A Tailor-Made Wakhan Corridor Jeep Tour
Note: this is an example of a tailor-made tour that we crafted for our guests. This Wakhan Corridor Jeep Tour can be fully customised – or overhauled – according to your own style of adventure.
Afghanistan’s isolated, mountainous Wakhan Corridor is one of the most enigmatic places in the world. Tucked between Pakistan, China and Tajikistan, it’s a majestic landscape populated by Kyrgyz and Wakhi pastoralists.
Navigate the Wakhan Corridor
This Wakhan Corridor Jeep Tour will start in Dushanbe. From there, you will drive south along the Tajik – Afghan border for three full days.
You’ll cross into Afghanistan at Ishkashim and spend the next six days exploring the area by 4WD and on foot and yak. You’ll try to reach the source of the Amu Darya river in the glacier tongues by Chaqmatin Lake, keeping an eye out for Marco Polo and snow leopards along the way.
On the route you’ll drive between the Pamir and Karakorum Mountain ranges. Via epic, untrammelled wilderness and rushing rivers, you’ll meet fabulously friendly people, stay in delightful homestays, and learn about Tajik, Kyrgyz, Afghan and Persian culture.
Throw in some yurts, thermal springs and ancient petroglyphs, and you’ve got a trip that’s really worth telling the grandkids about.
|DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION||Dushanbe International Airport|
|DEPARTURE TIME||Please ensure you arrive in good time for the expedition to begin, as noted in the itinerary and subsequent information pack we will send to you after booking.|
- Car with driver
- All accommodation
- All meals
- Airport transfers
- Local English-speaking guide
- Entry into local historical/cultural sites
- Filtered water
- Water-to-Go Filter bottle
- International flights to/from Dushanbe – we can book these under out ATOL license, so just let us know if you’d prefer this
- Extra snacks
- Visas and other permits as required (Tajik visa, GBAO permit x2, Afghan Visa)
Led by an Expert Afghanistan Guide
On this Wakhan Corridor Jeep tour, you will be joined by a local, English-speaking guide. Along the way, they’ll be able to tell you about the folklore of this fabled region.
This itinerary starts and ends in Dushanbe. Your transport will be a comfortable Toyota Landcruiser 4WD not some pokey rattle-box that will loosen your fillings.
We will, of course, have a Plan B ready in case of unexpected unrest in Afghanistan. This will mean an exploration of the Tajik Wakhan, Zorkul Nature Reserve and the far south-eastern corner of Tajikistan where the Afghan Little Pamir Range crosses the border, a very remote and barely-visited part of the world.
Where will we be staying?
On this expedition, we’ll be staying in good hotels in Dushanbe and Khorog, guest houses or basic hotels in other towns, and more often in homestays with local people and their families. The homestay concept is widely accepted throughout Tajikistan so these nights are often highly enjoyable glimpses into local customs and lifestyles. We also stay in yurts in a couple of locations on this trip, particularly in Afghanistan where we will spend at least one night in tents too.
We feel that true luxury is getting to know a place and its people, not necessarily measured by the thread count of the bed linen or the number of hotel restaurants. Give us a real experience any day.
What will the weather be like?
A very difficult question to answer when we’ll be travelling in the dozen kilometres-or-so between the third and fourth highest mountain ranges on earth. But, you can expect some hot days lower in the valleys and off the high valleys – temperatures could be in 20-30 degrees range or higher. At altitude, we have experienced every season in the course of a single day – warm sunshine followed by winds and rain, hail or snow on the passes and perhaps down to 0 degrees for a short period of time. In general, the rule of thumb is to expect warm days and cooler nights when we are out of the lowland areas. The winds in the Wakhan can be pretty cold and fierce around sunset particularly, so you’ll need to bring warm clothes and a sleeping bag.
What kit do I need to bring?
We will provide you with an information pack after signing up to this trip, and this will detail any particular equipment we think either necessary or useful.
How much are flights?
This is a moving feast! It depends on where you are travelling from and how you want to get there. From London, the cheapest flights to Dushanbe might be via Moscow. We use Turkish Airlines via Istanbul because they are good, cost-effective connections. Costs are usually around the £550 mark, return. Again, we’ll send you an information pack containing all the information you need when you book your place.
We can book your flights as part of the package, so just holler if you’d rather we did this for you.
What will the food be like?
Varied; the Pamir area is not particularly agriculturally inclined, mostly due to the precipitous nature of the topography, and often poor soils. But many of our homestay hosts pride themselves on making good meals for their guests, so we will be well looked-after. If you are a vegetarian, food can be a little dull (lots of bread, potatoes and eggs with salads) but perfectly acceptable. For meat-eaters, pilaf is the main dish. Usually rice and meat in one dish and often very tasty. Freshly made non (bread) is available almost everywhere and can be delicious. We try to ensure we have some treat foods in the vehicles for picnics. In general we think food is a core part of any cultural experience and there are a good number of local dishes to try on our route.
Will I be affected by altitude?
Altitude can affect different people in different ways. It can also affect the same person in different ways from trip to trip. We will be spending quite a number of days above 3000 metres, and up on the in the high valleys, often above 3500 metres. If you feel that you might suffer from altitude sickness, or have history of it, you should consider discussing this with your doctor prior to booking and travel. Diamox and other similar prescription drugs are available to ease symptoms, but the key way to address any onset of altitude sickness is to descend. Luckily, from anywhere particularly high, descent is possible rapidly thanks to our vehicles. Our route is also planned to gain altitude in the smallest increments possible to aid acclimatisation. Simple precautions and awareness go a long way.
Will I have to share a room?
Yes, at times. There may be hotels and guest houses where we will have separate rooms and wherever possible we will arrange this, but there will also be times where we are staying at homestays or in yurts when there is no option but to share rooms. This is all part of the adventure, and a reason we love to travel here. It makes sense for light sleepers to bring good earplugs and eye-masks, in case of snorers or the host family waking early.
Do you perform proper risk management on your expeditions?
Yes. We are members of TRIP – the Travel Risk and Incident Prevention Group – and perform detailed country risk assessments prior to departure, in line with the ISO 31000 international standard for risk assessment. We also maintain close contact with the relevant Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice for countries we plan to visit, in addition to making use of the Australian Smart Traveller assessment tool, and the US State Department’s OSAC service. Beyond this, we have a full set of risk management and disaster contingency plans for each expedition and are expedition first aid trained by Crux Medical. For final back up we also use the services of Remote Medical Support that allows us to have a UK expedition doctor on the end of a telephone line wherever we may be. And we always carry a satellite phone if there is any danger of being out of signal in the places we travel through. We really don’t mess around when it comes to safety.
Is this really for me?
Although this is an extremely enlivening way to spend two weeks of your life, it’s also potentially dangerous.
Travelling by 4WD is an inherently risky activity and to compound this, you will be travelling in a developing part of the world. Travel insurance will not cover you in Afghanistan, so we will be self-reliant when on Afghan soil.
Not only could you be hurt, maimed or even killed but in the event of an accident it could take hours for the emergency services to reach you.
It will also be physically tiring due to altitude.
Don’t even consider signing up for this adventure if you aren’t fully aware of the risks you are taking.
If you like your holidays to include foie gras, butlers and miles of quilted loo roll then please look elsewhere.
If however, you want a proper, unique and delightful experience that you’ll remember forever, then you are in luck!