NUR-SULTAN – The Kyzylorda Region has long been associated with one of the region’s main products, Syr Marzhan rice, and the birthplace of Korkyt Ata, the Turkic songwriter and composer from the ninth century.
But now the region is becoming more attractive as a tourism destination because Kamystybas Lake, has become an ecological and medical tourism destination.
Kamystybas Lake, which locals also call Kambash Lake, is located in the Kyzylorda region’s Aral district, 80 kilometres from Aral city. The Aral district has a system of lakes, the largest of which is Kamystybas Lake (51 kilometres long and 10 kilometres wide). The lake is formed by the Syr Darya River.
The local climate is favourable for recreation. The lake is a unique reservoir with rich flora and fauna. The coastline is a natural beach of coarse sand. It has gently sloping soft bottom, clear and transparent water, the temperature of which is comfortable from May to September. The water is believed to have healing qualities.
In the summer, the lake is always crowded. Last year, more than 89,000 people visited the lake. Vacationers come from Aktobe, Shymkent, Almaty, Turkestan and Baikonur. The lake also attracts visitors from Turkey, Russia and Belarus. The Western Europe – Western China highway is passing next to the lake and helps bring international tourists.
The Kyzylorda authorities are planning to make Kamystybas Lake an ecotourism centre. In 2017, it allocated 4 million tenge (US$10,488) from the local budget and installed a 1,350-metre water pipeline.
Five-six years ago, visitors could rent only yurts. Now, the coastline offers many houses suitable for vacationing.
“In the region, great attention is paid to the development of domestic tourism… Kamystybas Lake attracts more tourists every year. Therefore, all conditions are created for quality recreation for visitors. We support entrepreneurs and try to help them in (developing) infrastructure. Special attention is paid to the cleanliness of the lake and its territory,” Regional Business and Tourism Department Deputy Head Bagdat Aliyev told bnews.kz.
The lake’s fishing industry is also developing.
“According to scientists, Kamystybas Lake appeared before the Aral Sea. Thanks to the reservoir, local residents have the opportunity to fish. They get fish and sell it in the city. Every angler has their own equipment. The water at the lake is salty, so the fish is very tasty. Demand for fish products is very high,” said Kamystybas Agricultural Cooperative Chair Aldabergen Issayev.
Medical tourism is also developing in the region. The Zhanakorgan health resort is located at the foot of the Karatau Mountain near the Syr Darya River’s flow and is open all year. It is 200 kilometres away from Kyzylorda, 100 kilometres from the historic city of Turkestan and two kilometres away from the Zhanakorgan railway station.
The resort provides accommodation in a five-story building with 380 beds. It has standard, junior suite and suite rooms with bathrooms, televisions and refrigerators. Accommodation, meals and treatment are included.
The healing properties of clay and salt water at the resort help fight many illnesses, such as the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue, peripheral nervous system, gynaecological and urological diseases. Doctors monitor visitors’ health around-the-clock.
The resort has its own large area for walks and a pier at the Syr Darya River. For leisure activities, it has a gym, table tennis, summer dance floor and library.
The owners of the resort receive regular government assistance. As the number of newcomers increases every year, with the support of the government, they plan to open another resort this year.