Grand canyons and waterfall-fed valleys; meadows ablaze with countless wildflowers and crystalline lakes home to migrating birds; butterflies flashing over peaceful glades and vast steppe rising to a grand parade of looming peaks and glaciers – Aksu-Dzhabagly has the lot...so where is everyone? The overall impression one gets when exploring Central Asia’s oldest reserve is of splendid, serene isolation, like exploring the Alps denuded of people. In Aksu, you’re more likely to see wildlife than walkers – bears and ibex make their home among flinty outcrops and juniper forests, golden eagles wheel overhead, while snow leopards and lynx patrol the high slopes. Perhaps the area’s most famous resident, however, is not animal but plant. In Spring, the green and gold meadows and valleys turn a fiery red with the bloom of countless Greig’s tulips. A dazzling display, but Aksu rewards discovery throughout the year – whatever the month, the diversity and beauty remains undimmed.