Wilderness Tour in Central Kazakhstan

Wilderness Tour in Central Kazakhstan

A steppe adventure with local specialists
Free camping in the Kazakh steppe

It is also possible to book an individual (and shorter) saiga-tour between May-September!

Highlights of this Safari in Kazakhstan:
– the immeasurable and empty Kazakh steppe
– encounters with the Saiga Antilope
– overnight in the steppe
– the modern city of Astana
– expert guidance by local specialists

A road trip through the endless steppe of Central Kazakhstan with local biologists, to get acquainted with the flora and fauna of the steppe. This program was established only recently and very few foreigners have undertaken this tour. A true pioneers trip! Start and finish are in Astana.

A visa is not necessary for a visit of up to 30 days to Kazakhstan for most countries.

You can read more about highlights and practical advise on travelling in Kazakhstan here.

Flights to and from Astana take place on days 0 en 13, therefore the program lasts 14 days.

Day 1: Arrival in Astana

Your tour leader meets up with you at the airport in Astana city. Start of your safari in Kazakhstan!

The first-day client can either spend relaxing at the hotel after a long travel or join the guided historical and architectural city tour. The city tour aims to introduce the exotic culture and history of the country and also includes visits to several museums. Moreover, the central Asian cuisine will hopefully be well appreciated in a variety of restaurants and guesthouses, which we will visit during the whole tour.

Khan Shatyr Entertainment Center in Nur-Sultsan, Kazakhstan

Central Astana

Hotel in the old city centre (toilet and shower).




Day 2-3: Korgalzhyn Nature Reserve

The Tengiz-Korgalzhyn Lake System is a part of Nature Reserve, Ramsar site and UNESCO World Heritage site. And the steppes around the reserve accommodate the largest known breeding population of the critically endangered Sociable Lapwing – it will be a very special treat to visit this bird on its breeding grounds.

Free Camping in the Kazakh steppe

Camping in the steppe

The list of the most interesting species that can be observed during this part of the tour includes: a wide range of steppe, waterfowl and semi-aquatic birds, including Sociable Lapwing, Black-winged Pratincole, Black-tailed Godwit, Eurasian Curlew, Great Black-headed Gull, Demoiselle Crane, Dalmatian Pelican, White-headed Duck, Ferruginous Duck, Flamingo, Red-footed Falcon, Steppe Eagle, Pallid Harrier, Black Lark, Calandra Lark, and White-winged Lark – over 100 species in total.

This vast wetland area, a combination of steppe and lakes, is home to Wolves, Steppe Marmots and Saiga Antelope. However, it is the birds that are the real attraction here. Located at the crossroads of two migration routes, the wetlands act as a giant motorway junction service station for birds.

After breakfast, the group checks out from the hotel and departures towards the Korgalzhyn village.  A road trip by mini-bus takes us approximately two hours. After arrival to the village, the group has an excursion at the Korgalzhyn museum, check into the guesthouse and have lunch. The first excursion at the reserve areas starts after lunch. Two days at the reserve area will give the clients a good opportunity to observe the above-mentioned list of most interesting species of the area.
Nights: at the guesthouse (toilet and shower)

Day 4: Irgiz Torgay Nature Reserve (travel day)

Aktobe and Irgyz reserve is about 650 km of steppe round which is 7 to 8 hours of drive.

Saiga Antilope in the Kazakh steppe

Saiga op de Kazachse steppe

After breakfast, the group checks out from the guesthouse and departure to Astana airport to catch the plane to Aktobe city. A second minibus meets up the group and takes them to Irgiz village; where we have lunch and take off further to continue the safari trip. In the late evening, the group arrives in the reserve where the staff of the tented camp is waiting for clients with a delicious meal. At the campsite, participants will meet ACBK experts working on conservational activities. And in following days clients can join the experts who implement monitorial work on the field.

Night: Camping in the Irgyz Torgay NR (garden toilet and no shower).



Day 5-6: Irgyz Torgay Nature Reserve

New born Saiga Antilope in the Kazakh Steppe


You will spend two days observing and taking photographs during safari trips in the Irgyz Torgay Nature Reserve. This huge reserve stretches out over a million hectares and hosts the Saiga Antelope population.  Participants have the best chance of getting close to these prehistorically looking animals during the calving period. In May, we hope to come across newborn Saigas. Along with the Saiga, we also have high hope of finding Corsac Foxes, Ground Squirrels and adorable Bobak Marmots.

Night: Camping, Irgyz Torgay NR (garden toilet and no shower)


Day 7: Center for the reintroduction of wild ungulates

(250 km about 6-7 hours’ drive)

Asiatic wild ass (Equus hemionus), or kulan, was once one of a key species of the Eurasian steppes along with saiga, stretching from the eastern shores of the Mediterranean to Mongolia. Overhunting, habitat conversion, and competition with livestock have decimated kulan populations. During the tour, you can visit the reintroduction centre and have a little change to meet these charismatic wild horses in the vast steppe ecosystem of central Kazakhstan, as there are only a few individuals reintroduce at the moment.

Meal in a yurt during Safari Tour in Kazakhstan

Maaltijd in een yurt

Overall, the centre has good biodiversity around including many interesting sites with common Reed Warbler, Blyth’s Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler and Cetti’s Warbler all occurring in the small Reed Bed and Fringing Reeds. Pallid and Marsh Harriers are present, with the latter breeding in the Reed Bed. Lesser Grey Shrike and Lesser Kestrel are also breeding amongst the disused buildings on the opposite side of the pool from the research station. There could be Steppe Polecat for several minutes on most mornings, as it inspects ground squirrel burrows in the area.

Night: reintroduction centre with several bedrooms and garden toilet and shower in banya).

Day 8 Alty Say Ecological Park

The Alty Say ecological park is 50 (1,5 hours drive) km from the research centre and after a day in the research centre, the clients may enjoy night time trip adventure with strong lights to see more of wildlife in night steppe. This ecological park holds an area of 340,000 hectares situated between Altyn Dala and Irgyz Torgay.

The park plays a role of the ecological corridor for migrating birds and ungulates. Wildlife of eco-park includes Lesser Kestrels nesting in the roof of one of the buildings in Alty Say area and Roller and Black Kite flying around the camp side at most days in May. In addition to the regular Steppe Polecat, there are Ground Squirrels ever present around the camp side and reptiles occasionally encountered, such as this Adder.
Alty Say also has wild rhubarb at its territory and Tugai type flood forest along the Zhylanshyk River giving a nice diversity to a landscape around with vast and beautiful flat land of central Asian steppe ecosystem. The eco-park also has two viewing points located at the Akkol’ lake built particularly for bird-watching.

Night: reintroduction centre with several bedrooms and garden toilet and shower in banya).

Day 10-11: Urpek village- Arkalyk

In the morning after breakfast the group departures to Urpek village located on the way to Astana. The group can enjoy a nice village side camping with Bee-eaters flying and Ground Squirrels jumping from mink to mink. Urpek village is also a spot for a group of a Social Lapwing. The group can either stay around the village area to enjoy the last camping spot or can continue driving to get to Arkalyk town and stay in a small hotel there. From Arkalyk, the group will catch the train to get to Astana.

Nights: (camping in Urpek village or hotel in Arkalyk)

Day 12: Astana

After arrival in Astana, the group checks into the hotel and have a farewell dinner. After a nice and adventures holiday in Central Asia, it is time to depart home. We say goodbye on the Astana Airport from where everybody flies back home. We hope you enjoyed your time in Kazakhstan and will forever have nice memories of the vast open land of the country.

Nights: Astana hotel.

The indication of the cost of this safari in Kazakhstan is €2,350 p.p., the group size is 5-10 persons.
Included in the offer are:
– all accommodations, in double rooms
– all transfers in Kazakhstan including the domestic flight
– services of an English language guide
– all meals, including drinks and snacks

Not included in the offer are the international flight tickets and all services not mentiones.
Finally we will withhold €15 per booking for the Dutch GGTO Travel Guarantee Fund.



    Astana, Central Kazakhstan


    group tour May 2023 dates follow, individual tours May-September


    indication €2,350 p.p. excl. the international flights


    14 days

    Tour Route in Kazakhstan