The extraordinary mountain of the Mangyshlak Peninsula

A natural monument of Mangystau region, Bokty mountain, attracts and mesmerizes thousands of tourists every year with its unique beauty. The uniqueness of the mountain lies in its unusual shape - an almost perfect trapezoid and very different alternating rock boundaries layers.

Rocks of different colours from white, pink, beige to dark brown make up the mountain. Mount Bokty is a unique and unlike anything else natural monument that fascinates tourists and guests of Mangystau.

Mount Bokty on the map

Mount Bokty is located on the territory of the Mangystau State Historical and Cultural Reserve. The city closest to Mount Bokty in Zhanaozen. From it to the mountain about 90 kilometres.

Mount Bokty has fascinating characteristics. The most intriguing detail for tourists is the change in the shape of the mountain depending on the viewpoints. On one side, the mountain resembles a huge boat with an inverted keel. From the other side, Mount Bokty already looks like a multi-coloured picturesque prism or pyramid. Mount Bokty is one of the most amazing and colourful natural monuments of Mangystau.

Mount Bokty is located in the Ustyurt National Reserve. The Ustyurt plateau attracts tourists from all over the world with its extraordinary and unique views, which remind the traveller of the mysterious lunar landscapes. The unique beauty of this place takes the traveller to a completely different dimension.

If you are planning a trip to the underground mosque Beket-Ata, be sure to include Mount Bokty in your route, as you will find it along the way.

Also, travellers planning a trip to the Boszhira tract always include Mount Bokty in their route, since it is only 20 km from the tract.

Mountain at the bottom of the ancient sea

The name of the mountain can be translated from the Kazakh “pie”, as the mountain resembles a sweet treat with its layers.

The mountain is surrounded by dry litter, one of the varieties of salt marsh, which is typical for Central Asia.

The height of the mountain is 165 meters and it rises 8 meters above sea level. Mount Bokty was formed at the bottom of the ancient sea and acquired its present form thanks to the wind and erosion.

Also around the mountain you can find "takyr", a special type of clay soil, which, when dry, becomes as smooth as asphalt, and after rain or snow, it turns into a vicious soil.

Lovers of flora will not find many plants in this area, because there is no freshwater and only rare artisanal plants are common. Fauna lovers can meet here lizards, camels lazily walking through the desert and even scorpions.

Around the mountain, you can find the fossilized teeth of ancient sharks that inhabited the Akchagyl Sea, which at that time united the Caspian and Aral seas. Such treasures could be found in many local history museums, but here all the exhibits lie under your feet. If you go deeper, then you can probably find finds and more interesting: in this area at different times inhabited the three-toed ancestors of the horse (hipparions) and sabre-toothed cats (mahairods).

Not far from the mountain itself, you can see beautiful slightly blurred chalk horizons with red interlayers, which are called Kyzylkup here.

When translated from the Kazakh language, the name of Mount Bokty can be translated as "pie". They call it that because the mountain seems to be folded like a layered cake of rocks of various colours, which alternate with each other creating a striking contrast. At the foot of Mount Bokty, the lightest layers are located, then approximately in the middle, you can observe a sharp transition of the layer to dark rocks. The very base of the mountain is as if cut by vertical depressions.

How to get to Mount Bokty

Mount Bokty is located on the road along the road to the picturesque Boszhira natural boundary. It is located near the Ustyurt National Reserve. The closest large city to the mountain is Zhanaozen. You can get here only by a full-drive car since buses do not go to this area.

From Zhanaozen you need to go to the P-117 highway, take it to the small village of Senek, and only then from there you need to go along a dirt road towards Mount Bokty. The duration of the entire trip will take about three hours. In summer, takyr soils are dry and have fairly high strength. Because of this, and also because the surface of the takyrs is unusually flat, in the summer, during the dry season in the desert, drive a car along the takyrs at high enough speeds, almost comparable to asphalt roads.

Tourists often stop here for the night in tents. In clear weather, you can admire the unique landscapes and take a photo of the mountain in sunset tones. The mountain looks no less colourful at dawn, and a night in tents under the bright stars and a dinner in nature will make this trip unforgettable.

Useful travel tips

We recommend hiring a guide or travel agency for your first trip.

If you are planning a long walk, we advise you to stock up on water and bring a hat.

You will need sunglasses both for a trip to Mount Bokty and if you decide to continue the path to the rest of the monuments of the Mangystau steppe. The white colours of the chalk rocks of Ustyurt - in the bright summer sun, they affect the eyes more strongly than snow in the mountains.

We advise you to stay for the evening and enjoy the view of the sunset, photos will be extraordinary.

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