Afghanistan and Tajikistan vacation

“A three week cultural and adventure tour, taking in ancient gems such as the Wakhan Valley and the Pamir Highway. Staying in homestays along the way, and traveling in a small group. ”

Highlights

Dushanbe | Wakhan Valley | Tajik Pamir Mountains | Pamir Highway | Kalaikhum | Bartang Valley | Ishkashim | Keshnikhan | Khandud | Goz Khan | Sargaz hot springs | Sarhad e Broghil | Baba Tangi Mountain | Qala e Panj | Ishkashim | Khorog | Yoged

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Check dates, prices & availability

Date
Price
Basis
25 Jul 2018
£ 4895
excluding flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 25 Jul 2018 departure
Vouchers
Accepted

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Afghanistan and Tajikistan vacation

Environment

In order to facilitate an enduring support structure for the communities we visit, and to show a commitment to these values, in January 2009 we set up a charitable foundation through which we can channel funds to both existing NGOs and our own development projects. In addition to organising ethically sensitive tours, having our own charitable foundation allows us to raise money – through the cost of our tours, charity trips and fund raising events – which can then be used to fund various projects in education, sanitation, reforestations and a number of other important issues facing developing communities. Wherever possible we are happy for our clients to visit these projects to see for themselves where and how this money is being spent. This is a very exciting development for us and something we hope in time will become a major part of our organisation.

Our “Leave No Trace” ethic is applied to this trip to Afghanistan and Tajikistan. We have a strict environmental policy to make sure that the fragile eco-structure of the land is not damaged or spoilt in any way. Our guides are trained to uphold this policy and all clients are fully briefed on appropriate/responsible behaviour whilst in wilderness areas.

Trying to do our bit for the environment, in 2005 we were among the first UK-based travel companies to automatically offset every client’s international flight (if booked with us) with a payment to 'Carbon Clear' - an organisation who work with hundreds of organisations to measure their carbon footprint and reduce their carbon emissions, to help promote sustainable energy.

Community

In Afghanistan and Tajikistan we pride ourselves on working directly with as many local hotels, drivers, guides and cooks as possible, thereby putting money directly into the local community.

We also employ jeep drivers on a revolving basis and different ones in each area to ensure that the money we bring in is distributed evenly. With the small local guesthouses and home stays we use, the money goes and stays in these pagan valleys rather than being siphoned out to rich, down-country hoteliers.

We employ local guides, which again places funds directly in the pockets of local families. With our travels we also help support a number of educational trusts.

We are proud to support the Adopt-A-Minefield project, an NGO that saves and improves lives by raising funds to clear landmines and help landmine survivors. With more than 830 square kilometres of land left to clear in Afghanistan, we feel that this organisation makes a huge difference to the quality of life for people in this area. For further details please visit www.landmines.org.uk

2 Reviews of Afghanistan and Tajikistan vacation

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Reviewed on 22 Aug 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Visiting Afghanistan, even just the Wakhan Corridor, was an amazing experience which is hard to explain. Even this part of the country, which receives small amounts of tourism due to its relative safety (it is most easily defended from the Taliban at the entrance to the corridor, and this defence is genuine - 250 Taliban fighters had been killed in a recent skirmish), is completely Afghan, which is obvious in the level of development (virtually non existent) and cultural attitudes (no women visible in the towns unless covered in Burkhas). People are generally extremely friendly and welcoming especially in the countryside but the atmosphere in the small town of Ishkashim on the border was occasionally slightly hostile. However we were welcomed into local homes, invited to a wedding and treated with great kindness and friendliness by the local Waki people who live the simplest lives in a very difficult demanding environment.
The cost of visiting Afghanistan is astronomical considering the quality of the facilities (which if course is all part of the experience and very interesting!). The roads and vehicles are terrible, everywhere is dusty and dirty and accommodation is very variable with multi- shared rooms with minimum access to water and sanitation and little privacy. Food was fine as we had a cook traveling with us who was wonderful, but obviously there is no choice and little variety.

Tajikistan is much better in terms of facilities and cultural attitudes to women and tourists, but the roads are also rough and accommodation mainly basic, with basic food and limited (but slightly better!) hygiene.


2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


This is an amazing trip, and a unique experience. The trip is frequently cancelled so I felt privileged to be able to go. However it is not for the faint hearted! The Tajik part involves a lot of driving, though through amazing scenery. Overall accommodation is rough, dirty and very basic with no running water, and limited cold water for washing. Hygiene standards are poor, though the food was much better than I expected, but all water needs sterilising. Getting visas was complicated and for women, wearing long clothes and scarves all day was hot and uncomfortable.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Absolutely, the vast majority of people welcomed us with open arms and wanted their pictures taken with us. There were plenty of opportunities to buy local products and all the money we spent went directly to the local people we stayed with.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Amazing, it will be very hard to find another trip to beat this one!

Reviewed on 27 Aug 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


I note that it is hard to answer this question because the 20 day duration of this small group tour was experientially rich; but, if I were to identify one or two highlights this would have to be the rebuilding of a road in the Afghan Wakhan Corridor on the return journey to Ishkashim and the impromptu singing and dancing after our evening meal in Goz Khan, Afghanistan.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Anyone interested in joining this small group tour organised by this vacation provider requires an open mind so that participants are able to embrace attitudes and cultures that may be very different to what they are accustomed to. Approaching this Afghanistan and Tajikistan adventure with a spirit of anything could happen will allow for a truly rich and memorable small group travel
adventure.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes, during one part of the trip the group visited a Pamri handicraft outlet in Khorog, Tajikistan; the local office of the Wildlife Conservation Society in Qala ePanj, Afghanistan; a women's handicraft development project in Khandud, Afghanistan and a local elementary school catering for over 200 children in the Wakhan Corridor.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


I have travelled with this vacation provider on several occasions. I comment that the Wakhan Pamir Adventure, Tajikistan and Afghanistan small group tour was the most challenging and culturally rich travel experience I have had to date. I came away from this journey impressed with the generosity and profound life spirit of the local guides, van drivers and inhabitants that I was privileged to encounter during my 20 days in Tajikistan and Afghanistan.

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