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THE TIME OF JOLLY MISSIONS,
OR COMBINING BUSINESS AND PLEASURE


BETWEEN THE RIVERS AKSU AND ZHABAGLY

(Aksu-Zhabagly nature preserve)

After getting to the Turar Ryskulov (former Vanovka) Village by taxi from Shymkent, we covered some distance on foot, then again caught a car and drove to the very Zhabagly, where for a long time has been located the administration of the oldest Kazakhstani nature preserve Aksu-Zhabagly.

Local childrens shouts, the word hello prevailing among them, expressively showed how successfully entry tourism is developing in this picturesque corner of Kazakhstan. Even despite those administrative and financial obstacles the administration of the preserve is trying to create, people from the whole world come to see the Aksu Canyon and Kaska-Bulak petroglyphs, the snow leopard and the Tien Shan bear, the Grieg and the Kaufman tulips. They go there even despite the fact that the cost of entry for them is dozen times higher than for Kazakhstan residents, and despite they will be accompanied perforce and, moreover, taken money for that, too.

These were the problems created for foreign tourists by the authorities, related to us by Svetlana and Vladimir, local enthusiasts of developing ecotourism who founded here a non-governmental organization a few years ago.

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Aksu-Zhabagly nature preserve ouskirts

After knowing so much information about such kind of support of tourism in our country I would usually immerse into depression which would be very difficult to get off. However, the stroll in the mountains of Talasskiy Alatau together with Svetlana and Vladimirs son, which followed the stories about the delights of visiting Aksu-Zhabagly, had been able to improve my mood. I was always pleased by the fact that mountains possess a striking property to make one forget everything and enjoy only them. We did not get to the territory of the preserve, only walked in the neighborhood, but even this was enough to feel natural magnificence of these places.

Aksu-Zhabagly is particularly loved by ornithologists and bird-watchers. There is real heaven there for their rest and work. Twenty kilometers away from the Zhabagly Village there is even a special ornithological station Shokpak where one can participate in bird-catching, studying and ringing. Other lovers of nature will also not be disappointed when coming to the preserve. There, for instance, live such rare animals as the snow leopard and the white-clawed Tien Shan bear. And flora lovers come here specially to watch blossoming of numerous tulips, the most well-known among which is the Grieg tulip. The diameter of its eight-petal crown can reach 30 centimeters.

Our next acquaintances, Yevgeniy and Lyudmila, being professional ornithologists, also worked in the field of entry tourism. According to the stories and lots of photos left by visitants, voices of people speaking various languages always resounded in their guest house. The number of the pictures showed to us by Yevgeniy, created by him and his numerous guests, has long ago past thousand, but photographs of these places could be contemplated eternally.

All our new friends tried to convince us to stay for another day, when a great holiday was to be celebrated in the village, with the participation of republican celebrities, but we had to go back to Shymkent. Acting against our conscience, we bade our farewell to the Aksu-Zhabagly Nature Preserve and set off back to the capital of the South-Kazakhstan Oblast.

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