© iStock / Yerbolat Shadrakhov
© iStock / Yerbolat Shadrakhov

Karynzharyk Depression in West Kazakhstan

3 minutes to read

In the Southwestern part of Kazakhstan, there is a magnificent tourist attraction called the "Karynzharyk Depression." When searching for places to visit in West Kazakhstan, Karynzharyk appears right away as a must-visit place. To experience a feeling like being somewhere in a totally different world or galaxy, people plan a trip to Karynzharyk depression in West Kazakhstan. This is a unique place that definitely will stay in your memory as an exciting experience

© iStock / Yerbolat Shadrakhov
© iStock / Yerbolat Shadrakhov
Karynzharyk Depression, Karynzharyk
Karynzharyk Depression, Karynzharyk
Karynzharyk, Kazakhstan

Karynzharyk Depression

The Karynzharyk Depression is located in the heart of the Ustyurt State Nature Reserve in West Kazakhstan. Basically, it occupies almost all of the Ustyurt and is one of the most beautiful places to see in this region. The Depression sight is under the Ustyurt cliff, 280 meters lower than the average level, and spreads for around 85 km from the East to West. As soon as you reach the place, your eyes will see five remnant mountains, three of which are close to each other, thus bear the name "Three brothers."  The plateau where Karynzharyk is placed is in a short distance to the border of three countries: Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan. So, it is highly recommended for tourists to follow the GPS very carefully to avoid crossing borders of neighboring countries: especially if you do not have the relevant documents. The government protects the place, so make sure you are respecting the eco-friendly guidelines

© Flickr / Oleg Nabrovenkov
© Flickr / Oleg Nabrovenkov

Kendirli dirt, a saline lake

The unique thing about Karynzharyk is that its surrounding consists of salt marshes, which can look bizarre yet interesting. If you see a cracked surface in the territory of the depression and wonder what it is, note that it is the 'Kendirli dirt.' After rainy days, the depression is covered with a thin layer of water, which occurs as a result of the landscape features. In other words, it is a saline lake which, in hot days, dries out, forming beautiful salt marsh patterns. It is not just a little piece of territory, as Kendirli dirt covers 10 to 15 km of the depression's zone in width. Talking about the water, if you have one more free day, you can also see the Balayuk cave, which is 4 hours away by car. 

Balayuk Cave, Western Kazakhstan
Balayuk Cave, Western Kazakhstan
© Flickr / Elmar Akhmetov
© Flickr / Elmar Akhmetov

How to reach it

The vast majority of tourists usually start their trips to the Depression from Aktau city, which is the biggest city of the Mangystau region in West Kazakhstan. By the way, try not to miss out on the most popular place in Aktau city, the Skalnaya tropa promenade. Since the depression is located in the middle of the Ustyurt, the closest administrative city could be Zhanaozen. Usually, tourists who are heading to see Karynzharyk's depression plan a one-night sleepover in its territory intending to enjoy the moment fully. It is truly worth it because there you can have a view of unique sights and take great pictures! It is advised to take a tour with a professional guide and a suitable vehicle. The way to Karynzharyk can be not that easy, as you will be going offroad, so having skilled people by your side is vital. Make your own journey unforgettable by choosing the best excursion programs and enjoy every color and piece of Karynzharyk's Depression in West Kazakhstan

© Flickr / Oleg Nabrovenkov
© Flickr / Oleg Nabrovenkov

The author

Nazerke Makhanova

Nazerke Makhanova

Hi, I am Nazerke from Kazakhstan. Traveled to 15 countries, lived in Malaysia and Spain, currently I'm located in my hometown Nur-Sultan city, and I’d love to take you on an adventurous journey throughout Kazakhstan. Ready? Let’s go!

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