Style: Hiking/camping/wildlife watching
Location: Darshai, Ishkashim
Distance: 74km / 50 mi
Length: 6 nights of stay and 5 days of activities
backpacking option; without a donkey and a cook
$364 for a single traveler
$222 per person for two travelers
Advanced service option, with donkeys and cook:
1 person: $667 per person
2 people: $450 per person
3 people: $347 per person
4 people: $321 per person
5 people: $303 per person
6 people: $289 per person
Wildlife watching, particularly Siberian Ibex, Marmots, Talai Hares, Foxes and Wolves as well as many species of Birds. Viewing the Peak Mayakovskiy (6096m /20000 feet) from it’s foot, endless glaciers around the peak and glacial lake, an ancient awring-mountain trail on the path.
Hat, good hiking shoes, sunglasses, sun cream, down jacket or warm pullover, backpack and water bottles, and trekking poles.
Darshaidara offers top hiking and wilderness experience in the Ishkashim region with its alpine meadows and lakes, abundant wildlife, endless glaciers, glacial lakes, and panoramic views of Afghanistan’s Hindu-Kush Mountains! This trip takes us around the high plateau area near the peak, displaying views of wildflowers and pristine mountain scenery at nearly every corner. The trail is well maintained and at times can be steep and our guides are there to help you. There will be several small stream crossing along the hike. We have two camping spots regularly maintained along the trail where you will be camping. The Village of Darshai has a long history, as it is located in the historic trade route between India, Pakistan and Central Asia. This hike is challenging and consists of 5 days hiking with nice rest stops and wildlife spotting. We always take our time and go with the pace of the group.
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.
Elevation gain: 668m / 2191feet
Distance: 15km / 9.3 mi
On the first day, we will start hiking from the village of Darshai toward Darshaidara valley and stay on this route for a remaining of the day. It will be a long hike uphill battle, at a time some exposure, and during such hard times it is always good to remember why you are doing this trip J. We will be mostly hiking along the river and among the stunning towers of the Rocky slopes on both sides. We will have lunch along the river and multiple rest stops. At the end of the day, we will reach the first camping area and settle down for the night in tents. While you enjoy your tea or coffee we will prepare you a dinner. We enjoy the evening with a campfire and watching the Milky Way galaxy.
Elevation gain: 581m / 1906feet
Distance: 12km / 7.4mi
On the second day, we will enjoy our hearty breakfast before we make our way to the glacier zone. Our hike will be less challenging than the first day. The hike will be again next to a fresh flowing stream and we would have to cross the stream few times. We will have lunch and multiple rest stops for snacks and look out for flocks of Ibex. If we are lucky we would be able to spot some Ibex either early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Glacier zone is a very nice area, a perfect spot of flat plateau created by old glacial movements. We will settle down for the night in this area to avoid any altitude sickness. We pitch our tents at the altitude of 3991m. We will have a nice dinner in order to make up for all the loss of calories and also to prepare for the next day.
Elevation gain and loss roughly: ± 416m / 1364feet
Distance: 20km / 12mi
On the third day, we will start the day early. After having breakfast, we will only take small day bags and make our way towards the Peak Mayakovskiy. This is where we will see most pristine environment; valleys full of wildflowers, glaciers hanging from the peaks and turquoise glacial lakes. We will walk as far as we can to have a close view of the peak Mayakovskiy. This area will be also good for wildlife watching especially Ibex and birds. After having seen all the extreme natural beauty we will slowly make our way back to the camp and stay for the night.
Elevation loss: 581m/ 1906feet
Distance: 12km / 7.4 mi
On the fourth day, we will have breakfast and start packing up all the camping equipment and slowly will make our way towards the village of Darshai. From here all the trip will be downhill and of course with a different view. If the weather is not cloudy we can certainly see the Hindu-Kush mountain range of Afghanistan. With our binoculars, you can have a decent look into Afghan villages. After a decent day of hiking, we will settle down at the same spot as our first day for the night. We will have tea, dinner and a campfire to enjoy the evening.
Elevation loss: 668m / 2191feet
Distance: 15km / 9.3 mi
It is our last day of the hike; after having breakfast we will head down to Darshai village. It will be a long hike but easy one until we reach the hills with some exposure. We will cross this point together and earlier in the afternoon we should be back at the Darshai village. In Darshai we will have tea and some relaxing time. Our homestay family will be preparing a dinner and after the dinner hikers are free to enjoy their evening.
• Meals. From the time of meeting at the conservancy till your departure
• Local English speaking guides and rangers
• Cooking utensils and dishes during the trek
• A tent for camping
• Animal porters – donkeys/horses
• Accommodation – 2 nights in the village homestay
Meals: What To Expect
Most of our hikes include a variety of meals to nourish our bodies with enough carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Guides and rangers usually prepare pasta, rice, different soups, beans, and, etc. They also carry fresh vegetables and can easily accommodate vegetarians.
Additionally, they have snacks such as dried fruits; fresh fruits, chocolate bars and each break will include hot coffee and tea.
What’s Not Included?
• Clothes, raingear, and footwear
• Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
• Water bottles and a headlamp or flashlight
What Gear To Bring
• Water bottles
• Headlamp or flashlight
• Warm clothing
• Hiking poles
What Clothes To Bring
Depending on the season we will email you what kind of gear you should bring. Summers are usually warm in the towns and villages in Tajikistan; however, if you are going up to higher altitude above 2500m / 8200 feet you will need to have a warm sweater and windproof jacket.
Where to meet us?
The tours listed under the conservancy tours category are designed for travelers who are arranging most of their travels by themselves throughout their journey in Tajikistan, this may be travelers who are already in Tajikistan, expats or visitors who are traveling with their own cars. You can book these conservancy tours as an additional detour while visiting Tajikistan. The meeting point of conservancy tours is the starting point of the respective tour which is usually a village. You will get to the starting point – a respective village by yourself. Let us know if you need help with transportation.
Please refer to a map section of the tour information for directions to the starting point of the tour. If you are traveling with your own car, we can send you detailed guidance on how to get to the starting point of the tour. Once in the conservancy, local guides and rangers will take care of the rest.
Most of our conservancies have camps within their territories which are used for overnight by rangers and tourists. If the trip includes camping, conservancies will provide tents only. If you don’t have sleeping bags and mattresses, you should tell us and book additionally, so we could deliver them to the conservancy before your tour starts. Other equipment, like primus for cooking, and utensils will be provided by the respective conservancy in the tour.
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 locals from the nearby villages, of the respective conservancy. All guides are trained to offer first aid and always carry the necessary first aid kit.