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Ili RiverIli River

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.

Tamgaly Petroglyphs 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 +30C, that is why we recommend to sear long-sleeve shirts, sunglasses, head covering and sunblock.

There are several more challengeing rafting options along the flows of the Charyn and Chu rivers.
© 2001-2010 STANtours last modified October 10, 2002