Monday, August 26, 2019

Welcome to Kazakhstan!

After we got our car on the road again we headed to Kazakhstan!

New skyscrapers getting built in Nur-Sultan

As the time table for a rocket start wasn't in our favour we decided to skip the southern route and head to Nur-Sultan. The capital of Kazakhstan has just recently been renamed from Astana to honour the former president Nursultan Nazarbayev. But before reaching the capital we spent some time in the lake country in the north of Kazakhstan.

Once the city we got the contact information from a good 4x4 mechanic but decided to spend the weekend out in the steppe. Around lake Tengiz we found a lovely spot and even sighted some flamingos!

Back in the city we got in touch with Oleg and his team. He and his wife drive competition off road cars and therefore had exactly the knowledge we were looking for. A few phone calls later and some new albeit manual locking hubs were on its way by night bus from Almaty! 🤗 In the meantime we replaced some other minor parts and got a spare air filter for the dusty Mongolian "roads".
Our fellow overlanders in the Defender decided to install a snorkel to fix their issue during heavy rainfall. In hindsight a wise decision, some of the rivers we crossed in Mongolia would not have been possible with the regular low air intake of the Defender!

Visiting the Expo 2017 exhibition about renewable energy was kind of weird in a country living off its oil, coal and gas reserves. Also the gigantic mall next to it was quite the contrast to the simple villages in we saw in the steppe.

From Astana we drove further east and spent some time in the countryside before crossing over to Russia again.

PS: Check out this article about the Austrian Road (in Kazakhstan, not Austria 😉) from on their way driving from Budapest to Singapore!