Boszhira valley - Mangistau region.
Travel to Boszhira valley.
The Boszhira tract is one of the most beautiful places in Kazakhstan, representing a whole ridge of rock formations of different sizes and shapes. It is located at the bottom of a huge canyon in the western part of the Ustyurt plateau on the Mangyshlak peninsula. There is also the mountain of the same name, whose height at the peak reaches 287 meters. Peculiar “fangs” precede the entrance to the tract - outliers, which have become the hallmark of these places.
Here you can shoot Hollywood Westerns or science fiction films. It seems that these landscapes are of alien origin. But in fact, once they were the bottom of the ancient Tethys Ocean. This incredible landscape was created by nature. Bosjira is striking in its scope and is imprinted in memory for a long time. Among these decorations, cars and people seem almost toy-like. It is not so easy to get to the tract, but more and more travelers flock here year after year.
Translated from one of the Kazakh names, the word "boszhira" means "faded valley" or "gray earth". It is hard to say exactly when the tract received such a name. But it can be argued that it has caused absolutely opposite emotions in the people who have visited here. There is so much light, color and rhythm in the valley that it is breathtaking. It seems that nature has given complete freedom to her imagination, and from this an amazing landscape was obtained. There is a mountain range at the bottom of a huge canyon, this further enhances the visual effect.
In ancient times, everything was different here. The story of Boszhira's appearance is inextricably linked with the Tethys Ocean and the creatures that inhabited it. Millions of years ago, during the Mesozoic, these lands were hidden under water. As you know, Tethys occupied most of the territory of Russia and Eurasia, dividing the two continents - Gondwana and Laurasia. Throughout its existence, the ocean has changed, exposing the land in some places and flooding in others. It is believed that the final "closure" of Tethys occurred about 5 million years ago, but it gave rise to the oceans and seas that exist to this day. For example, its relics are the Mediterranean, Black and Caspian Sea.
How Boszhira was born.
What we see at the moment indicates a series of cataclysms and natural changes that occurred in ancient times. The earth rose and fell again, the water then receded, then returned. Life conceived and faded. Scientists claim that at a later time in the territory of the future tracts were steppes. They were inhabited by hipparions (ancestors of horses) and makhairody (saber-toothed tigers). Then came the cheetahs, leopards and other types of wild cats. In an even later period, an oasis appeared on the site of Boszhira, but with the next climate change, the rivers dried up, only stony land and numerous rocks remained.
All rocks of the tract are formed by sandstone and Cretaceous strata. For thousands of years, the forces of nature have worked on their form - first water, and then the sun and wind. They cut through the thickness of stone deposits, forming bizarre relief forms. Once there were more remnants, they were even higher and wider. Over the centuries, their height has decreased slightly, but the area has decreased several times. In Boszir, the Ustyurt plateau turns into chinks - steep, hard-to-reach ledges of great height, limiting elevated areas of the earth's surface. All this is also the result of the influence of the water element.
Petrified algae, shells, mollusk shells and even the teeth of ancient sharks and other ocean inhabitants are still often found throughout the tract. To discover such an imprint of the past, it is not necessary to arrange excavations, you can just look under your feet.
The two remnants, with whom the journey along the gorge usually begins, were nicknamed “fangs” (Azu Tisteri). This is because two peaks 200 meters high protrude from the chalk scree, like the teeth of a giant monster. They also formed under the influence of external factors. For many years, the mountains crumbled, only two columns remained.
Nothing in nature stands still. The landscape continues to change. According to researchers, after about 5000 years, the rocks will disappear, and the landscape of Boszhira will again change beyond recognition.
From certain angles, Bosjir is very reminiscent of the Monument Valley in the US state of Utah - a popular place for filming westerns. Sometimes the ancient gulf of a dry ocean is even called Kazakh Arizona. The resemblance to the Wild West is indeed present. But Bosjira is much closer. It belongs to the Mangistau region in the south-west of Kazakhstan. Despite all the beauty, the tract is still little known because of its inaccessibility.
The area of Boszhira is huge. It will take more than one day to examine it completely. The tract is part of the Ustyurt State Nature Reserve, founded in 1984 with the goal of preserving the unique desert complex and rare representatives of flora and fauna in their natural state.
How to visit Boszhira – Mangyshlak.
Traveling through the Mangyshlak desert is in itself very exciting, well-trained cars can accelerate here to tremendous speeds. Some groups even organize competitions. Along the roads on the peninsula there are more horses and camels than cars. You can drive through the desert for several hours before you see another car.
The base of the "fangs" is the most famous point of Boszhira. Tourists rush here first of all. Campgrounds are often set up here. But the main location is the plateau, from where you can catch a glimpse of the entire valley, with outcrops of different sizes and shapes towering around. Getting to the plateau is not easy, you have to stray among the thorns in search of the right path. But all the efforts spent will be compensated by what they saw at the top. What mountains are not here: mountain-yurt, mountain-submarine, mountain-castle, mountain-peak. By the way, one of the ledges resembling a fortress is depicted on a banknote of the republic with a face value of one thousand tenge.
Rocks, like chameleons, change their appearance depending on the lighting. Beige predominates, but you can notice layers of brown, pink, gray, white and yellow. All of them correspond to deposits of different geological eras, which keep in themselves the memory of a change in climate and composition of the plant and animal world. The most pleasant moment of the trip to the natural boundary is to meet the sunset and dawn alone with this beauty. No one else is for miles around. At different times of the day, the valley takes on new features, details that previously did not attract attention are becoming noticeable. The place is filled with special magic during the full moon. Seeing the chalk mountains illuminated by moonlight is a special fortune.
Trip to Boszhira Mangyshlak.
Usually a trip to Bosjira consists of two parts: on foot and by car. The local relief, although rugged, does not require special training at all. The main thing is to have comfortable shoes and to exercise caution during the ascents and descents from the chalk slopes.
Bosjira is located just 20 kilometers from the underground mosque Beket-ata, which is the main Muslim shrine in Mangyshlak. At the same distance, but in the other direction is Mount Bokty. It is built from multi-colored rocks, alternating from light to dark. The path from the tract to the mountain lies through a clay country road.
Nature and climate Boszhira.
The bottom of the tract consists of salt marshes and pumpkins, diluted with small sections of sand and stone desert. The high salt content in the soil and intense heat in the summer period seriously hinder the development of flora and fauna. It is difficult for living organisms to survive in such conditions. However, especially persistent species of vegetation and some animals still took root here.
The most beautiful plant of the Boszhira tract is a special kind of hyacinths (purple flowers), adapted to life in the desert. They bloom right on a dry rocky surface. Here you can also find sand acacia and several varieties of leafless anabasis (blackberry), which is a succulent.
The animal world is represented by lizards. They are not easy to notice, because due to their color they merge with the ground. In addition, turtles and scorpions are found in the tract.
The weather in Mangyshlak is severe and unpredictable. The best time to travel to Bosjira is summer. Since it often rains from autumn to mid spring, it erodes the already bad roads, which complicates the path many times and even makes it dangerous. Periodically in the news appears information about the lost tourists. Those who are stuck in Bosjir can spend several days in the desert before waiting for help.
Despite the light color of the limestone, the bottom of the canyon is very warm in the sun. By noon it becomes unbearably hot here. The temperature difference with nearby cities may vary by 10-15 degrees in the direction of increase. And at night it gets very cold, so you definitely need to have warm clothes with you.
If you are going on such a trip, you should carefully monitor the weather. Quite often, watching the mountains against the background of dawn is not possible due to morning fog. However, fog can only hang over part of the plateau. In a couple of kilometers the air will be clean and transparent.
It is amazing that there are no beautiful legends about this place, which are very characteristic of Kazakh folk culture. Perhaps this is due to the fact that people have never lived here. Nomadic tribes had nothing to do here, because the desert places were always not particularly suitable for life.
How to get to the tract Boszhira.
The largest city closest to Boszir is Aktau. Also on the way there is a small town called Zhanaozen. You can get to the tract only by car. Buses and other modes of transport do not go here. In any case, it’s worth going to a natural object only in dry weather.
The distance from Zhanaozen to Boszhira is about 150 kilometers, and if you go from Aktau - almost 300 kilometers. The coordinates of the tract: 43.415188, 54.072627.
Until recently, the tract was considered an inaccessible place. However, the paths to it were gradually mastered. Now, dozens of expeditions go there year after year. It is important that the car is prepared for severe off-road. There is no road to Boszhira that has been rolled up and marked with signs. The path is difficult, since the infrastructure is completely absent. The best option would be to travel with a person who has already been here.
From Aktau to Boszhira can be reached through Zhanaozen (New Uzen). After about 20 kilometers there will be a fork with signs. A turn to the left will lead to Becket Ata, and a turn to the right will lead to the road to the village of Senek - this is the desired direction. From Seneca to the tract everyone goes through the valley of Mount Bokty. On this stretch the road is quite smooth, with sand and small stones. From Bokty to Boszhira, the route will be ornate, with numerous ups and downs.
A safer way to see Bosjira is with the services of tour companies. For the most part, the journey of prefabricated tourist groups starts from the city of Aktau.