21 Days Wakhan Coridor Tour
Day 1: Kabul to Kunduz
Depart Kabul in the morning heading north past Charikar and ascending the Hindu Kush mountains until finally crossing the Salang pass (3,363 m), the highest tunnel in the world. From there the road winds down past beautiful alpine valleys to Pul-i-Khumri. The road to Kunduz splits off to the right at Pul-i-Khumri, and we will drive past some of the richest agricultural lands of the country, until reaching the charming city of Kunduz, most famous for its multitude of horse-drawn carriages that serve as taxis. We will stay in Kunduz at a local hotel.
Alternate: pick you up in Pu-i-Khumri
Day 2 Kunduz to Faisabad
The drive from Kunduz to Faisabad has changed dramatically over the past few years as this remote road has finally been paved, cutting the driving time in almost half. The route takes us past some of the largest poppy growing areas of the country, past the infamous Masoud-Taliban front line city of Taloqan. The road winds up past the beautiful Keshem valley as we enter Badakhshan province, until finally reaching the boom town of Faisabad. Overnight in a local guest house.
Day 3 Faizabad to Ishkashim
Expat residents of Faisabad consider the road to Ishkashim one of the most dramatic drives in the area. This is not a drive to be taken by the faint-hearted, as the road winds along mountain passes until finally reaching this remote town on the border with Tajikistan. Spend the night in a local hotel.
Day 4 Ishkashim to Sarhad
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, with a Soviet-built paved road still patrolled by Russian troops in this far end of the former Soviet empire. 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.
We will take our yaks and horses and begin our trek into the heart of the Wakkhan 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.
Wildlife in the Pamir mountains, and specifically in the Wakhan Valley is drawn from four biogeograhical subregions: 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 themselves, 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 17 Sarhad to Ihskashim
Day 18 Ishkashim to Faisabad
Day 19 Faisabad to Kunduz
Day 20 Kunduz to Kabul.
Day 21 Fly out to Dubai.