Korgalzhyn Nature Reserve


How to get there?
You can get there by car, taxi, bus in 3 hours. Direction – Kurgaldzinskaya highway. Buses and fixed route taxes are at the bus terminal «Saparzhai-Astana» (Landside square, tel.: 38-12-08, 38-11-35).
Kurgaldzhino state nature reserve is the largest in Kazakhstan. It is located in the Akmola region (130 km far south-westward of Astana) in the delta of the Nura River. It was established in 1968. The area is more than 237 thousand hectares, 199.2 thousand of them are reservoirs. There are no any exotic features boggling the imagination as mountains and waterfalls, but the unique color of lakes among the boundless space of the Northern Kazakhstan remains in memory forever. The territory of the nature reserve represents a large water smooth surface alternated with rushy cattail family bush, channels and lakelets. Here and there cattail family bush changes into plots of virgin steppe with poor vegetation. The water of Kurgaldzhino Lake is so desalinated that it is even drinkable.
The climate here is sharp-continental. Aridity and sharp variations of atmospheric temperature within a year, a month and even a day are typical. The average temperature in January is -17 °С, in July is +20°С. Two lakes of the nature reserve Tengiz and Korgaldzhin are connected between themselves.
Kurgaldzhino lake is the reign of rush and reed mace. Their bush takes 70-80 % of water table. The rush divides one big reservoir into several large bays and many stretches having independent names of lakes. Tengiz lake («sea» in Kazakh) has water area of 1590 sq.km, the length of coast line is 488 km. This large bitter-salty drainless water body takes the 12th place among lakes of CIS. Salinity of its water exceeds saltiness of the ocean for 5-6 times.
The flora of the nature reserve numbers more than 300 species of higher flowering plants. About 40% of them are Compositae, cereals and chenopodiacious plants. Half of species are the typical steppe forms. There are no trees but there are 12 types of bushes, basically confined to river meadows: shrubby willows, briers, honeysuckle. Large tracts of pea shrub and spirea could be met somewhere in the steppe. A particular group of plants ‒ salt marsh plants and succulent plants is noted for its ability to adapt to life on highly saline soil. Forty five species of rare and precinctive plants are protected in Korgaldzhino nature reserve. These are Shrenk tulips (included into the Red Book of Kazakhstan) and double-flowering dark blue-bluish onion, ixicolirion, Ural licorice, sandy everlasting, marsh mallow, black wormwood, Lessing feather grass, steppe sage and others.
The fauna of Korgalzhyn is typical for the local area and represented by 38 species of mammals, 274 species of birds, 6 species of vermigrades, 2 species of amphibians, 300 species of beetles and 11 species of fish.
But peculiar fascination is given by pink flamingos, the famous inhabitants of this place. This is the most northern breeding colony of flamingos all over the world. As far back as in paleogene when the whole Tengiz-Kurgaldzhino cavity was covered by Tetis Sea, they have already nested here. The population of flamingos amounts to 60 000 individuals for a season. And that is not the limit. The nutritive bases of the Tengiz Lake can provide nutritional needs of 15-16 million of birds. It should be noted that within the limits of the migration routes the Tengiz-Korgalzhin lakes are the sole.
Local steppe «inhabitants» are also unique and protected by The Red Book. They are Demoiselle and Vanellus gregarious. Generally, 22 kinds of birds, included in the Red Book, were notedon the territory of the nature reserve, among them are Spoon-bill, Plegadis falcinellus, Ciconia nigra, Cygnus, Branta ruficollis, Chlamydotis undulata and etc. 16 kinds of them are included in the Red Book and one kind (White crane) – in the International Red Book. Foxes and wild boars, hares – Gray hare and whitecaps, and aslo common Hemiechinus are constant inhabitants of the steppe region. But, from time to time the forest inhabitants - Felis lynx, Capreolus and Alces, come into the reserved area from the Northern Kazakhstan and the Western Siberia.
In 1978 the Department of Exertion Service was organized there. Nearly 200 articles and notes have been published by the staff of that Department, lectures and discussions are conducted on regular basis by them. There is a museum where a rich collection of exhibits is gathered, fauna and flora of steppe and lake zones are reflected. Many popular scientific films were made about this unique natural place.
The magic place of the nature… It gives relaxation to soul and body, lets us come back to the city with its boiling, full of events life with new energy.