The Ili river, one of the largest rivers in Kazakhstan
takes its beginning in Eastern Tien-Shan from Tekes and
Kunges rivers. Its length starting at the inflow of Tekes
river is 1,439 km, 815 km on Kazakhstan's territory. Flowing
into lake Balkhash it forms an immense delta with vast
wetland regions of lakes, marches and jungle-like vegetation.
The Kapchagai Hydroelectric power station was built from
1965 to 1980 in the middle flow of Ili river, forming
the Kapchagay Reserve. Tamgaly, some 20 km downstream
along Ili river is well known for its rock drawings. The
name Tamgaly in Kazakh means painted or marked place.
There is good easy rafting on Ili after Kapchagai water
reservoir where the river flows in a deep rocky canyon,
up to 200 meters wide, providing good condition s for
1st category rafting. The river in this part is full-flowing
with rapid current and clear water. The canyon is about
100 meters deep and there are several small islands along
the way. The flow in summer varies from 150 to 250 cbm/s.
Starting in May the water in the river is warm and there
is good swimming and fishing.
Standard rafts for 6-8 persons are used for rafting, equipped
with safety vests and other necessary equipment. Temperature
on Ili river may reach +30°C, that is why we recommend
to sear long-sleeve shirts, sunglasses, head covering
There are several more challengeing rafting options along
the flows of the Charyn and Chu rivers.