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Afghan Wakhan Trekker

Legendary Journey to the famous Wakhan Corridor

16 days, Ishkashem to Wakhan, with trek around the Small Pamir and back

2007 has seen the publication of a new travel guidebook (Lonely Planet), and for the first time in over a quarter of a century, the Wakhan is once again considered safe for travelers. Be among the first to return to this fascinating country, with its high mountains, beautiful and varied landscapes, rich history and hospitable people!

Afghanistan has always been at the crossroads of Asia, conquered and re-conquered through its history. From Alexander the Great to Genghis Khan, from the Mogul Emperor Babur to ?Bukhara? Burnes, they were all here. Marco Polo explored Afghanistan and Rudyard Kipling wrote about it. Many of the world's great religions influenced Afghanistan ? Zoroaster preached his first sermons in Balkh; the Kushans brought Buddhism and built Bamiyan; Mazar-i-Sharif is one of the world's great Muslim shrines. The country is a tapestry of different civilizations, each of which has left its mark in architecture, art, literature and culture.

No one is unaware of Afghanistan's recent history ? the Soviet invasion and withdrawal, the in-fighting between the Mujahadeen and the legacy of the Taliban. To visit Afghanistan is to witness the terrible effects of war on a country.  But it is also to see the resilience of the Afghan people and their desire to rebuild their nation. Visitors to Afghanistan are guaranteed an unforgettable experience.


Route

You will be met at the Ishkashem border and from there you will drive for 2 days to Sarhad.  From there, we leave behind our 4x4 vehicles, and trek with Yaks and horses into the heart of the Wakhan corridor, taking a circle route around the Big Pamir knot, before ending up again in Sarhad.  From there we backtrack to Ishkashem.
This tour can be combined with the Afghan Adventurer trip to Bamiyan and Balkh or Afghan Explorer trip that includes Herat as well.  You can also combine it with trekking in the Fann Mountains (Tajikistan) or with a jeep tour to north Tajikistan/Uzbekistan or along the Pamir Highway to Kyrgyzstan. Please see our other factsheets for details of these routes.
Day 1
Cross the border at Ishkashem and spend the night 45 minutes from border in the Ishkashem AGDN guesthouse.

Day 2

Ishkashem to Qalai Panja We will drive the dirt track which follows the barren Panj river valley as snow-capped mountains tower on both sides of the road.  On the left side of the river is Tajikistan.  A Soviet-built paved road, still patrolled by Russian troops, is located in this far end of the former Soviet empire. 
Day 3

Qalai Panja to Sarhad. On the Afghan side, we make due with a dirt track that must ford various rivers and streams.  The road finally putters out opposite the Broghil pass at the little village of Sarhad, where we will spend the night.
Day 4-13

We will take our yaks and horses and begin our trek into the heart of the Wakhan corridor.  The route takes us into the Wakhan valley, past the Big Pamir and into the valleys surrounded by the Small Pamir, populated mostly by Kyrgyz nomads. We will walk along the length of the valley to Afghanistan?s furthest easterly outpost at the foot of the mountains that form the border with China.  This is the place where the Kirghiz nomads have their summer camping grounds in the Small Pamirs. 
Day 4
Begin trek, cross Daliz Pass
Day 5

Trek to Digarch or Sang Nevishta Day 6
Trek near w base of Uween-e Sar
Day 7

Cross Uween-e Sar, to Ghareen
Day 8

Cross Aqbelis Pass, reach Kyrgyz camp
Day 9
Visit Kyrgyz and/or Bozai Gumbaz
Day 10

Return river route to Langar
Day 11

Trek to Zang Kuk
Day 12

Trek to Borak or Shaur
Day 13

Re-cross Daliz Pass, to Sarhad-e Broghil Day Wildlife in the Pamir mountains, and specifically in the Wakhan Valley, is drawn from four biogeographical sub regions: Mediterranean, Siberian, West Chinese, and Indian.  There is abundant wildlife in the Wakhan Valley, and you will be delighted to see the famous Marco Polo Sheep (Ovis ammon poli) and Siberian Ibex (Capra ibex sibericus).  Although sightings of the elusive Snow Leopard (Uncia uncia) are quite rare, this is one of the few habitats left in the world where you will see evidence of these beautiful felines.  In the region you might also catch a sight of urial sheep (Ovis Orientalis), brown bear (Ursus arctos), the grey wolf (canis lupus), fox (Canis vulpes), and lynx (Lynx lynx). 
The Wakhan corridor was given to Afghanistan as a buffer between the expansionist empires of Czarist Russian and British India as a means to keep a neutral space between them, and is considered one of the remotest and least visited valleys in the world.  It has been the goal of many a Western explorer and traveler, yet few have ever made it to this dramatic and awe-inspiring valley. 
Day 14

Sarhad to Qalai Panja
Day 15

Qalai Panaja to Ishkashem
Day 16

Cross the border at Ishkashem


Security

Great Game Travel puts a strong emphasis on security during out trips.  Travel in Afghanistan, if not done properly, can be risky, and there are areas of the country that are definitely no-go areas.  In order to protect our customers, we have a full-time security officer who has 18 years of experience in security matters in Afghanistan.  He is in constant contact with local power brokers and officials to make sure that we avoid any areas that might be experiencing difficulties.  Further, our drivers and guides have all been trained in security measures as well as first-aid, and defensive driving.  We are careful in choosing only the safest routes and destinations.   If you travel with Great Game you can rest assured that we will take very good care of you.  To note, our Security Officer reserves the right to alter your tour at any moment in order to protect you during your trip. Please note, taking pictures of women is a very sensitive cultural issue, and can cause the local population to react in violent anger.  We ask that you respect the local culture?s sensitivity toward taking pictures of women.  In the past we have had customers disregard our guidelines, and have had serious problems with the local population and local authorities.  Please help us avoid security issues in the future by planning to be circumspect in your picture taking, especially of women.  Our guides have been instructed by our security officer to cancel the remaining part of the trip with no refund for anyone that is endangering their own presence or that of our personnel by their behaviour.


Price Quotation

All of our tours are tailor made, so we will calculate a price for you based on your requirements.
16 day trip, including 9 day trek pricing (from Ishkashem):
2-3 passengers $6350 USD pp 
4-6 passengers $5895 USD pp
7-9 passengers $5495 USD pp

plus 10% tax

This pricing includes: 2 horses or yaks per person, animal tenders, full food and board in tents during the trek, cook, local mountain guide, Dari/English guide and translator, as well as access to our security infrastructure of Thuraya phone, and guidance by our Security Officer in Kabul.  This also includes the rental of our vehicles for the 16 day trip.  It does not include alcoholic drinks, tips/gratuities, or taxes (10%)
Normally we include the following services in our quotation:
  • All documentation and paperwork (visa support, registration, all government taxes and licenses for Afghanistan).
  • Vehicles and drivers.
  • English-speaking guide/interpreter. (Please enquire for languages other than English).
  • Accommodation and full board (including a dedicated cook if required) ? except in large cities (Kabul and Mazar) with a good choice of restaurants, where we usually provide breakfast only.