Aksu-Zhabagly Nature Reserve


Visit Guide to Aksu-Zhabagly Nature Reserve

Aksu-Zhabagly State Nature Reserve was established by the resolutions of the Council of People’s Commissars of the Kazakh ASSR dated July 14, 1926 and the Council of People’s Commissars of the RSFSR dated May 27, 1927 on an area of 30,545 hectares. In 1929, the Aksu river canyon was tacked to the reserve. The nature reserve was founded to protect the Aksu and Zhabagly valleys flora and fauna. In 1935, the area was increased to 48,570 hectares. Later the valleys of the Bala-Baldybrek and Baldybrek rivers were annexed.

Getting There

Zhabagly (Novonikolaevka) of the Tyulkubas district of the Turkestan region can be considered the starting point for tours around the reserve. 600 km separate Almaty from Zhabagly village and only 100 km from Shymkent.

One can get to the final destination by train. After getting off at the Tulkubas station, you should continue the drive on a private car or fixed-route taxi. Buses also go there along the Almaty – Tashkent highway, you need to get off at the Akbiik Village stop and hitchhike to the nature reserve. Local residents will give you a lift for a nominal fee. Also, you can get to Zhabagly from the Aina market bus station or from the railway station located in the city of Shymkent.

What to Expect

Zhabagly Nature Reserve is home to Sairam peak with a height of 4,238 meters (more often called Aktyueolgen – lying camel), and in the central part of the reserve sparkles Bugulutor glacial ridge 3,926 meters high.

In total, there are 114 glaciers and 27 small lakes that can be seen up close or from the Kshi-Kaindy pass following the route along the Zhabagly River. If the weather is good one will see a picturesque panorama of the central part of the reserve and the tops of the ridges.

The trip through the juniper forest, tour of the Kshi-Kaindy waterfall with the observation of mountain goats and argali herds, or vultures and golden eagles flight. In spring and early summer, you can see with your own eyes (Don’t touch that, Refrain) the iris-snowdrop – iridodictium, Kaufman and Kolpakovsky tulips, as well as the Red Book Greig’s tulip with a large red flower that became the reserve logo. If you are lucky, you will cross path’s a Tien Shan brown bear, also listed in the Red Book.


Aksu-Zhabagly National State Reserve being the first and oldest in Kazakhstan, is the main guarantee since the Soviet era that the local nature has been preserved in the best possible way. 93 years, since 1926, specialists carefully and cherishing monitor flora and fauna status. In addition, the reserve is protected by the state and the law: the decree on the reserve establishment states that it was founded by the Council of People’s Commissars of the Kazakh ASSR to protect the Aksu and Zhabagly rivers flora and fauna. In other words, your leisure time in the reserve area will be slightly regulated, but be sure about the eco-friendly environment and personal contribution to nature.

The fact that over the years, by the specialists were developed more than a dozen different tourist routes, revealing all the beauty of river valleys and gorges, is very encouraging.

Facilities Available

  • Wi – Fi
  • 24/h secure parking
  • Sauna
  • Lunch/dinner order
  • Billiard
  • Volleyball court
  • Equipment rental (balls, badminton, checkers, chess, backgammon, darts, scooters, hoops, jump ropes).