Unique lake of Kazakhstan – Alakol Lake is the second-largest inland water bodies of Kazakhstan and the only deep-water drainage lake of the country. It is located on the border of Almaty and East Kazakhstan oblasts. Lake is in the north-east of Almaty oblast in Balkhash-Alakol lowland, between the eastern ridges of Jungar Alatau and southern ridges of Tarbagatay. Lake is situated in the semi-desert area, at an altitude of 347 m above sea level, covers an area of 2,700 square kilometers. Its depth is 50 meters, has a length of 102 km, a width of 54 km. more than 15 tributaries runs in it. The highest temperature on the surface of the water reaches 24 degrees.
It forms Alakol lake system together with Sasykkol, Uyaly, Zhalanashkol and other smaller lakes. Lake area (including islands) is 2696 km2, the volume of water – 58.56 cu. km, length – 104 km, width – 52 km, the average depth – 22 m, the maximum depth – 54 m, the length of the coastline – 348 km. Coast is heavily indented with numerous peninsulas, capes, bays, coves. Big and Small Balgyn bays are deep enough and used as ports of refuge. There are Islands in the center of Alakol: Ulken, Kishkene Araltobe, Belkuduk, etc. Coastal climate is continental. Difficult wind conditions are marked above the lake. The maximum wind speed over the northern part of the lake is 40-50 m/s, on the south-eastern and central – 50-60 m/s. Winds are most active in the fall and winter, when the wave height can be up to 2-2.5 m. Temperature of the water reaches + 7... + 15 C in the end of May. The highest temperature on the surface of the water in the summer is 26 degrees; in shallow coastal areas in the northern zone is 30 degrees. At a depth of 20 m, the temperature of water does not exceed 18 degrees.
Lake had several names from XII to XIX century: Turge-Nor (from Mong. "bridge-lake"), Alaktagol, Alateniz, Alakta. It is believed also that the name comes from a combination of ancient Turkic and Mongolian words, Ala + kol – "The Great Lake". In the Kazakh language it means «motley lake". It is really motley –turquoise-colored in a clear morning, the azure at the end of the day. Beautiful sunsets, bright sun and the healing properties of water attract more and more tourists every year.
Water of Alakol is salty and marine. The water is sodium-chloride and chloride-sulphate-sodium on the composition, and comparable to the Black Sea. Mineralization of water in the waters ranged from 1.2 to 11.6 g /l. Alakol basin belongs to the zone of insufficient moisture and is great climatological resort. Swimming season on Alakol Lake opens in mid June. Beach is unique– black, therapeutic pebbles. Bottom of the lake is pebble, off the coast muddy in some places, shallow shore is covered with black pebbles, warm from the sun warming it. There is a hydrogen sulfide dirt apart from the grace of water and, and clean dry steppe air, saturated with mineral salts.
Despite the lack of health resorts and sanatoriums, all this variety of natural factors creates favorable conditions for rest and treatment of skin diseases (eczema, psoriasis, nevrodermatita, urticaria), respiratory diseases, diseases of the musculoskeletal system (rheumatoid arthritis, low back pain, sciatica), nervous system.
An archipelago of three islands is in the central part of the lake, where Alakol State Nature Reserve was created in 1998. Alakol is an important crossroads of migration routes of birds from Central Asia, flying from the Indian and African wintering grounds. There are hundreds of thousands of holiday birds, many of which are listed in the Red Book: pink and the Dalmatian pelican, whooper swan, white-headed duck, white-tailed eagle, demoiselle crane, bustard, relict gull, flamingos and others.
Alakol is rich for fish: white perch, osman, plain sloth, lake and river marina, carp, perch, crucian carp. Fishing and hunting in the vicinity of the lake is interesting and varied.
There are several quite comfortable holiday homes on the shore, which allow organizing a relaxing holiday on the coast of the lake.