Planning an adventurous getaway? Go rafting in Kazakhstan
Last year hasn’t exactly been a great deal of fun for all the travelers out there. We’ve been stuck inside our homes a lot and even when we did get the chance to go away for a bit, options were limited. If you’re someone who usually likes to travel the world and go on exciting adventures, chances are, you didn’t get to do that in 2020. Options were limited. But a new year means new opportunities and it doesn’t hurt to be hopeful about what the future may bring. So let’s get started and let’s plan an exciting trip for 2021. Not sure where to start? Well, Kazakhstan has some great options for all the daredevils out there!
If you’re a fan of adventurous travelling, chances are you are already acquainted with rafting. During this outdoor activity you use an inflatable raft to make your way through a river or some other kind of waterway. Depending on how you feel and what your skillset is, rafting can be anything between a relaxing family activity and an extreme, somewhat risky sport. There are six grades of difficulty when it comes to rafting, 1 being the easiest, 6 being the most difficult.
Lots of destinations offer rafting options but if you’re looking for something off the beaten track, you might want to consider going to Kazakhstan. The country has a lot of great rafting opportunities, while also offering a big array of other activities, ranging from spa facilities to cultural hotspots. It could therefore be the perfect destination if you’re on the lookout for a varied trip which caters to your whole family’s needs. No need to choose, in Kazakhstan you’ll find something for everyone.
1. Rafting Federation
First of all, it’s important to note that rafting is so popular in Kazakhstan that they’ve even got their own Rafting Federation. The organization’s purpose is twofold; on the one hand, they want to make rafting lovers’ lives easier by offering a great deal of information and activities, on the other hand they concentrate on the more professional side of things. If you want to contact the Federation you can do so by visiting the website or by stopping by one of their three branches located in Almaty, Taldykorgan and Oskemen. It’s a great way to prepare for your rafting experience in Kazakhstan.
If you want to go rafting in Kazakhstan, two provinces in particular should spark your interest: Almaty and East Kazakhstan. They organize professional tours, some easy, others difficult, some being 1-day trips, others spanning over multiple days. It’s totally up to you to decide which option suits you best. All rivers suitable for rafting are graded following the international guidelines, from 1 to 6 depending on their level of difficulty.
2. Almaty province
So let’s have a look at the different rivers you can choose from. In the Almaty province, the three most popular options are Ili, Turgen and Chilik. Ili is a great option if you’re travelling with your family. It’s fairly easy, which means you’ll get the chance to admire the scenery en route. There are multiple stops along the way and you could even combine this with some fishing. This is not a great option during summertime, however, as it gets very hot in this region. Then we’ve got Turgen, which is a bit more difficult already. Normally it’s classed as a 2 but in the summer, when the water level rises, it becomes a level 3 river. If you’re looking for a small dose of adrenaline, this is a good bet and you’ll also get to admire the Medvezhiy Waterfall in Turgen Canyon. Lastly, there’s Chilik. This river has got a level 3 when it comes to rafting and you’ll certainly have your hands full if you want to stay afloat.
3. East Kazakhstan province
Would you rather go to East Kazakhstan? No problem, we’ve got your back. The most popular option here is, without a doubt, the Uba River. Its surroundings certainly offer a magnificent backdrop for your rafting trip although the winding river can also be a bit tricky to navigate. You simply never know what will be around the next corner. If that doesn’t scare you, a good place to start your tour is at the confluence of the White and Black Uba to the full-flowing Uba. From there on, your journey will take you all the way to the village of Karagujikha in about three to five days. If you want to go any further, you’ll have to pass the Bolsheubinsky thresholds, which is only possible if you’re a professional rafter. Other options in East Kazakhstan include the rivers Bukhtarma, Irtysh, Ulba, Serjikha. The rivers Kaljir and Hamir are only suitable if you’re a bit more advanced.
4. Good to know
Wherever you decide to go rafting, it’s always a good idea to book a rafting tour or to make arrangements with local guides. The rivers can be tricky and you never know when you’ll be in need of some professional help, certainly because a lot of the routes are located quite far from any form of habitation. And in case you’re wondering: no need to bring your own equipment, local organizations have everything you’ll need!