Коргалжынский Заповедник и Кызыларай
This was a great tour: exclusive, extravagant, full of off-the-track surprises, lovely people, and grandiose nature, countryside, birds, and flowers! Well, that is really in a nutshell what this tour means now for me.
The first part with wonderful ornithologist Alexej was utter to my liking. Passionate to help preserve nature, he has a most impressive personality. Maybe you can pass on to him my greetings and thanks. So many birds he showed me in a great surrounding. He succeeded not only showing us the birds but also the famous Saigas, including the Baby-Saiga which you can see on a foot. Very nice accommodation with a lovely hosting family, good food in a comfortable and clean house.
Though I was not at all pleased that there was no more ornithologist, the second part was highly rewarding, and I recovered from my anger very quickly. Long drives in the incredible step, including getting stuck in the muddy ground, are unforgettable. Yet, by the help of two horsemen, we got out of it. I saw more birds, and most of them I managed to find in my book if I did not know them. That was good for me!
Really, Nikola is a first class driver, very calm and considerate — only in ShabanbabaiBi, where he really felt absolutely at home with the extremely nice couple, he became quite talkative. Azar as interpreter was excellent. Sometimes he took over the driving and very efficient too! I am not sure, maybe he got us into the mud?
Food and house also great. Just one little thing that I found difficult, yet not unexpected in the far away countryside, was the special toilet-situation. My arthritis in the knees did not like it. Here, at home, we are ever so civilized, you do not come across those little huts anywhere anymore. However, the luxury of the tour was not 5-Star-Hotels (the one in Ka. was very pleasant), but to be an individual, all on myself, on tour with Nikola as a super driver and Azar as a very interesting interpreter. He is really a great character!
I had very much insisted, not to see much of Karlag, yet Nikola on the waý back to Karaganda took that little turn off the road to the Spassky-Memorial. It was very, very moving, and — as I had been afraid — it moved me emotionally very much. I could not help crying. I know why I did not want to do Gulag-sightseeing. In Karaghandy he showed me the memorial for the II World War. It is grand, but for me not really moving, though I lost my (to me unknown father) in the Second World War.
I want to point out that in the end, I was glad not to have a second participant. I am grateful that you did not put up the reduced prize again. It was a lot of money, I paid. Now I think, it was worth every Tenge of it!
Everything was well organized. I congratulate and thank Nomadic Travel!