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Lake Balkhash

In the southeastern region of Kazakhstan sprawls the enormous, crescent-shaped Lake Balkhash. Fed by seven rivers, it is one of the largest lakes in the country. It contains a combination of waters, with saline to the east and fresh water to the west. The area enjoys a continental climate, with temperatures as high as 85-90F in summer, plunging to around 5F in winter.

Surrounded by rich and verdant greenery, the lake is a great place to explore the flora and spot local species of fauna. Willow trees, various reeds and canes line the banks, and under the waters are plentiful species of algae and wort. Balkhash is home to six species of native fish as well as many that have since been introduced, not to mention 120 types of birds including cormorants, pheasants and golden eagles. With cities and towns dotted around its edges, of which Balkhash is the largest, not to mention the Bishkek-Karaganda Highway, part of which which runs along the edge, there are many points from which to access the lake and many activities to be enjoyed.

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On his visits to Kazakhstan, Jay is consistently struck by its wild nomadic traditions and its spectacular, thrusting new architecture.
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