As a result of its tumultuous history, Afghanistan has until now been considered off-limits to travellers. This tour takes us on a challenging expedition through the desolate Wakhan Corridor in Afghanistan’s North-East, a peaceful part of the country isolated from the rest. Populated by nomads and isolated communities, this is about as remote as Central Asia gets.
Our entry point is Tajikistan, where we begin by exploring the capital, Dushanbe, and its long-abandoned Silk Road fortress. From here we set out on a thrilling drive through the colossal Pamir Mountain range, with its dramatic peaks, stopping to visit hot springs and secluded hillside villages on our way.
After a few days driving along the Pamir Highway, we cross the border into Afghanistan where you’ll immediately notice a change in the way of life. Here cars are replaced by donkeys and electricity exchanged for candlelight. We spend the next ten days discovering the jagged mountains and sweeping valleys of the Wakhan Corridor by 4WD and on foot.
Along the mighty river Panj you will meet the Wakhi and semi-nomadic Kyrgyz people – two of the most remote communities on Earth. With virtually no influence from the modern world, age-old customs remain intact, as much of daily life revolves around the family hearth and the sound of traditional folksong can be heard on the pasture.
Driving slowly up the valley from village to village, we are welcomed as guests and stay in traditional mud-brick homes, experiencing the generous hospitality for which the Wakhi are known, which usually involves a cup or two of salty yak butter tea – an acquired taste!
On our return we take you to crumbling hillside forts, colourful bazaars, and, if you’re lucky, you may be able to witness a game of the bizarre Buzkashi – Afghanistan’s national sport. Arriving back in Dushanbe, where our tour ends, we have an opportunity to catch our breath and reflect upon our incredible journey.
Journeying through one of the world’s most inaccessible places is by no means easy, but the rewards are immense. This is a trip for those that like their travel raw, remote and authentic.