Style: Hiking / Wildlife watching
Difficulty Level: Easy to Moderate
Location: Darvoz & Shurobod region
Driving distance: 600 km / 373mi
Tour length: 3 days
1 person – 817$
2 people – 497$ per person
3 people – 395$ per person
4 people – 395$ per person
5 people – 381$ per person
6 people – 348$ per person
Price includes: All meals-2 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 2 dinners | Transportation from and to Dushanbe with 4WD vehicles | An English speaking guide | Conservancy rangers services | Camping equipment – tents, utensils, stove etc. | Binoculars and Watching scopes
WHY IS IT BETTER TO BOOK WITH ANCOT?
- All the tours listed here have been developed exclusively by ANCOT
- Tours listed are built upon many years of experience in wildlife conservation and management
- The pricing policy is established on the priority conservation needs and long-term sustainability of tourism
- If you are looking for a wildlife tour in Tajikistan, book it with professionals, from whom you can learn so much, what you will probably never learn and experience by booking with regular commercial tour operators
- You may find similar wildlife tours with cheaper prices. However, you will not benefit wildlife conservation by using a cheaper way
Spotting and observing endangered Markhor goats, Bird watching, Spectacular views of Hazratishoh mountains, Traditional Tajik village hospitality.
The Markhor is the largest species of goat family and is famous for its stunning twisting horns. Markhor is usually found in mountainous parts of Central Asia. Markhor habitat consists of dry mountains with cliffs. They graze in areas with sparse forest and many wooded shrubs. We offer3 days Markhor watching and photography in the Shurobod region with departure from Dushanbe. The best time to see Markhor goats is in winter and early spring. You will also be able to see other wildlife on this tour like wild Boars, Ibex, and many birds. Our guides have vast experience in observing and studying Markhor and other wildlife. They will make sure you have fun, take lots of pictures, observe different age groups, and experience the culture and hospitality of conservancy families. We offer Markhor tours all year round. In the summer, however, they are more difficult to reach, as they tend to go up to an altitude of above 2500-3500 m (8200-11,482 feet), hence the tour should be prolonged. The remainder of the season, they are easier to spot. Equipment like binoculars and watching scopes is provided on this tour.
Association of Nature Conservation Organizations of Tajikistan (ANCOT) supports the conservation of wildlife in areas managed by people from the local communities. These organizations – being it local NGOs or small family businesses – are rooted in the local communities and aim at providing benefits to the whole populations of the areas where they are active. Through the revenues generated from tourism, we motivate these local communities to protect their natural recourses and wildlife. Thus participating in this tour you are contributing to the conservation of endangered wildlife species and their habitats in Tajikistan.
Day 1: Dushanbe – Anjirob
Elevation range: 900-1920-900m/2952-6299-2950feet
Driving distance: 245km/152mi
We start off from Dushanbe early in the morning and drive to the Shamsidini Shohin region in Shurobod. You will need to get your GBAO permits in advance as we will cross a checkpoint where you will be asked for a permit. Our drive will take about 5 hours with multiple rests and bird spotting stops mainly in Norak reservoir area and Agricultural fields in Dangara. After passing Shurobod checkpoint on the way down to Anjirob village we will make a bigger spotting stop at a place called zamok or castle in English. Zamok is an observation point of Saidi Tagnob conservancy from where rangers monitor the wildlife and human activities in their territory. Here we will be searching for Markhor goats. Later we will drive to Anjirob village where a hearty lunch will be waiting for us in the house of a local family. After lunch we will drive to Chusk mountains from where we will hike downhill to the Panj river. Here we might see Markhor goats from a closer distance. Our car will be awaiting us at the end of the trail and will take us back to the village. Overnight in the village of guesthouse.
Day 2: Anjirob to Kisht
Elevation range: 900-2100m/2952-6890feet
Hiking distance: 9-14,5km/6-9mi
Driving distance: 16km/10mi
Having breakfast early in the morning we will drive to Kisht conservancy today. It is yet another conservancy managed by a local family of traditional hunters established more recently in 2016. And since then rangers of the conservancy have worked tirelessly providing annual wildlife monitoring and wildlife management in their territory which resulted in tremendous success in population rise of Markhor goats in their territory. Here we will hike the Kisht valley along the Khudkham river and through the canyons. We will hike 9km to the rangers hut. From the hut, there will be several other hiking options to see the markhor, one of which is a more strenuous uphill hike to the Sakha viewpoint on top of the mountain. The hike is rewarded with almost 100% chance of seeing the markhor goats and exceptionally beautiful eroded mountain formations of lower Hazratishoh mountain range. Tonight we will stay either at Sakha or in the first hut. Night in tents.
Day 3: Kisht to Dushanbe
Driving distance: 261km/162mi
Depending on where we stayed last night we will either hike to the observation point or just watch the Markhor goats from the Sakha viewpoint if we stayed at the upper hut. The best time to observe the incredible mammals is in the morning when they usually come down on the slopes of the mountains in search of forage. We then hike back to Kisht village and have lunch in our host’s house. After lunch we drive back to Dushanbe. The drive to Dushanbe will take approximately 5 -6 hours, depending on the number of stops we will be doing en route.
- All meals
- Professional and knowledgeable guides will lead the tour.
- Transportation from and to Dushanbe, including transfers from and to the airport
- Conservancy rangers services
- Camping equipment – tents, utensils, stove, etc.
- Other equipment such as camera traps, watching scopes, etc. if outlined in the itinerary
- All accommodation – Hotels, Guesthouses, and homestays
Meals: What To Expect
During the hikes: Most of our hikes include a variety of meals to nourish our bodies with enough carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. We usually have pasta, rice, sausages, cheese, oatmeal, canned lentils and beans, sugar, and bread. We also carry fresh vegetables and can easily accommodate vegetarians.
Additionally, we have snacks such as dried fruits, fresh fruits, chocolate bars, and each break will include hot coffee and tea. We can accommodate people with special dietary needs.
In guesthouses, home-stays, and restaurants (Tajik cuisine):
Tajik cuisine offers a large variety of fruit, meat, and soup dishes. The most popular among them are dishes such as Oshi palov, Kurutob, Shurbo, Laghmon and snacks like Sambusa and Mantu. The national drink is green tea, respectively. Traditional Tajik meal begins with small dishes of dried fruits, jams, and halva, followed by soup and meat, and finished with plov. Tea accompanies every meal and is often served between meals. Besides traditional dishes, most restaurants serve Russian borsh and popular Shashlyks.
Shurbo: boiled meat on the bone with chickpeas, red and green peppers, potatoes, carrots, and onions.
Laghmon: the same with homemade noodles
Oshi Palov: a rice dish made with shredded yellow turnip or carrot and pieces of meat, all fried together in vegetable oil or mutton fat.
Shashlyks: chunks or minced meat on a skewer cooked over an open fire. Vegetarian versions are often available.
What’s Not Included?
- Clothes, raingear, and footwear
- Any other expenses of a personal nature
- Tips (Always optional)
What Gear To Bring
- Personal soap/shampoo
- Personal medicines (especially against diarrhea, altitude sickness, and car sickness), most of the passes on the road are above 3500m
- High protection Sun-screen
- Sun hat
- Strong hiking shoes
- Plastic bottle for water and water purification tablets, if you intend to hike in remote areas
- Camera (Including spare batteries. You won’t believe how many pictures you will be taking and if you don’t have a proper camera you’d wish you had one)
- Trekking poles, if there is trekking involved
- Gifts (People in most of the villages in Tajikistan are among the poorest in the world, however, they will share their last crust with you to offer hospitality. Therefore it will be nice of you to bring gifts like toys and books for the children, winter clothes or cosmetics and chocolates for women and man)
What Clothes To Bring
We will email you what kind of gear to bring depending on the season. Summers are usually warm in central Tajikistan; however, if you are going up to higher altitudes (above 2500m/8200ft) you will need warmer clothing, including a sweater and windproof jacket
Due to its mountainous nature, geographical remoteness, and deteriorated roads, traveling in most parts of Tajikistan involves a lot of driving, especially to the Pamir region. We use services of experienced drivers, who have been driving at least 5 years on such road conditions. In most cases, we use 4wheel drive SUV like the Nissan Patrol and Toyota Land Cruisers. For bigger groups, we may use 4WD Vans. We’ve found that how you get there significantly influences the tone of your journey, and therefore we always make sure that your ride is comfortable with reliable transportation.
Your safety is our top priority. Only trained guides and experienced rangers will accompany you during your hike. All of our rangers and guides are local from the nearby villages, of the respective conservancy. All guides are trained to offer first aid and always carry the necessary first aid kit.
Click on this link to read answers to frequently asked questions