Kazakhstan Geography and Climate

Kazakhstan is the largest state in Central Asia. Here majestic mountains and plains, glaciers, full-flowing rivers, lakes and deserts, endless steppes and forests coexist with each other. Kazakhstan owns part of the largest lake in the world – the Caspian Sea, part of the infamous Aral Sea, and the unique semi-freshwater lake Balkhash. Such a variety of landscapes determines the presence of a rich natural world. In addition to natural attractions, the country boasts a rich history, which is captured in numerous monuments: the remains of ancient settlements, burial mounds, rock petroglyphs, mausoleums and mosques, which are important shrines of the Muslim world.

It is best to go on a trip to Kazakhstan during the transitional seasons: periods from April to June and from September to November. The best time for hiking in the mountains is summer (June-August). Skiing is possible from November to April.

The state language is Kazakh, belonging to the Turkic group of languages. In addition to the Kazakh language, almost every inhabitant of the country speaks Russian. In addition, the Russian language is widely spoken in the political sphere.

Geography in Kazakhstan

According to top-engineering-schools, Kazakhstan is located in Central Asia. The total area of the country is 2.72 million square meters. km. In the north and west, Kazakhstan borders on Russia, in the southeast – on China, in the south – on Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. In the southwest, the country is washed by the waters of the Caspian Sea.

Most of the territory of Kazakhstan has a flat relief. In the center of the state, the ruined mountain system of the Kazakh hills extends. From the east and south it is bordered by the ranges of the Tien Shan, Zailiysky and Dzungarian Alatau and Altai with altitudes from 3000 to 7000 m. On the border of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan there is the highest point of the country and the second highest peak of the Tien Shan – Khan-Tengri Peak (7010 m). Between the mountain ranges of the east and southeast there are basins occupied by lakes Balkhash, Alakol and Zaisan. Lake Balkhash (area – 18.2 thousand sq. Km) – the largest of the lakes, completely located on the territory of Kazakhstan, it is semi-fresh water (fresh water is in the western part, salty in the eastern part).

To the south-west of the Kazakh uplands lie the Betpak-Dala (Hungry Steppe), Muyunkum and Kyzylkum deserts. From the west, the Turan lowland and the Turgai plateau adjoin the Kazakh upland, and from the north – the southern part of the West Siberian plain and the mountains of Kokshetau (Sinegorye).

To the northwestern part Kazakhstan includes the southern spurs of the Ural Mountains – the Mugodzhary Mountains, to the south of which the northern part of the Aral Sea-Lake is located. Until 1960, it was the fourth largest lake in the world, its area was about 68 thousand square meters. km. In subsequent years, as a result of the intensive use of the waters of the rivers flowing into it for irrigation, the lake began to shallow. Nowadays, the lake has split into two reservoirs: the Small and Big Aral, the total area of which does not exceed 20 thousand square meters. km. The drying process has become irreversible, but scientists are still trying to solve this problem.

Western part of Kazakhstan occupied by the Caspian lowland, in the south of which the Ustyurt plateau is located. On the Mangyshlak peninsula, deeply protruding into the Caspian Sea, there is the Karagie depression (132 m below sea level) – the lowest point of the state.

The largest rivers of the country are the Ural and the Emba, which flow into the Caspian Sea; the Syr Darya, which feeds the Aral Sea; Irtysh with tributaries Tobol and Ishim, flowing in the northern and eastern parts of Kazakhstan; and the Ili, which flows into the Balkhash.

Climate in Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan has a temperate sharply continental type of climate.

In the north of the central part of the country, in the summer months, daytime air temperatures reach +28 degrees, and nighttime temperatures drop to +12..+14 degrees. In winter, during the daytime, the air warms up to -12..-14 degrees, night frosts can reach -25 degrees.

In the mountainous south-eastern part of Kazakhstan at altitudes up to 1000 m in the summer months during the day the air temperature reaches +30 degrees, at night it drops to +18 degrees. In the winter months, it is about -10 degrees during the day, and at night the air cools down to -20 degrees.

In the desert southern regions in summer, the daytime heat can reach +40 degrees, at night there is about 20 degrees of heat. In winter, during the daytime, the air temperature is kept at 0 degrees, and at night it drops to -10 degrees.

In the waters of the Aral Sea and in the valley of the Syrdarya River, it is also hot in summer, during the day the air warms up to +35 degrees, at night temperatures reach +20 degrees. In winter, during the day, the air warms up to -5 degrees, and at night it cools down to -15 degrees.

On the coast of the Caspian Sea, winter is mild: during the day it is about 0 degrees, at night – up to -5 degrees. In summer, during the daytime, the air temperature rises to +30..+32 degrees, and at night it drops to +20 degrees.

The greatest amount of precipitation will fall in the mountainous regions: from 600 to 1500 mm per year (the maximum occurs in the spring months), in the steppe regions up to 500 mm of precipitation can fall per year (their greatest amount is observed in spring and summer), and in desert regions less than 100 mm of precipitation (in summer, there is practically no precipitation).

Best time to visit:
The best time to visit Kazakhstan is during the transitional seasons: from April to June and from September to November. The best time for hiking in the mountains is summer (June-August). Skiing is possible from November to April.

Kazakhstan Geography