What was the main landmark for seafarers in the Caspian Sea since ancient times? Why Zhygylgan landslide is called “Fallen Land”? What do round stones of the Valley of Balls store in their cores? The answers to these and other questions are waiting for you in this excursion.
During this off-road tour you will visit several tourist attractions of Tyub-Karagan peninsula, the closest ones to Aktau city. The tour route starts from Aktau and lies to Zhygylgan landslide.
Zhygylgan is a huge geological landslide. It arose as a result of the washing of the clay-sand cushion on which the limestone layer rested. Heavy plate with its own weight squeezed out a soft pillow and threw it into the sea, and itself turned into an exciting fantasy failure. Zhygylgan gave people a rare opportunity to contemplate the extraordinary spectacle of slabs of plates with prints on their surface, chains of petrified traces of large and small saber-toothed mahayrod cats and bogged down hooves of small three-toed horses – hipparyons The age of these tracks is about 10-15 million years old. With all his fame, Zhygylgan is still the place which is mysterious and far from being well-known. They say there are spirits in here.
After a short walk, transfer to the chalky canyon of Kapamsay by a dirt road (about 40 km). Kapamsay – a narrow chalky canyon that strikes its sheer and even walls, reaching a height of 70 m. The weathered niches of the canyon are secluded shelters for alpine nests, the owners of which often float above the abyss of the canyon. In a quiet, windy weather, a canyon walks in the canyon straying in steep walls, echoing. You can get to the canyon only from the mouth. But the top view of the canyon is very impressive. In the depths of the canyon another rare sight for these places lies: a huge grotto, in the heart of which rainwater washed the hole. The water gathering under the arch nourishes a small grove of mulberry and hawthorn trees. Even during the hot days, there is always coolness here.
After a walk, a short drive to the historical site, the underground mosque Shakpak-Ata. According to the legend, in the north of Tyub-Karagan peninsula in the cave of the chalk slope of a huge ravine in ancient times lived an extraordinary healer – the greybeard Shakpak-Ata. Human rumor carried his glory everywhere, and there were no illnesses, that he could not cure. Centuries have passed but people still come here to heal the bodies and the souls – the power of the ancient healer still saves the sick people from various ailments. According to the archaeologists, the mosque was built in the IX-X centuries and named in honor of Sufi Shakpak-Ata, who lived here with his disciples during the enemy raids. In the last years of his life he was a recluse and no longer left his underground abode.
After sightseeing at Shakpak-Ata mosque, you will have a lunch (picnic). Then, transfer to Torysh place and unknown canyon of Akespe (about 50 km). Torysh or “The Valley of Balls”, how this area is also called. According to one of the local legends, the hordes of enemies came to the Mangystau open spaces, covering the land like locusts. The locals turned to the heaven in prayer for the help and they have been heard. The torrential streams, thunder and lightning came down from the heaven. At once all the enemies turned into the stones. This is how endless fields and ridges of unusual stone formations of Mangystau – globular concretions appeared. Their actual size reaches 3-4 meters in diameter, some are larger. Nodules are formed by bizarre piles of balls, eggs, mushrooms, cylinders, matryoshkas, and little animals.
After the Valley of Balls, 10-minute transfer to Akespe canyon. Sightseeing at the canyon and transfer to Sherkala mount. The legendary Sherkala mount is a natural symbol of Mangystau. The adjacent point of inspection, it looks like a giant yurt, set by mythical nomadic geese in the folds of the Akmysh area. Sherkala mount is a large sediment of unusual shapes that arose during the formation of the mountainous Kara-Tau valleys as the result of raising the land from the sea depths. One of the legends about Sherkala says that once valiant knights defended from hordes of enemies here. They fought like tigers. Latest defenders of the mountains disappeared in the underground passages inside the mountain and remained in them forever. The name of this stronghold of heroism and independence remained as Sherkala or the city of tigers. After a short walk, return to Aktau.
* The route is subject to change due to weather conditions
485 USD for one person
540 USD for group of 2 persons travelling together
885 USD for group of 3 persons travelling together
- Transport in comfortable off-road vehicles
- Sightseeing according to the program with English-speaking guide
- Packed lunch
- Environmental and entry fees
- Hotel pickup/drop-off
- Accommodation in Aktau before/after the tour, if required
- Airport transfers, if required
- Meals not indicated in the program and/or not included into the tour price
- Visa support and registration on the territory of Kazakhstan, if required
- Personal expenses and other expenses not indicated in the program