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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While it is true that fish stocks have waned in recent years, it is still a popular destination for amateur and professional anglers. From all around, they come to the shores of Lake Balkhash for a relaxing day, hoping for a bite on the bait.


Home to countless species of birds, animals and fish, Lake Balkhash draws nature photographers from all over the region, all of whom hope to catch a glimpse of one of many endangered species, not to mention snap stunning shots of the gorgeous scenery.


Yachting and sailing are popular pastimes on the azure waters of Lake Balkhash. With its vast expanse and good winds, not to mention the beautiful natural scenery as far as the eye can see, it’s easy to understand why this is a notorious boating spot in the region.

Swimming and diving

Swimming tends to be more popular in areas of the lake that are further removed from the big cities that pop up along its banks - especially Balkhash. In the summer months, bathers enjoy refreshing dips in the lake’s blue waters. Meanwhile, divers plunge down to explore the algae-covered depths.

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