Like bursts of flame, the multi-colored clay elevations of the Kiinkerish Tract brighten up the steppe.
Kiinkerish was formed by deposits of variegated reddish clay. The tract is located in the Kurchum District of East Kazakhstan Province, about 315 km (195 mi) away from Ust-Kamenogorsk.
There is no water, no shade, and summer temperatures often rise above 40oC (104oF), so this is quite the adventure. Still, the uniquely motley beauty of the surrounding landscape is definitely worth a visit!
Video about Kiin-Kerish Tract (English subtitles are available)
Useful tips for 2020-2021
How to get there
The road to Kiinkerish will certainly be an adventure. First you will have to cover a distance of 168 km (104 mi) from Ust-Kamenogorsk to the Kyzyl Tu crossing. Then, take a ferry to the village of Kurchum. Enjoy the journey as well as the destination; the ferry crossing through the Bukhtarma Reservoir is an unforgettable experience! After the crossing, do not neglect the opportunity to swim in the reservoir. The water here is warm and the shores are sandy.
In the village of Kurchum there is a gas station, shops and a cafe. Be sure to restock your supplies. If you are traveling by car, get some gas. There will be no further refueling opportunities.
Kurchum is about 100 km (62 mi) away from the tract. Although there are no signs, it’s not difficult to find Kiinkerish in the steppe -- the tract is visible from afar. It stands in the middle of a seemingly lifeless desert, as a bright spot of deposits of multi-colored clays.
After visiting Kiinkerish you can also take a look at its "younger brother" Cape Shekelmes, located 20 km (12 mi) away from the tract. And if after admiring these fiery landscapes you want to plunge into the water, you can visit Lake Zaysan.
Food and accommodation
You can spend a night in tents at Cape Shekelmes on the shore of Lake Zaysan or in a hotel in Kurchum, where you can also visit a local history museum.