Balkhash Lake is the third largest lake in Kazakhstan, after the Caspian and Aral Seas.
The lake is 614 km in length and from 3.5 to 44 km in width. Its deepest places reach 26 metres. The phenomenon of Balkhash is in its different mineralization on Western and Eastern parts, which are connected by a narrow strait, i.e. Western part of the lake, which receives water form Ili River, is fresh and its Eastern part is salty.
Nature of Balkhash Lake is amazing and full of contrasts. Water reservoirs of Ili-Balkhash basin, including Balkhash Lake, are among the most significant in terms of biodiversity and the reproduction of valuable fish species.
The lake is located in three regions of Kazakhstan: Almaty, Zhambyl and Karaganda. Vast Kazakh hills stretch to the North of the lake and Betpak Dala stretch to the West, and Chu-Ili mountains, Taukum sands and Saryesik-Atyrau are located to the South of the Lake.
About 20 species of fish can be found in the lake, as well as 120 species of birds, including 12 species included in the Red Book, are inhabitants of nearby territories.
Recreational potential of the lake and surrounding attractions (the mountains Bectauata, riparian forests) attract many tourists.