CENTRAL ASIA'S GOLDEN MOUNTAINS
Greentours Botanical and Wildlife Tour to Kazakhstan's Altai Mountains Alpine and Meadow Flowers, Birds and Wilderness
The far eastern tip of Kazakhstan meets the borders of Mongolia, China and Russian Siberia in the middle of the Golden Mountains, known to us as the Altai. This is a true wilderness with high mountains, forests, steppes and deserts, cascading waters and huge lakes, and it is almost devoid of people.
The mountain flowers are amazingly beautiful and varied - Siberian Dogs-tooth Violet, Altai Foxtail Lily, and a rich variety of Saxifrages, Gentians and Irises. A blue carpet of a million Aquilegia stretches out towards snow-capped peaks mixed with great display of Gentiana grandiflora. The lovely Papaver nudicaule comes in whites, yellows and bright oranges and makes for a spectacular sight with pink Bergenias, blue Iris ruthenica and yellow Iris bloudowii. Siberian-style Tundra in the Naryn Mountains, home of Siberian Rubythroats, Windflowers, Claytonias and Siberian Chipmunks, lies above the walls of the Bukhtarma Valley, a substantial 'rift'. Here Upland Buzzards and vultures soar above us as we enjoy Eversmann's Redstarts, Hodgson's and Brandt's Mountain
Finches, amazing displays of Dracocephalum grandiflorum, and lovely little umbels of Cortusa altaica alongside delicate Aquilegia brevicalcarata. Paeonia anomala glows from riverside tracks where we'll find the magnificent Poplar Admiral to be common.
The peaks around Belukha, which include the highest mountains in northern Asia, (Belukha is over 4500m high) host a memorable display of Delphiniums, Louseworts and Monkshoods. We'll stay at Rakhmanovskie, surely one of the most beautiful places in all Asia, a lake in the high mountains south of the highest peaks surrounded by bird-rich
forests above which lie breathtaking flower-filled meadows. Here Oenis nanna, and Assmann's and Lapland Fritillaries, fly above metre tall hollow-stemmed Allium altaicum and the gorgeous red-pink Primula sibirica. In the forest are Hazelhen, Nutcracker, Siberian Tit, Capercaillie and Pine Grosbeaks whilst in the meadows above Great Rosefinches and Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler are among the avian prizes. Velvet
Scoters and Black-throated Divers breed on the picturesque lake. The Altai has the greatest diversity of butterflies in temperate Eurasia with magnificent Apollos taking centre-stage with up to five species per day, including a yellow one! Tremendously beautiful landscapes and a wonderful array of little-known fauna and flora await us in
this untouched wilderness.
Flowers, Birds and Butterflies. Wilderness Landscapes.
Moderate. On many days only 3 or 4 miles, but on some we might cover as many as 6, although always at a slow pace, ideally suited to photographers. Some steep paths.
Included in the Price
All flights. All accommodation, transport, meals and drinks in Kazakhstan. Services of your leaders. Please note: tips, and items of a personal nature such as travel insurance, are not included. IMPORTANT-VISAS ARE NO LONGER REQUIRED FOR THIS TOUR
The minimum is 5 and the maximum is 12.
The Kazzhol Hotel in Almaty (last three nights) and the Irtysh Hotel by the great Irtysh River in Ust-Kamenogorsk both have comfortable en suite rooms. At Maimyr at a base for the Burkhat Pass we'll stay in basic cottages for four nights. Nightly saunas are available! Under the shadow of great Belukha we'll stay at the Rakhmanovskie Klyuchi,
rather nice cottages close by the lake at a spa famous for its curative waters. After three nights here we'll return to Maimyr for a night before heading back to Ust-Kamenogorsk. Single accommodation is not guaranteed at Maimyr but is usually available throughout.
Return flights from the UK are to Almaty via Istanbul from London Heathrow, Edinburgh*, Birmingham* or Manchester*. There is a Almaty to Ust-Kamenogorsk return flight included. Other indirect routes may be available*.
*These routes may incur a supplement.
Variable. Often sunny and warm, but with some rain, sometimes lasting a day or so.
How to Book
Download a booking form (or contact us and we will send one to you) from the Booking Information section. Complete and send to us. You will receive confirmation of your place and a detailed information pack will be dispatched to you about twelve weeks before departure. Flower, bird, mammal and butterfly and checklists are available.