According to TOP-MEDICAL-SCHOOLS, Kazakhstan covers an area of 2.72 million square meters. km. Undoubtedly, such a vast territory should cover a wide variety of natural areas. And in fact, there are many ecosystems in Kazakhstan: from desert to high mountains. The country has 10 nature reserves, 10 national parks and 4 nature reserves. The most popular nature protection zones are located in the vicinity of Alma-Ata, in the ridges of the Zailiysky Alatau bordering the city. These include the Ile-Alatau National Park, the Kolsai Lakes National Park, the Charyn National Park, and the Almaty State Nature Reserve. In the eastern part of the Almaty region, in the ridges of the Dzhungar Alatau, there is an interesting National Park “Altyn Emel” and Alakol Reserve. The protected areas of the Altai Mountains, which are located in the East Kazakhstan region near the city of Ust-Kamenogorsk, are especially popular. First of all, it is the largest national park in the country – Katon-Karagai National Park. The Austrian road crossing it, 50 km long, is the most popular mountain route in Kazakhstan. From here you can see the two-headed mountain Belukha (4506 m) – the highest peak of Altai and Siberia, located on the territory of Russia. You can also get acquainted with the nature of the Western Altai in the Western Altai Reserve located on the territory of the East Kazakhstan regionand Markakolsky Reserve.
Another interesting direction is the nature protection zones of the central part of Kazakhstan, where there is an extensive Kazakh upland, whose name in Kazakh sounds like “Saryarka”. This region is occupied by steppes, forests, low mountains and protected lakes, along the banks of which rare birds settle. The natural diversity of “Saryarka” is represented in the National Park “Kokshetau”, which is located 60 km southwest of the administrative center of the Akmola region – the city of Kokshetau; in the nearby National Park “Burabay”; in the Naurzum Reserve,; in the Korgalzhyn nature reserve, located 130 km southwest of Astana on the border of the Akmola and Karaganda regions; and in the Karkaraly National Park, which is located east of Karaganda.
In the north-eastern part of Kazakhstan, along the Irtysh River, two natural reserves “Ertys ormany” and Semey ormany have been created. The unique ribbon forests of the Irtysh region are protected here. A little to the south, 100 km from the city of Ekibastuz, in the Bayanul Mountains, the country’s first national park is located – Bayanaul National Park.
South of Kazakhstan the northern spurs of the Western Tien Shan enter. Sairam-Ugam National Park, Aksu-Dzhabagly Nature Reserve and Karatau Nature Reserve are located here.
On one of the islands of the Aral Sea, the northern part of which is located on the territory of Kazakhstan, the Barsakelmes State Nature Reserve was created in 1953. This is one of the few world protected areas located in the zone of ecological catastrophe (decrease in the level of the Aral Sea). But all the more important is its significance, because it is here that scientists are trying to understand the processes taking place with the Aral Sea-Lake.
No less interesting is the western part of Kazakhstan, where the Ural River flows and the eastern coast of the Caspian Sea is located. Part of the Ural River to the south from the city of Uralsk up to the northern coast of the Caspian Sea, on which the city of Atyrau is located, is a protected area. There are many nature reserves here, and the Ural River Delta is protected by the Akzhaiyk State Reserve. Also in the western part of the country it is worth visiting the Ustyurt State Nature Reservelocated to the east of the coast of the Caspian Sea.
The most popular hiking trails are laid through the nature conservation areas of the southeastern mountainous part of Kazakhstan, which can be reached from Almaty. These are the Ile-Alatau National Park located in the ridges of the Zailiysky Alatau; National Park “Kolsai Lakes”; Charyn National Park; Almaty State Nature Reserve; located in the ridges of the Dzungarian Alatau National Park “Altyn Emel” and Alakol Reserve. In addition, interesting routes are laid in the extreme east of the country on the border with Russia in the Altai Mountains in the largest national park of the state – Katon-Karagai National Park. You can get here from Ust-Kamenogorsk. In addition to standard hiking routes, in these protected areas there are opportunities for climbing mountain peaks whose heights exceed 4000 m. The most desperate tourists can go to the southeast of the Almaty region, where, on the border with Kyrgyzstan and China, the highest point of the country is located – Peak Khan-Tengri (7010 m). This is the northernmost seven-thousander in the world and the second highest point of the Tien Shan mountain system. Khan Tengri is considered one of the most beautiful peaks in the world, as it has the shape of a regular cone. Tourists who want to climb the peak get to the foot of the mountain by helicopter. The ascent takes about 14 days on average. Since 2000, the Khan-Tengri International Extreme Sports Festival has been held annually in August at its peak. 360 km southeast Alma-Ata, at an altitude of 2600 m, is the Akkol base camp, from where most trips to the mountainous regions of the Almaty region are made.