The Ustyurt Plateau
Choose a rental car, rental for traveling in Kazakhstan. Ustyurt is located between the Caspian and the Aral. A very beautiful place, almost all sides bordered by sheer cliffs – chinks, in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. The plateau area is about 200,000 square kilometers. It is a clay and clay-gravelly desert. There are also sections of sandy desert. Very often it is the Ustyurt Plateau that is called the border dividing Asia and Europe. The Ustyurt plateau occupies vast spaces between the Aral and Caspian seas and has a characteristic feature: the chink is a steep, hard-to-reach cliff about 150 m high (the Eastern chink facing the Aral reaches 190 m). According to scientists, the plateau is the bottom of the dried-up sea that existed in these places at the beginning and middle of the Cenozoic era (21 million years ago). This is evidenced by the inclusion of shells in limestone, as well as ferromanganese nodules, like billiard balls scattered throughout the plateau. These “balls” were formed at the bottom of the sea, and then, as more resistant to weathering, they appeared on the surface when the limestones and dolomites surrounding them were washed out by water. The flat desert relief, interrupted by chalk deposits in the form of rocks and cracks appearing here and there, looks like a Martian landscape from a Hollywood movie and it seems that by incredible chance you are exploring a different, unfamiliar planet.
The Ustyurt Plateau is especially beautiful during sunsets and sunrises. Cretaceous cliffs during sunsets and sunrises present an impressive picture when white rock formations turn purple. The flora and fauna of Ustyurt does not immediately open to the eyes of travelers. Gradually, getting used to unusual natural conditions, you can notice colonies of gerbils, ground squirrels and jerboas. A large number of birds of prey live here – vultures and eagles, which proudly sit on the cliff rocks. You can also see saigas, although it is unlikely that amateurs will be able to capture these shy and very fast animals on camera. But travelers can photograph Ustyurt argali in its natural habitat. What is most surprising is the presence of wild horses on the Ustyurt plateau. They say that before there were farms of Kazakh nomads, but the horses went wild and took root on a plateau, where they still live.