Amankaragay Pine Forest
This is the largest forest in Kostanay Province and locals’ favorite place for mushroom hunting. You might even encounter a moose there!
Amankaragay Pine Forest is the largest forest in Kostanay Province, stretching 45 km (28 mi) from end to end. The forest mainly contains pine trees, but there are also birch and aspen.
Pine forests growing in the dry steppes are a unique natural phenomenon. The forest grows on an array of aeolian sands (a type of wind-deposited soil). This sand is wavy in some places and bumpy in others. At the entrance to the pine forest there are many small lakes, both fresh and saline. The forest is surrounded by grass steppes.
The forest attracts mushroom hunters from surrounding villages and even from the entire region. It is also a great destination for birdwatchers. Due to diverse landscapes, 158 species of birds thrive here, including rare birds of prey. There is even a chance to take a glimpse of a moose. Be careful not to approach them, though!
How to get there
Amankaragay Pine Forest is located 100 km (62 mi) away from Kostanay down the Kostanay–Nur-Sultan highway. The nearest village is Amankaragay. Auliekol, a larger village, is 4 km (2.5 mi) away. You can take a bus to the villages of Amangeldy and Torgay, as its route passes through both Amankaragay and Auliekol. There is a train station in Amankaragay. Thus, you can get to the forest either by bus, taxi, or train.
Food and accommodation
In the village of Amankaragay there are a couple of shops. You will find more shops, cafes, and hotels In Auliekol. For a more comfortable stay, it is better to return to Kostanay.