What do you like more: extreme rafting down turbulent mountain rivers, when “rapids” are on the path one cooler than the other, or orderly course of calm waters “overboard”? Whatever the answer, we will please you: in Kazakhstan you may experience river rafting for every taste!
Rafting is usually referred to extreme types of leisure activities, although even children are allowed to rafting down the river (or certain parts of it) with calm water. We will tell you about the most popular places for rafting in Kazakhstan. Two provinces, Almaty and East Kazakhstan, arrange rafting tours professionally – you will be offered routes of different categories of complexity, both of one-day and multi-day type. According to the international classification for each river reach there are six categories of barriers with different level of difficulty: the higher the number of the level, the more difficult the reach is.
In the Almaty Province three rivers are especially popular for rafting: Ili, Turgen, and Chilik.
Ili is a river with calm course which is the first category of complexity rafting in Almaty. This is great for family vacation with children from years old and for those people who do not like extreme sports. Rafting on Ili is more like a trip with a possibility of admiring surrounding landscapes, turang groves, reed beds and watching birds and beasts (yes-yes, you can see, for example, wild boars at a watering place), as well as visiting sights at the planned stops. By the way, such a measured water "trip" can be combined with fishing. Ili is famous for huge catfish and carp. The season for rafting by the river is starting from the end of April and lasting till the middle of June, however, it is possible to arrange a rafting tour in September. It is very hot on Ili in summer, the air temperature rises up to 40-45 degrees Celsius and, therefore, it is not recommended to raft at this time.
Turgen is a mountain river of the second category of complexity in rafting; in July, when the water level in the river increases, the category rises to the third level. It is suitable for families with children from 10 years old, for young people and those who want to experience "moderate" adrenaline. Picturesque mountain landscapes have made this route very popular. The organizers combine river rafting with an excursion to Medvezhiy Waterfall in Turgen Canyon. The rafting season is from mid-June to mid-August.
Chilik is the river of the third category of complexity in rafting. That's where people go for adrenaline! Rough water of this river will not let you fall into despondency from monotonous steppe landscapes along the banks. The rafting season is from mid-June to the beginning of October.
It is worth mentioning two more rivers in Almaty Province where rafting is being arranged.
This is Charyn River, different from other mountain rivers of Jetysu by its “inconstancy” – calm and unhurried after a moment it can turn into a raging stream, and then calm down again.
For lovers of superextreme, organizations offer a special route along Koksu River. In different parts of the river different categorization of complexity: from three to five. Together with the fascinating nature of Jetysu (Dzungarian Alatau) rafting on the river will not leave anyone indifferent!
Water thresholds of East Kazakhstan
Uba River is considered as the most popular river for rafting in the East Kazakhstan Province. The river is very picturesque and winding. On the one hand this is interesting; on the other one it is unsafe as it is not visible what is there around the corner.
For lovers of a measured rest, a route is recommended from the confluence of White and Black Uba to the full-flowing Uba (50 km from the town of Ridder) and to the village of Karagujikha. The rafting will take you from three to five days.
Passage of the further route through Uba with overcoming the famous “Bolsheubinsky” thresholds is possible only for professional rafters, for those who hold a paddle not for the first time. Rafting season – from May to mid-August.
Weekend tours are also organized along calm rivers: Bukhtarma, Irtysh, Ulba, Serjikha; and for extreme lovers – on the rivers Kaljir, Turgusun, Hamir.
The mountain rivers Kaljir and Hamir are quite far from large settlements and, therefore, for those rafters who decide to go there, it will be a whole multi-day expedition: it is difficult to get there and the rafting itself is not simple.
In any case, wherever you decide to go on a rafting, with the organization of the tour it is better to turn to professionals, local guides and instructors. The days when tourists from neighboring countries brought their own equipment with them had passed; now almost everything you need can be offered to you on the site.