Tips on car renting in Kazakhstan

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Guillaume
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Tips on car renting in Kazakhstan

Postby Guillaume » Fri May 27, 2016 4:34 pm

Hello everyone :)

My name's Guillaume, I'm a French architect living in Paris (hence the English which is quite rusty I'm afraid ;) ), and I'd love to leave the city for 2 or 3 weeks this summer with, well, a simple idea in mind : shooting breathtaking landscape with my camera.

I'm thus contemplating the idea of travelling to Kazakhstan. I've just been thinking about it seriously for a few days now, and have never been in this part of Asia, so please be indulgent with my post :)

Not sure of the journey yet (2 weeks or 3 ?), but I'm really interested in Almaty and all the beautiful natural reserves surrounding it. I guess I could fly back west afterwards to stop at Aktaou, to have a glimpse of the desertscapes east of the area. I'd also love to stop by the Aral region, but too early to tell yet, we'll see.

Anyway, my (first) question was on transportation : Is it necessary to rent a 4x4 to enjoy that kind of sightseeings, or is a simple, regular car can be enough ? I have the budget for a small car, but I'm afraid a 4x4 on my own is not gonna be that simple :)
I'm not talking of hundreds of miles along forgotten tracks here, but just the possibilty of having a first glimpse of all these natural wonders.

In other words, is the road network generally well developped and maintained (well it must depend of the regions anyway, and this country is so big...), or do I risk to get stuck in the middle of nowhere the moment I leave main roads ?
I know I could hire a driver / guide, but i'm that kind of guy who like to take its time (and a good map !).

What would be your advices ? Hope my post was clear anyway, I thank you very much for all your tips ;)

Merci beaucoup !
Guillaume
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steven
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Re: Tips on car renting in Kazakhstan

Postby steven » Sun May 29, 2016 6:15 am

Hi Guillaume,

roads are good in between cities. Charyn canyon, the Sand Dune at Altyn Emel are ok with a city car. Other places in Altyn Emel you need a higher car for definitely. The canyons around Charyn: also 4WD. I wouldn't really go anywhere off the beaten track with a city car myself. My friend went with his city car to Kolsai lakes and broke the oil pan. He was lucky his school sent him their mechanic and after 8 hours he could get going again...

Here are a few pictures of another friend of mine at Charyn and Assy plateau a few days ago (there was heavy rain, though, but you get the picture)

Image

Image

So, you need a 4WD. By yourself is too expensive. So, 2 options: join a, or a few tours. Or find some friends. About tours, I know photosafari.kz does photo tours, my friend Kostja from the pictures above also takes good pictures, so perhaps that's an option.

Finding friends: there is a group of French expats in Almaty - they are really fun and they have cars. Speaking about expats: I know there are plenty of women who speak French and English who would jump at the opportunity to drive around a single, French architect, so if you don't mind putting yourself out there, this is also an option.

Otherwise, I can tell you in a few days if I will be in Almaty in the summer. I am also up for driving you around for a few days, exploring some new places sharing petrol costs.

So, a few ideas to get you started. Very happy to read your plan - Kazakhstan is THE country for landscape photography in my mind. I have never been interested in photography but the beauty and diversity of landscapes there have made even me start saving for an expensive camera.
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Guillaume
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Re: Tips on car renting in Kazakhstan

Postby Guillaume » Mon May 30, 2016 12:21 pm

Thank you very much Steven for all your tips !

I'm trying to recruit some adventurers amongst my friends :) I suppose all the best expats and / or potential hosts are on Caravanistan anyway ? ;)
I'm planning more carefuly my trip (Might have seen my post in the general section), once it's done, i'll definitely see how i can pool resources over there. If you already know people who might be interested, well, do not hesitate to give 'em my name :)

Speaking about expats: I know there are plenty of women who speak French and English who would jump at the opportunity to drive around a single, French architect, so if you don't mind putting yourself out there, this is also an option.

This is duly noted ! :lol:
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