Kazakhstan is home to some of the largest relatively intact grassland ecosystems on the planet. It’s a country of superlatives, where any trip on land is a long journey across a mostly flat steppe landscape. With intensive agriculture programs during the USSR era a large part of the natural steppe has turned to a dry semi-desert. Even so, what local and international organizations have succeeded in protecting represents a system of reserves pretty much the size of France. Heading south across these vast, flat steppe areas you eventually reach a massive wall of mountains which are among the tallest in Asia, at the border with Kirghizistan. Kazakhstan is also a melting pot, located along the ancient Silk Road, where people of many ethnicities and cultural backgrounds have mingled. This country was the most exotic and remote we visited, mostly because it represented a big unknown and because neither one of us spoke Russian or Kazakh. It also turned out to be one of the most special experiences precisely because we didn’t know what to expect. The week spent off road in the Altyn Dala Reserve looking for saiga antelopes was a true gift.