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Balkhash lake in Kazakhstan.

Adventure tour to Balkhash Lake in Kazakhstan.

Lake Balkhash belongs to the category of semi-freshwater and is the largest in Kazakhstan. Balkhash is located on the border of three regions, in an unusual natural environment.
On the one hand, the Chu-Ili mountains extend along Balkhash, and on the other, the endless Betpak-Dala steppe, which smoothly passes into a small hills. On the third side, huge Central Asian sand massifs approach close to Lake Balkhash.
The area of the lake is almost 16.5 thousand kilometers. Its length is 600 km. Its width in the eastern part is small, and in the western reaches 70 km.

Tourist Information Balkhash Lake.

Balkhash ranks second among salt lakes after the Caspian Sea, and Balkhash is the 14th lake in the list worldwide.
In addition to its size, Lake Balkhash impresses with the chemical composition of the water area: in fact, it is divided into two parts. The western waters are fresh, and the eastern ones are salty, and between them there is a small strait Uzynaral and the Saryesik peninsula.
The western and eastern parts also differ in depth. The first is shallow and muddy, the second is much deeper and more transparent, the maximum depth reaches 26 meters. Vacationers compare the eastern part of Balkhash with the real sea because of the salty emerald water and strong waves. Western waters are rather yellow-gray in color.

The legend of Lake Balkhash.

According to the legend about the origin of the lake, the rich sorcerer Balkhash had a beautiful daughter, Ili. When the time came to marry her, Balkhash announced that he would give his daughter away only for the richest, handsome and strongest. Among the arrivals were two sons of the Chinese emperor with caravans loaded with expensive goods, sons of the Mongol khan with herds of horses and silver, as well as young Bukhara merchants with carpets and ivory. However, the poor shepherd Karatal, who immediately liked the bride, was among those who wanted to try their luck.
After the competitions, from which Karatal emerged victorious, Balkhash kicked him out with indignation. However, Eli ran away from her home at night and rode away with a chosen one from an evil father. Upon learning of his daughter's escape, Balkhash cast a spell on his beloved, and they turned into two rivers, promptly carrying their waters from the mountains. And so that the rivers never connected, Balkhash fell between them and became a lake gray from foamy waves.
There is also a version about the origin of the name from the Avestan Vorukash (Vourukart) and further Persian Varkash, this name is mentioned in the Avesta.

How to visit Balkhash Lake.

The lake is replete with islands, most of which can be reached by boat, and only some can be swam with good physical fitness. From time to time, the water level in Balkhash falls, the area of the islands increases, and new ones appear.
Balkhash is located in the Balkhash-Alakol depression, has an elongated shape resembling a crescent. Along its northwest coast runs a railway to Almaty.
The shores of this lake have long attracted the inhabitants. And today, and several thousand years ago, according to archaeological finds, people lived there. There is an ancient legend according to which the old sorcerer Balkhash wanted to give his daughter Or married only to the most enviable groom. The best and richest warriors and merchants gathered to try their luck: Bukhara, Mongols, Chinese. But the poor shepherd Karatal, beloved Ili, won the competition. At night, the young fled, and Balkhash cursed them, making them two rivers. The sorcerer himself hit the ground and turned into a lake to prevent the rivers from connecting.
The last hundred years, the economy of neighboring villages and towns near Balkhash has been built on the fishing industry. Since the 1990s, industrial fishing has fallen due to poaching and pollution of the lake by the Balkhash Mining and Metallurgical Combine. Local residents and avid fishermen say that until the middle of the 20th century, the fauna of the lake was much richer, but in connection with the economic development, great changes took place both in the water area and in the lakeside territory.

Rest and prices on Lake Balkhash.

Since the climate around the lake is a desert type, it is very hot in summer. The temperature exceeds 30 degrees, and there is practically no rainfall. The water is very warm, warms up in the middle of summer to 28 degrees. This makes relaxing on the lake a rather comfortable and affordable option instead of traveling to the sea.
Recreation centers in Bahlash are located near the city of the same name, as well as Priozersk, the villages of Chubar-Tyubek, Torangalyk and other settlements. Travel services are best developed on the northwest coast, focused mainly on groups of vacationers and families with children.
Guides and bases are paid in tenge. Prices for one person in the high season starts from 2500 tenge. Escort services for fishing and hunting are paid separately.
The swimming season on Lake Balkhash begins in mid-June and ends in September. In summer, youth festivals take place on the lake, there are always a lot of vacationers on the main beaches.
Often, tourists come to Balkhash with tents and set up camp. The length of the shores of Balkhash is such that you can find a secluded place away from other vacationers.
In winter and summer, night and day, fishing on Lake Balkhash does not stop. The local waters catch carp, catfish, bream, roach, crucian carp, zander, snakeheads - almost 20 species of fish in total. Rare specimens of catfish and today reach 70 kg.
The steppe expanses of Kazakhstan only seem lifeless. Together with the children, you can even watch the Red Book birds that live in the reeds on the shore: swans, white-tailed eagles, pelicans.
In the thickets of reeds can be found wild animals: wild boar, wolf, fox. Hunting for them is allowed.
Many recreation centers provide guides, food, accommodation, transfers and all the necessary equipment for fishing and spearfishing, which is especially successful in the southern part of the lake, where the water is clear and there are few people. You can find offers on the Internet.