Around 22km northwest of the town of Shetpe, this awe-inspiring, 332m-high, 1km-long chalk outcrop that resembles a lion's head looms over the desert. To reach it, you pass through a natural feature dubbed the 'gate of fairy tales' by locals. From Shetpe, a three-hour taxi round-trip from Shetpe bazaar should cost around 6000T, including stops at three other places of interest nearby: ruins of a Silk Road town, an oasis and a shrine.

Near the track turn-off to Sherkala, a 'Kyzylkala Kalashygy' sign leads you to a 1km track to the remnants of Kyzylkala, a 10th-century Silk Road settlement, with fragments of the wall still intact. On the right, on the approach to Sherkala, lies the abandoned necropolis of Shikh Ata with the little-known Temir Abdal Ata cave-shrine behind it. Around 400m north of the 'gate of fairy tales', a 4km track leads into the Karatau hills, where the Samal Canyon offers welcome shade beside a clear stream.