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Spring flowers in the Tien Shan – AGS Kazakhstan 2024

This is an easy tour, with moderate daily trips. You will have the chance to experience a varied landscape and of course to discover various species of Tulips, Irises, Fritillarias, Rheum, Primulas, Prunus, Adonis and many more. Tour leaders: Harry Jans & Connor Smith.
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Most flights to Almaty arrive early in the morning, and you will be transferred to the “Royal Plus Hotel” in the capital. On the first day, after a late breakfast we will drive to Kapchagay where we will botanise for the day.

Our next destination will be the Mountains of Zailiyskiy Ala-Tau. On the southern slopes of the Kaskelen gorge we will go on a walk looking out for Tulipa ostrowskiana growing among rich vegetation. Other highlights of the day include Crocus alatavicus and Tulipa dasystemon.

The drive to Merke is over 300 km long, but on the way there we will stop to botanise in at least 3 locations. On the Kordai pass we should see Tulipa ostrowskiana (in yellow and red forms), Ephedra equisetina, Tamarix ramosissima, various kinds of Allium and Astragalus, Inula macrophylla, etc. Here is also the small flowering Tulipa bifloriformis, a population of Tulipa alberti, Leontice ewersmanii a species with huge spheric tubers, thickets of Ephedra equisetina and Rheum maximoviczii, Biebersteinia multifida, and many others.

Later on, we move from Merke to Taraz, a rich area with new plants like Tulipa zenaidae in various colour forms, Tulipa binutans, Eremurus tianschanicus and Delphinum ilinse. If we are lucky Paeonia intermedia should be in flower. At the end of the day, we will visit the ancient settlement of Tortkul and the Akyrtas palace complex.

Near Taraz we will explore the Berkara gorge and then, a day late, we will visit the Aisha-Bibi and Babadzhi-Khatun mausoleums and the Kuyuk pass. We will end the tour exploring in the very rich Aksu-Zhabagly reserve. From here the group will transfer back to Almaty by night train (2-seater compartments). On the last day, we will have the chance to explore the mountains near Almaty before our departure home.