Caspian lotus flowers
Near the coast of the Caspian Sea there are fields of lotus flowers. Like colorful floating islands, they stretch as far as the eye can see. These lotus fields are the northernmost in the world.
Lotus flowers bloom in the Kurmangazy Region, almost on the border with Russia, in the deltas of the Kigach and Sharonovka Rivers where they flow into the Caspian Sea. Flowering season: July - August.
These lotus fields are hard to reach; you’ll have to drive 300 km (approx. 190 mi) to the southwest from the town of Atyrau, and then cover a few more kilometers by water in a final stretch that will take about forty minutes. However, the reward will be worthy; you’ll be able to see lotuses up close and even hold blooming buds in your hands. Every petal is the size of a human palm! In Buddhism, the lotus is regarded as an embodiment of purity and enlightenment. Growing in swampy waters, these flowers pristinely bloom. There are many theories as to how lotuses spread in a territory this uninhabitable. The most popular of these states that during the heyday of the Silk Road, local merchants brought lotus seeds from India or China to enjoy their unearthly beauty at home.
However, not only lotuses draw travelers to this remote corner of Atyrau Province. The region also boasts pristine nature, and is home to many species of aquatic birds,including cranes, swans, herons, loafs, and various species of ducks. In addition, there is an excellent opportunity for fishing. That is what this land is known for.
Useful tips for 2020-2021
How to get there
You can reach the area independently by car, driving along the Atyrau-Astrakhan highway, or as a member of the Lotus Bloom eco-tour organized by a travel company. In any case, you’ll have to cover 300 km (approx. 190 mi) to the village of Ganyushkino before traveling a few more kilometers to the Kigach River (a tributary of the Volga), then a few kilometers by boat to the lotus fields.
Food and accommodation
Feel free to eat and spend the night at one of the recreation centers located near the village of Ganyushkino. If you book an eco-tour, this will be included in the price. At the recreation centers, you will certainly be treated to excellent ukha (a soup made from various types of fish) and freshly caught fried fish.