Swimming in Northern Kazakhstan: Chebache Lakes

Nazerke Makhanova | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Hot summer days might make you think about the best summer activities. If ice-creams are meant to be eaten and bicycles to be ridden, then lakes are meant to be used not only for fishing and but also for swimming! To enjoy hot summer days, people from all over Kazakhstan, Russia, and tourists from Central Asian countries travel to** Burabay National Park. Apart from sightseeing and spending time in the breathtaking and healing atmosphere of pile forests, swimming in Northern Kazakhstan, and specifically in Chebache lakes,** is the main reason why people visit the area in the first place.  

© Flickr / Oleg Faynitskiy

Chebache Lakes

Chebache lakes are named after the Chebak fish, which dwell in these waters. The Chebache is split into two parts, called Bolshoye and Maloye Chebache, which in the Russian language mean "Big and Small." The lake belongs to the Burabay Governmental National Park since 2000 and is now under the protection of the government. The length of the Big lake is 7.7 km, the width is 4.7 km, and the deepest level of the water is 33 m. The Small lake is located 2.5 km away to the West from the Big Lake: it is only 500 meters far from the famous attraction of Burabay - Zhumbaktas. The water there does not dry out due to the fact that 40% of it comes from running springs. 

© iStock / Kirill_Savenko

How to reach Burabay

If you are traveling across Kazakhstan, note that there is no direct flight from anywhere directly to Burabay. Therefore, it is recommended to reach first Nur-Sultan **or Kokshetau and from these cities take a taxi to Burabay. If you take a trip to Burabay from Nur-Sultan, (257 km by car), you got a great chance to visit the capital city of Kazakhstan. So for those who have not seen the capital of Kazakhstan, it is definitely worth it. Meanwhile, the trip from Kokshetau to Burabay will be a lot easier and cheaper, because it only is around 88 km. The professional taxi services will charge an expensive rate, so it is easier to reach a railway station and use the service of local taxi drivers at the cost of more or less 3000-3500 tenges per person, one-way. This price is fixed from Nur-Sultan city,** but from Kokshetau, the price will be relatively cheaper. 

© Flickr / Nikita Novozhilov

Tips when visiting Chebache

The beaches that surround Bolshoye and Maloye Chebache lakes do not offer any facilities. So, make sure you pack beforehand whatever you might need while there. As a matter of fact, the lakes are under Governmental protection; it is crucial to be respectful towards nature and avoid lighting a fire or leave any waste behind. A good tip: if you are entering the zone of Chebache, the eco-post fare shall be paid in the border between Burabay Resort and Burabay National Park: it is only 120 tenges per person. Also, locals who know how to have the best time around the lakes know that it is important to go to Chebache early in the morning. Simply, because you can find plenty of vacant places, more peaceful surroundings and you can enjoy a perfect sunrise view. You can buy your snacks and drinks in the local market in Burabay Resort: bring your swimsuit, and a blanket to sit on. 

© Flickr / Szabolcs Mosonyi

What else to do around?

Maloye Chebache is in a very close distance to the Burabay lake, where the most famous attractions, such as Zhumbaktas cliff and Okzhetpes rock, are placed. In Burabay lake, you can have a boat trip, swim, rent a bicycle, and walk in pine forests to enjoy the healing air. If you are up for fishing in the lakes of Burabay National Park, keep in mind that it is obligatory to have a fishing license. Since the territory is strictly protected, even the number of fishing certificates issued per year is limited. So, if you are planning to go fishing, it is important to act in advance. If you are entering the Burabay National Park on foot or riding a bicycle, there will be no toll fees in the eco-post. 

© Flickr / Oleg Faynitskiy

The water in Bolshoye and Maloye Chebache lakes is very clean and transparent: you can even see your feet in there surrounded by small underwater rocks. Burabay is a fairytale that takes your mind and soul away from worries and endless thoughts. If, by chance, you are in Northern Kazakhstan, free some space in your agenda and go swimming in the Chebache lakes: it will grant you a feeling of relaxation for quite a long time!

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