adventure travel & photography
Destinations: Pakistan ◦◦ India ◦◦Turkey ◦◦ Egypt ◦◦ Bulgaria ◦◦ Mongolia ◦◦ Bangladesh ◦◦ Jordan ◦◦ Russia ◦◦ Turkmenistan ◦◦ Iran ◦◦ Kazakhstan ◦◦ Japan ◦◦ Hong Kong ◦◦ Greece ◦◦ Ukraine ◦◦ Syria ◦◦ Morocco ◦◦ Italy ◦◦ Mauritania ◦◦ Oman ◦◦ Algeria ◦◦ Faroe Islands
Tours/Expeditions: List with all our scheduled tours and expeditions
In April 2022, I led a small group of adventurers on a journey through western Kazakhstan. After spending a day in Aktau, the capital of Mangistau Province, we set out on a jeep safari into the heart of the Mangyshlak Peninsula. All of us in the group were well-traveled individuals who had seen many unique places around the world. However, when we arrived at the edge of the deep gorge in front of Bozjyra, we were rendered speechless for a few minutes. We had not expected such beauty, extraordinary scenery, and a breathtaking view. Throughout the trip, we couldn't help but admire the natural wonders and unique atmosphere of the area.
The peninsula is located on the Ustyurt Plateau, which extends into Uzbekistan. In 2021, I led a small group to explore the same plateau around the Aral Sea in Uzbekistan. Although the scenery was beautiful, the Kazakh part of the Ustyurt Plateau was even more stunning.
Five million years ago, this place was hidden in the depths of the ancient Tethys Ocean, which created bizarre cliffs and caves of beautiful colors. The Mangyshlak Peninsula lies between desert and semi-desert, with a harsh, dry continental climate. There are no rivers or freshwater springs. Geologically, it is part of the Ustyurt Plateau.
Administratively, the peninsula belongs to the Kazakh province of Mangystau. The province's largest city and capital is Aktau (formerly Shevchenko). If you plan to explore the region, you will likely arrive in Aktau. Turkish Airlines offers convenient flights from Istanbul, so there's no need to go to Almaty or other cities in Kazakhstan.
The peninsula boasts stunning landscapes and is truly unique. Its main attractions include vast clay deserts, salt pans, limestone mountains, and spectacular canyons. It has a special energy, making it an ideal location for shooting space movies featuring aliens and other planets.
Millions of years ago, the Tethys Ocean covered this land. Today, its remains, including fossils of long-extinct species, are easy to find. We spent hours searching for fossils.
The Bozjyra (also Boszhira) chalk mountains are characterized by two pointed peaks, from the foot of which you can admire a picturesque castle wall. Another area worth visiting is the "Valley of Spheres," which boasts eerie spherical rock formations. Other notable spots include Mount Sherkala, a snow-white rock that changes its appearance as you walk around it; the Kapamsay Canyon; Jygylgan, or "the fallen ground"; the valley of Ayrakty-Shoman; the salt lake Tuzbayyr; and the Ustyurt plateau itself. The region also features the colorful mountains of Kyzylkup (Tiramisu) and many others. To visit all these exciting places, you'll need at least a week and well-equipped jeeps. If you're willing to make the effort to reach this remote region, it could be the trip of your dreams come true.