Country: Tajikistan, Afghanistan
Best Season: May-October
Group size: Max 15
Tour Features: Over land travel, Culture, History,
Tour Customizable: yes
Note: Itineraries can be changed and adopted to your requirements. For more information please contact us:
Our guide will meet you in the airport and accompany to Dushanbe. The entire day is dedicated to a guided city tour. First of we will visit Rudake Park, National library, White House, National state seal, House of parliament and Jomi theatre. After it we will walk in National park to make photos of Ministry of Inner Affairs and the second biggest National Flag in the world – 165 m high pole, 30 m wide, 60 m long. After excursion in Central Museum you will have lunch. Then you will visit to Gurminj Museum of traditional musical instruments. To feel real life you should visit Asian bazar. It has colorful goods, fruits and vegetables. We will see today the main highlights of Dushanbe and you will find out many interesting facts about Tajik people. Dinner will be in a traditional restaurant where you try Tajik food.
Today we will drive to Kalai Khum village. You will see Norak water reservoir that is called blue Sea. The highest point of the day is Shurabad pass (2 200 m) and after drive along Afghanistan border starts. This part will amaze you by its unique mountains – it is already Territory of Pamir Mountains. Over the centuries, the Pamirs have inspired the world’s greatest explorers – Marco Polo, Hsuan Tsang, Mirza Muhammad Haidar. And now you also have a chance to travel here. You will drive along natural border – Pyanj River. Having visited the Pamirs, many travellers called this giant mountain system the ocean of white and blue mountains. This night you will spend in a home stay to see the way of local people’s life.
In the morning we will drive to Khrorog. It is perhaps one of the tiniest cities on the map of the world. It is surrounded by rocky mountains from all four sides. The town was built on the confluence of the 3 rivers where Shokhdara river and Ghund river flow into Pyanj river. On the way to Khorog you will meet Pamir people. A number of anthropological features set the Pamir people apart from the Tajik people. Among the Pamiris, there is a high percentage of people with blonde hair, fair skin and blue eyes. Pamirs Mountains are the highest mountains in the world with human population after the Himalayas in Tibet. Life in the mountains made traditions of local people different from Tajik people
This morning you will head up to the botanical gardens, high above the city, the gardens are home to a beautiful collection of flowers and fruit trees and give views out over the whole valley and across to Afghanistan. Your tour will also take in the local market and the town museum. The afternoon is free for you to explore the town further, wander in the riverside gardens or relax in one of the cafes by the river.
Leaving Tajikistan this morning we cross into Afghanistan via a bridge over the Panj River. Even after having cleared immigration & customs there will be still be some further red tape to deal with, so patience will be needed but we will at least have the help of our Afghan guide, who will meet us here and the feeling of being in an almost forbidden land is very special.
A rough road built by the Soviets takes us today into the Wakhan Corridor. With the valley barely 20km wide in places, this road is not for the fainthearted and there may be some river crossings to negotiate. The scenery however, is truly magnificent and we will undoubtedly meet many of the local Wakhi people. The women are especially noticeable with their bright red scarves and beaded necklaces. The valley has several basic guesthouses, which will serve as our accommodation over the next few nights. The itinerary has been designed to allow for ample time for walks, village visits, photography and meeting the friendly inhabitants of the valley. While we have a planned itinerary, it should be noted that day to day changes can occur – this is Afghanistan after all! Maximum flexibility may be called upon. Daily driving distances are generally not far, but can take time to the basic nature of the roads.
Continuing east, we follow the southern bank of the river and are treated to views of both Tajik and Afghan mountains throughout the day. We plan to spend our 3rd night in Afghanistan in the regional centre of Khandud. This town divides the lower Wakhan from upper Wakhan and has the largest market in the valley after Ishkashim. Despite this, it is still a very quiet town with limited supplies. It is also home to one of several development projects run by local women. One project encourages women to makes traditional clothing for souvenirs – this is a good place for Afghan hats or thick woolly socks! These projects are still in their infancy, so it will be interesting to see year on year how they are developing.
As we head today into the Upper Wakhan, we cross the Wakhan River just upstream of where it meets the Pamir River to become the Panj. This confluence of rivers also mirrors the interweaving of Pamiri & Wakhi cultures. This afternoon we’ll take a walk and hope to have tea with a local family.
As we head along the northern bank of the river, deeper and higher up the Wakhan, we pass several small villages, all of which are inhabited by families who eke a subsistence living off the land. While the waters of the rivers are typically glacial melt, there are a few hot springs that dot the valley. Today we intend to get clean at the Sargaz hot springs. Finally, we come to the end of the road (literally) in Sarhad e Broghil. From here the mountains close in and anyone wanting to proceed further east needs to be prepared for a major expedition on foot, horse or yak!
We hope to visit a local school this morning where perhaps surprisingly boys and girls can be seen studying together. This is a quintessentially Wakhi village and the locals are incredibly friendly. At the women’s cooperative we plan to learn about the skills required in the making of traditional clothing. There will also be a chance to explore this stunning area on foot before we head west to Goz Khan for the night.
Kala e Panj was the the home of Pir Shah Ismail, the spiritual leader of Wakhan Ismailis. Here we will find the atmospheric ruins of two forts, overlooking the river from a strategic vantage point. It is also home to the regional office of the Wildlife Conservation Society, and if we are lucky we may be able to find someone to talk to us about their efforts to protect the wildlife of the area, especially the endangered snow leopard. There will also be the chance to go for a walk in the Sarkand Valley
Our final full day in Afghanistan sees us return to the border town of Ishkashim. There should be time for some final shopping opportunities before our final dinner in Afghanistan.
Today we will drive along Tajik-Afgan border to Khorog. It is perhaps one of the tiniest cities on the map of the world. It is surrounded by rocky mountains from all four sides. The town was built on the confluence of the 3 rivers where Shokhdarariver and Ghund river flow into Pyanj river. On the way you will visit Garmchashma hot spring.
This morning we’ll continue to Kalai Khimb where we will spend the night. Today’s journey takes us so close to Afghani villages just across the river.
Today we take a full day’s drive through the changing landscape of canyons and farmland to Dushanbe, Tajikistan’s capital city. Having checked into our hotel and freshened up, we will walk into town for dinner.
Transfer to the Airport