The highlight of this trip is a 4-day jeep tour in Mangystau, a region with breathtaking nature. The area is wild, sparsely populated, and truly magical.We will have three instances of wild camping in tents in great places in the area to enjoy the stunning sunrises and sunsets. The tour will cover a total of approximately 1,300 km, taking us through plateaus, valleys, steppes, deserts, and mountains. We will witness some of the most impressive natural wonders on the planet. The names of all the places are included in the program. Words are inadequate to describe this region, so I encourage you to watch the videos.
One day will be dedicated to exploring the necropolis and the underground mosque Karaman Ata, the canyon and ruins of Ushkuy, and the Aybuk canyon - one of the most photographed places in the area. We will also explore the city of Aktau (formerly Shevchenko) and relax on the beach on the Caspian Sea. There will be an opportunity for a trip to the only freshwater lake in Mangystau - Saura, and to the town of Fort Shevchenko, a remote but fascinating place with two well-equipped and interesting museums.
We will be flying to/from Aktau, Kazakhstan via Istanbul. All photos in the program are from our trip in the area.
Category: Group travel with set or flexible dates.
Travel period: Spring or Autumn.
Dates: May 15-23, 2023; September 10-18, 2023. Please note that dates may change slightly due to flight schedules. If you have a group of at least 3 or 5 people, we can organize this trip for dates that are convenient for you.
Duration: 7 nights/8 days.
Group size: 5-6 people.
Price for the program in Kazakhstan without flights: 1,360 euros per person (for a group of 5-6 people).
Included in the price: Tour leader (myself), local guides, and jeep drivers for the jeep safari; transfers to and from the airport; transportation by jeeps (3 people per car); 4 nights in a comfortable 3-star hotel in double rooms with breakfast included, and 3 nights of wild camping in tents in the desert; camping equipment; all meals (excluding dinner on the last day of the safari); all national park fees.
Not included in the price: International flights; lunches and dinners outside of the jeep safari; travel insurance (you can purchase one from your own country or we can arrange it for you); and other personal expenses.
(1) Air tickets with Turkish Airlines:
Outbound: Istanbul 01.25 - Aktau 06.15.
Return: Aktau 07.30 - Istanbul 08.45.
We can book your flights from any location in the world to Istanbul airport, where the group will meet, or directly to Aktau.
Entry requirements for Kazakhstan: Citizens of the EU, UK, and USA do not need a visa. Currently, there are no restrictions for entry into the country regarding Covid-19; no PCR test, vaccination certificate, or other document is required.
For the jeep safari, you need to bring your own sleeping bag; everything else is provided. After the group is confirmed, detailed instructions for luggage and other details will be given.
This program provides an overview of the main elements of the trip. If you want concrete solutions tailored to your specific case and circumstances, please email us. We can arrange flight tickets from anywhere in the world to the starting point of the trip. Additionally, we can take care of hotel transfers, specific documents, or provide advice on Covid-related travel requirements. We will assist you at every stage of the organization. Don't hesitate to get in touch with us!
Day 1 Arrive in Aktau, the administrative capital of the Mangystau region in western Kazakhstan
Today, we will explore the unique city of Aktau on the shores of the Caspian Sea. Founded in 1961, it is home to Kazakhstan's largest port on the Caspian Sea, which exports oil and other valuable products. Due to this, the city is well-developed and more expensive than other cities in Kazakhstan.
We will take a leisurely walk along the seaside streets, enjoy a slow coffee, and perhaps even relax on the beach to get to know this place. Overnight in a hotel.
Days 2-5 - The Wild Nature of Mangystau
Today we will hop on jeeps and head into the wild steppes and deserts of Mangystau. For the next four days, we will explore areas of otherworldly beauty, sleep in tents (wild camping), witness sunrises and sunsets from incredible locations (attention photographers), and overall enjoy a very rarely visited region with natural landmarks that fortunately still aren't on the mass tourist list. Words are poor to describe these places, so watch the videos that give some idea.
On the first day, we will travel approximately 350 km, with stops and visits to the following places: Konyen Kapamsay, Shakpak-Ata underground mosque, Konyen, Shakpak-tasai, Valley of the ball end, Colored clays of KokKala (Jurassic), and Mount Sherkala. We will be camping in the wild in the evening.
On the second day, we will travel another 300 km. We will also take a 40-minute walk in the Ayraqty area to see Shetpe village and Tuzbair salt lake. We will be camping in the wild again in the evening.
On the third day of our journey, we will travel approximately 350 km. Our route will take us across the Ustyurt Plateau to reach Becket Ata, a sacred place, and Bozhira, a location with breathtaking panoramas. We will stop here to take photos before descending from the plateau and camping in tents for the night.
On the last day, we will once again travel about 350 km. Prior to that, we will enjoy a 90-minute hike through Bozhira to marvel at its incredible beauty. From there, we will continue by jeeps to Bokty Mountain and then to Kyzylkup Colorful Mountain (also known as Tiramisu due to its resemblance to the cake). After taking some pictures, we will return to Aktau, where we will arrive in the evening and spend the night at our hotel.
Day 6 Necropolis and the underground mosque of Karaman Ata; Ushkuy Canyon and Ruins; Ayebek Canyon
First, we will explore the Necropolis and the underground mosque of Karaman Ata (13-19th century). Here is one of the largest and best-preserved necropolises in the Mangystau region, used in the past by local tribes as a place for sacrifices and swearing oaths.
We continue to Ushkuy Canyon and the ancient settlement located in artificially excavated caves in the canyon. Here we will see towers, fortress walls, and caves with medieval inscriptions. A very picturesque natural and interesting historical place.
The last object today is the canyon with the strange name Ayebeke - an extremely beautiful natural landmark - strange stone formations, arches, and deep gorges. Recently, the place has become popular among local beauties who come to take photos. Of course, we will also take many pictures. We return to the hotel in Aktau in the evening.
Day 7 Aktau; Excursion: Freshwater Lake Saura and Town of Fort Shevchenko
Today is a free day for rest and beach time on the Caspian Sea. There is an opportunity for an excursion to the only freshwater lake in Mangystau, Saura, where you can see turtles and other local species. The excursion also includes a visit to the town of Fort Shevchenko, a remote but interesting place with two very well-equipped and interesting museums. The price of this excursion is not included in the overall price and costs $60 per person.).
Day 8 Return flight to Istanbul and Sofia
Today we fly back to Istanbul or back home.
How to join us
Please email us if you would like more information about this trip or to sign up. We will respond as soon as possible and keep you updated on the organisation and all other details. If you are a group of at least 5 or 6 people (maximum 8), we can discuss dates that work for your group. You can also sign up for future trips. To join the list, simply send us your names. That's it!