Style: Hiking / Bird watching
Difficulty Level: Easy to Moderate
Location: Shahrinav, Karatag gorge
Driving distance: 82km/51mi from Dushanbe
Tour length: 2 days
1 person – 427$
2 people – 255$ per person
3 people – 220$ per person
4 people – 220$ per person
5 people – 195$ per person
6 people – 178$ per person
Price includes: All meals-2 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 2 dinners | Transportation from and to Dushanbe, including transfer from Garavuti village to Aktau mountains | An English speaking guide | Conservancy rangers services | Camping equipment – tents, utensils, stove etc. | Camera Traps
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
Beautiful mountain views, Bird watching – 50 to 60 species, Traditional Tajik village hospitality, Timurdara lake.
The beloved retreat place for intellectuals during soviet times, Karatag gorge is truly inspiring. Dominated by Hisor mountain range the gorge is rich with vegetation, rivers, and lakes. Many wild fruit trees in the lowlands and juniper meadows in uplands of the gorge give the place unique bird diversity. Thrushes and tits are found year-round, White-capped Redstart, Brown and White-throated Dipper dive in and out of Karatag river, occasionally alongside with a little Forktail and the highlight of the trip may well become a beautiful Wallcreeper. A 5km hike to the famous and picturesque Timurdara lake adds a piece of adventure and makes this trip even more interesting. Once near the lake the Lammergeier, Cinereous and Himalayan vultures will soar above. Depending on the season we stay either at the village for overnight or we can also camp right near the lake during summer or springtime. Join us for this exceptional two days tour to Karatag gorge to enjoy fantastic scenery and seeing your lifer bird.
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 – Hakimi village
Elevation gain: 670m/2200feet
Driving distance: 82km/51mi
Our guide and driver will pick you up from your place in Dushanbe at 8 am. The road to Karatag gorge lies to the west of the country towards the Shahrinav town. At Shahrinav the road turns north to the mountains. To increase our chances of seeing more bird species we will drive through cultivated lands to spot Long-legged Buzzard and will make a couple of stops near the irrigation canals filled with trees and bushes to spot more species. Later we will join the Karatag river and drive along the river to Hakimi village, scanning for stream birds such as White-capped Redstart, Dipper, and Little Forktail. We will reach the village in the afternoon and have lunch in the local house. After lunch and some rest, we will hike to a nearby mountain to get better views of the village and possibly spot more bird species. Night in the village house.
Day 2: Hakimi village – Dushanbe
Elevation range: 1570-2000-900 m/5150-6562-2953 feet
Hiking distance: 10km/6.2mi
Driving distance: 82km/51mi
We start the day early in the morning and hike to Timurdara lake. The trail to the lake goes along the river and turns east to the steep mountain with approximately 250m of local relief. After a moderate hike to the mountain, the trail continues through juniper meadows another 3km with spectacular views of surrounding mountains. Over here Golden Eagle, Cinereous and Himalayan vultures, and Lammergeier soar in the sky. Among other birds that we will see on and around the trees are Mistle and Black-throated Thrushes, Turkestan Tit, Blyth’s Rosefinch, Plain mountain Finch and possibly their predator Eurasian Sparrowhawk. After reaching the lake we will spend some time drinking coffee with delicious cookies. We will walk down to the village in about an hour and a half and drive straight back to Shahrinav. Along the way, we will make a bigger stop to scan rocky mountain slopes for Wallcreeper. We will return to Dushanbe closer to the evening, and those willing to join us can try a traditional Tajik dish called Kurutob with our driver and guide.
- 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