Departed hotel carpark stopping for fuel and market. Then received info from Jon and Jude –oh no! there is little point proceeding to Korgalzhin National Park as planned, the rangers are keeping everyone well away from the pink flamingos whilst they are nesting. A quick huddle over maps then farewelled Guy and Cheryl who are going to take advantage of the itinerary change to go further south whilst we continue on to Russia and perhaps catch up with Miles and Marina.
Drove on to, and through, Burabay National Park. Too late to explore so looked for sheltered campsite. Then shame – got bogged in deep black soil mud – first time in 6 months to date! We locked vehicle hubs, lay down sticks and dry grass, and BoyRob drove forward and backward until he made a “track”, GirlRob held mud flap out of way with shovel, and was exceedingly grateful when the tyres grabbed on to the Maxtrax and the mud stopped flying all over her!!
Finally drove onto higher ground in a clearing between birch trees out of sight of road. Cleaned up and cooked, and was just washing up after dinner when a National Park Policeman drove up in old jalopy. He showed ID, we showed our park permit, and after much miming we gathered people can stay overnight in NP but not vehicles, and we should leave. We opened our Pocket Earth app on the iPad and showed we were actually outside borders of Park, had driven outside of barrier gate, and that we had looked at all the places marked with tents inside the Park but they were all barricaded for vehicle entry, and could he please show us on the map how much further we had to go and where to camp for night (even zoomed into Burabay village). He was much impressed with iPad and our precise knowledge of where we were, and in the end he agreed we could stay but had to go in the morning. Phew – we’d had enough excitement already for one day.