakes, but half of its territory is also occupied by a huge western steppe, which is very important for preserving the unique natural steppe ecosystems. They are habitats for mass and rare plant species. For example, here you can see the Red Book species - Schrenk tulip, very rare and beautiful flowers.
In the spring, during the flowering of tulips, irises, geraniums, and other flowers, the steppe turns into an unforgettable sight. You can see the show - thousands of colorful balls light upon a green carpet! The air is clean and fresh, filled with the thick aroma of flowering herbs and wormwood. In the summer, the steppe is decorated with feather grass, which sways like a white sea in the wind.
What is the best time to visit?
The best time to visit the reserve is from mid-April to mid-June. A particularly interesting period is the beginning of May when Schrenk’s tulips begin to bloom, and the entire steppe is filled with bright shades of these amazing and rare flowers listed in the Red Book.
The main visitors of this center are schoolchildren and students, guests of the capital, tourists, bird watchers. During all the time, it was visited by over 22,000 people. Foreign citizens make up about 10-15 percent of the total number of tourists. Everyone strives to get here to see the reserved nature of Korgalzhyn. Unfortunately, this is not always possible, especially in May, when tulips and other primroses bloom in the steppe, because and there are a lot of people who want to see all this beauty. By the way, in the winter months, ice-fishing is popular here.
The village of Korgalzhyn, located near the nature reserve, is a good start to your trip to the region. The village can be easily reached by bus or minibus from Nur-Sultan. There you can find the administration of the nature reserve, a museum of nature and several guest houses. Also, you can buy food in grocery stores and go to the nature reserve.
Before entering the nature reserve, all visitors must register at the administration office. It is best (and if you are planning to come over the weekend) to call the nature reserve administration in advance and inform you that you would like to visit the reserve. The administration works from 09.30-13.00 and from 14.30-17.30 from Monday to Friday.
Tips, if you decide to visit the Korgalzhyn Nature Reserve:
- there are no roads on the territory of the reserve, and all transfers are carried out by jeep (usually a Vaz Niva car);
- due to bad weather, for safety reasons, the guide can change the route, because in case of heavy rain the car may get stuck in the mud;
- due to the bad weather, there is a case when you can’t see a lot of birds or animals since in bad weather they hide at different lakes of the reserve;
- you can see birds and animals at a big distance with the help of binoculars that the guide will provide you with;
- flamingos can usually be seen from late April to October;
- gophers and saigas can usually be seen from May to July.
Recommended clothing: long-sleeved shirt, sneakers, sunglasses, hat.
You can easily buy a tour to the Korgalzhyn Nature Reserve - many agencies organize such trips. Bird lovers will really like this excursion.