Song Kul or Song Kol Lake


Location: Naryn Province Map

When: June- Sept
Means: following lake or next lake
Elevation: 3016 m
Surface Area: 278 sq km
Max Depth: 14 m
Average Depth: 8.6 m



Song Kol Lake or The Songköl (Kyrgyz Соңкөл, English Song-Kul) is a mountain lake in the north of the Naryn region of Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia. It can be reached during the summer months (June-September) by off-road passenger vehicles via two "roads": (a) from Kochkor or from Naryn, each via the A 365 towards Sary-Bulak and from the junction 85 5 km south of this village km west through the Tölök valley along the southern flank of the Karakatty mountain range and finally over the 3446 m high Kalmak Pass and thus the Songköltoo mountain range, and with about 3 hours driving time in both cases; or (b) from Naryn 85 km west to Ak Valley and from there around 50 km over the difficult, 3150 m high Moldo Pass through the Moldotoo chain north to the lake.

Songköl – Kyrgyzstan's second largest lake after Issykköl – is an alpine freshwater lake, the largest in Kyrgyzstan. It has an area of 278 km² and is located in the Songköl lowlands, between the mountain ranges of the up to 3856 m high Songköltoo in the north and the up to 4185 m high Moldotoo in the south, at an altitude of 3016 m. It has a roughly oval shape with a longitudinal extent in the NW-SE direction of 29 km and a maximum width of 18 km. The maximum depth is 13.2 m. On the southeast bank, the Songköl River drains the lake to Naryn. The water temperature in summer is 11-12 degrees Celsius. The lake freezes in the winter months (November – May), with the ice reaching a thickness of 1.0–1.2 meters.

The Songköl lies in the middle of a wide, flat hollow above the tree line. The surrounding plateau, where only grasses and herbs grow, is grazed in the summer months by thousands of sheep and horses, whose shepherds and their families set up their yurts in the pastures for the grazing season. Tourists can stay and be fed with some shepherds and in some yurt camps set up especially for tourists.

The lake and its outlying areas have been listed as an important bird area on the Ramsar list since 2011.



Total area - 278 km², fresh water volume - 2.4 km³, length - 28 km, width - 18 km. Average depth — 8.6 m, maximum — 14 m. The location of the lake was formed by tectonics. The shore of the lake is low, the line of the shore of the lake is not very noticeable.

On the other hand, the continuously flowing waters of Ak-Tash, Tash-Dobo, and Kara-Keche do not freeze often even in winter.

Sun-Kul is 29 km long and 17 km wide, covering 292 square km. constitutes the area of the existing lake.
The depth of the lake is different, on the eastern side it is 10-15 meters, and on the western side it is up to 22 meters deep.

Various grasses grow around the blue lake, and it is the most beautiful, embroidered with red flowers. Also, the mountain slopes on the coasts are covered with fescue grass and are a fertile home for livestock.

It has been proven that 66 species of waterfowl and marsh birds live in Sun-Kol. It was observed that 29 species of them nest and hatch their young in the valleys on the shores of lakes, and 37 species are autumn and spring migratory birds. Ducks, herons, geese, and seagulls swim above Sun-Kul, and various fish fight under it. To protect the birds of Sun-Kul from various losses and to create full conditions for their reproduction, they were taken into a reserve by the state.


Flora and fauna

The eastern part of the lake is part of the Karatal-Zhapyryk State Reserve. The lake is inhabited by 10 species of fish such as whitefish (Coregonus lavaretus Linnaeus, 1758), broad whitefish (Coregonus nasus Pallas, 1776), peled (Coregonus peled Gmelin, 1789), common marinka (Schizothorax intermedius McClelland & Griffith, 1842), naked osman ( Diptychus dybowskii Kessler, 1874), rare-scaly osman (Diptychus gymnogaster Kessler, 1879), scaly osman (Diptychus maculatus Steindachner, 1866), Severtsov's osman (Diptychus sewerzowi Kessler, 1872), gray charr (Noemacheilus dorsalis Kessler, 17 Noemacheilus stoliczkai Steindachner, 1866).

According to various estimates, from 41 to 69 species of birds live on the lake. 52 species of water birds were also noted. The lake is an important migration point for water birds such as demoiselle crane, mountain goose, black stork and black-headed gull.