Afghanistan · August 15 - September 7 2024

24 Day Afghan Wakhan Expedition

Welcome to the remote Wakhan Corridor

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Overview

Join us on an epically amazing 24-day journey through northern Afghanistan’s remote Wakhan Corridor to explore the little-visited Little Pamir Mountains and the surreal Zorkul Lake. Starting from the capital of Dushanbe in neighboring Tajikistan, we will first make our way eastward toward Ishkashim before crossing the border into Afghanistan’s Badakhshan Province. From Afghan Ishkashim, we’ll continue by jeep down the Wakhan Valley Road to Gaz Khan from which we’ll begin our expedition on foot. The goals are to reach both the famed Zorkul Lake and the surreal Chaqmaqtin Lake located in the Little Pamir Mountains, inhabited by Kyrgyz and Wakhi semi-nomadic families.

Highlights

Reaching the Remote Chaqmaqtin Lake

Reaching the Remote Chaqmaqtin Lake

Located in the far reaches of the Wakhan Corridor, experience life around Chaqmaqtin and meet some of the remaining nomadic families that live in this area.

A Unique & Challenging Itinerary

A Unique & Challenging Itinerary

This is one of the only itineraries in the Afghan Wakhan to combine trekking both the Great Pamir, Little Pamir, and to both Zorkul and Chaqmaqtin.

Experience Wakhi Culture & Hospitality

Experience Wakhi Culture & Hospitality

The Wakhi people have been separated by the corridor drawn many years ago, scattering them in Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Their culture is incredibly welcoming and features a unique language related to Persian.

Itinerary

Previous

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Dushanbe to Qala i Khumb

Day 1: Hit the Pamir Highway

We hit the ground running on day 1, having an early breakfast before hitting the road and making way for the famed Pamir Highway. 

Today begins early with a long drive along Tajikistan’s famed Pamir Highway. The route will first take us eastward from the city toward Nurek Reservoir before heading toward the south into the arid Khatlon Province, passing through the cities of Danghara and Kulob where we will make a quick visit to Hulbuk Fortress before heading back east again en route to Shurubod Pass.

On the descent from Shurubod, you’ll get your first glimpses into the wild Badakhshan Province just across the narrow Panj River that forms the natural border between Tajikistan and Afghanistan. From here the highway follows the course of the Panj River to our destination for the night, Qala i Khumb.

After reaching Qala i Khumb in the late afternoon we’ll grab dinner at a nice restaurant that overhangs a small river.

Driving: 8-9 hours
Altitude: 2,200m
Overnight: Guesthouse in Qala i Khumb

Included

Lunch

Dinner

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Qala i Khumb to Ishkashim

Day 2: Into the Tajik Wakhan

Getting yet another early start, we will continue our journey along the Pamir Highway en route to the Tajik Wakhan. Continuing along the Panj River we will eventually arrive in Khorog, the largest city in the Pamir where we’ll take a quick break for lunch and stretch our legs before carrying on to the south to enter the Tajik Wakhan at the city of Ishkashim. 

Driving: 10-12 hours
Altitude: 2,600m
Overnight: Guesthouse in Ishkashim

Included

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

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Ishkashim to Eshkashim

Day 3: Cross into Afghanistan

In the morning we will make the short drive to the Ishkashim Border Crossing. Once we arrive at the bridge we will begin the process of exiting Tajikistan and then will walk across with our luggage to enter Afghanistan.

Once we’ve cleared border formalities we will jump into our new vehicles and continue the short 20-minute ride into Afghan Eshkashim.

Once we arrive in Eshkashim, we will have time to explore the small bazaar area and wander around the village while our organizers collect our permits for our journey into the Wakhan National Park.

Driving: 1 hour
Altitude: 2,600 meters
Overnight: Guesthouse in Eshkashim

Included

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

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Eshkashim to Gaz Khan

Day 4: Journey to the Great Pamir

After breakfast in Eshkashim, we will begin our drive along the Afghan Wakhan Corridor toward the village of Gaz Khan in the Great Pamir near where the Pamir and Wakhan Rivers meet to form the Panj. This route sits along one of the major thoroughfares of the ancient Silk Road with the likes of Marco Polo and Hsuan Tsang passing through this area in the past.

We will eventually break in the village of Khandood to process more paperwork. We plan to arrive in Gaz Khan in the late afternoon or early evening and spend our last night indoors here before beginning the trek.

Driving time: 8-9 hrs
Altitude: 2,900 meters
Overnight: Guesthouse in Gaz Khan

Included

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

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Gaz Khan to Jangle

Day 5: The Afghan Wakhan Trek Begins

After a big breakfast, we’ll load up supplies onto yaks and donkeys and begin our Wakhan Corridor trek toward Zorkul Lake and the Little Pamir. The journey today will take us from the village of Gaz Khan to the shepherd settlement of Jangle.

Trekking: 8-9 hrs
Altitude: 3,250 meters
Overnight: Tent camping in Jangle

Included

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

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Jangle to Shukarga Valley

Day 6: Wakhan Corridor Trek

On the second day of our Wakhan Corridor trek, we will continue further into the Great Pamir, gaining nearly 700 meters in elevation by the time we arrive at the summer pasture in the Valley of Shukarga where we will camp for the night. 

Trekking: 8-9 hours
Altitude: 3,900 meters
Overnight: Tent camping in Shukarga Valley

Included

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

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Shukarga Valley to Munjlaq

Day 7: Wakhan Corridor Trek

Today is our first of many strenuous days along this Wakhan Corridor Trek. Continuing along the Shukarga Valley we will make our way to 4400 meter Shukarga Pass. If the wind allows we will have lunch at the top of the pass before descending to Munjlaq where we will set up camp for the night. 

Trekking: 8-10 hours
Altitude: 4,400 meters
Overnight: Tent camping in Munjlaq

Included

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

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Munjlaq to Julmasert

Day 8: Wakhan Corridor Trek

On the 4th day of the Wakhan Corridor Trek, we will have a gradual uphill walk to the summer pasture of Julmasert.

Trekking: 8-9 hours
Altitude: 4,450 meters
Overnight: Tent camping in Julmasert

Included

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

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Julmasert to Erghnaq

Day 9: Wakhan Corridor Trek

The trek today in the Great Pamir inches us closer to Zorkul Lake, bringing us from Julmasert to Erghnaq. The hike is fairly straightforward with a few rolling hills to cross on the way.

Trekking: 5-7 hours
Altitude: 4,300 meters
Overnight: Tent camping in Erghnaq

Included

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

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Erghnaq to Moolah

Day 10: Wakhan Corridor Trek

Today’s goal is to arrive at the settlement of Moolah from Erghnaq, located not too far from Lake Zorkul.

Trekking: 7-8 hours
Altitude: 4,500 meters
Overnight: Tent camping in Moolah

Included

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

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Moolah to Zorkul

Day 11: Wakhan Corridor Trek

After an early start, we will plan to arrive at the shores of Zorkul in the early afternoon to give us ample time to explore around the lake. Zorkul straddles the Tajik and Afghan border so we’ll have impressive views back into Tajikistan. 

After a sunset dinner on Zorkul’s shores, enjoy epic stargazing before calling it a night.

Trekking: 5-6 hours
Altitude: 4,300m
Overnight: Tent camping at Zorkul

Included

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

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Zorkul to Showr Pass

Day 12: Wakhan Corridor Trek

After a sunrise breakfast at Zorkul, we’ll pack up camp and make our way toward Showr Pass that we will be crossing the next day. The trek gains gradual elevation today before we reach our camp between the 4,400 and 4,500 meter mark.

Trekking: 7-8 hours
Altitude: 4,500 meters
Overnight: Tent camping at the foot of Showr Pass

Included

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

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Showr Pass

Day 13: Wakhan Corridor Trek

With an early start, we’ll make our final push to the top of 4,890 meter Showr Pass, gaining approximately 400 meters in elevation on the way up. After lunch at the top, we will make our descent to camp just on the other side of Showr Pass for the night. 

Trekking: 8-10 hours
Altitude: 4,890 meters
Overnight: Tent camping on the other side of Showr Pass

Included

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

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Showr Pass to Qarabel Pass

Day 14: Wakhan Corridor Trek

Today is a short day bringing us first down and then back up again to camp at the foot of 4,800 meter Qarabel Pass. 

Trekking: 4-5 hours
Altitude: 4,200 meters
Overnight: Tent camping at the foot of Qarabel Pass

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Qarabel Pass to Nauabad

Day 15: Wakhan Corridor Trek

On this 11th day of the Wakhan Corridor Trek, we’ll make our way up to cross Qarabel Pass, gaining nearly 600 meters in elevation on the way to the top. After taking in the panorama from the top, we’ll continue down to the shepherd camp of Nauabad for the night.

Trekking: 8-9 hours
Altitude: 4,800 meters
Overnight: Tent camping in Nauabad

Included

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

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Nauabad to Aqbilis Pass

Day 16: Wakhan Corridor Trek

Today we cross our highest pass of the trek at 4,895 meters. After an early breakfast, we’ll depart Nauabad bound for Ghurumdee Pass to arrive at the top by the early afternoon. 

We’ll descend into a valley from here and continue toward our camp at the foot of Aqbilis Pass.

Trekking: 9-11 hours
Altitude: 4,895 meters
Overnight: Tent camping at the foot of Aqbilis Pass

Included

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

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Aqbilis Pass to Kurchin

Day 17: Wakhan Corridor Trek

Today we cross our final pass of the trek, taking us up and over 4,600 meter Aqbilis Pass. We’ll plan to have lunch at the shores of a beautiful alpine lake up in the pass before descending to the Kyrgyz settlement of Kurchin for the night.

Trekking: 9-10 hours
Altitude: 4,600 meters
Overnight: Tent camping in Kurchin

Included

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

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Kurchin to Chaqmaqtin

Day 18: Wakhan Corridor Trek

From Kurchin we will continue to the gem of the Little Pamir of Chaqmaqtin Lake. The trek will take us past the village of Bozai Gumbez and onto the shores of Chaqmaqtin.

Driving: 8-9 hours
Altitude: 4,100 meters
Overnight: Tent camping at Chaqmaqtin

Included

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

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Chaqmaqtin (Rest Day)

Day 19: Wakhan Corridor Trek

Today we will have the chance to explore the Chaqmaqtin area, meet local Kyrgyz families, and learn about their culture in what feels like one of the most secluded places in the world.

Trekking: Rest day
Altitude: 4,050m
Overnight: Tent camping at Chaqmaqtin

Included

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

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Chaqmaqtin to Qala e Panja

Day 20: Drive to Qala e Panja

After breakfast, we’ll say goodbye to the Little Pamir and depart Chaqmaqtin Lake where our vehicles will be waiting for us. From Chaqmaqtin we’ll make our way to Qala e Panja, the once capital of the Mirdom of Wakhan, which dates back to the Sassanid era. 

Driving: 7-8 hours
Altitude: 2,800 meters
Overnight: Guesthouse in Qala e Panja

Included

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

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Qala e Panja to Eshkashim

Day 21: Back on the Wakhan Corridor Road

We will take today to make the road journey along the Afghan Wakhan back to Eshkashim from Qala e Panja, making scenic stops in villages along the way.

Driving time: 6 hrs
Altitude: 2,800 meters
Overnight: Guesthouse in Eshkashim

Included

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

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Explore Eshkashim

Day 22: Rest Day

Take today to rest and explore the bustling bazaar town of Eshkashim. Today may be used as an extra day in the event of delays on the trek. 

Altitude: 2,600 meters
Overnight: Guesthouse in Eshkashim

Included

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

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Eshkashim to Khorog

Day 23: Back to the Tajik Wakhan

In the morning we’ll say goodbye to our local guide in Afghanistan and make the short drive to the border, crossing back to Tajik Ishkashim before continuing to Khorog.

We will have the afternoon to explore Khorog’s Bazaar, Central Park, and maybe the Botanical Gardens that overlook the Tajik Pamir’s largest city. 

Driving: 4 hours
Altitude: 2,600 meters
Overnight: Guesthouse in Khorog

Included

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

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Khorog to Dushanbe

Day 24: The Final Day

Today begins early with a long drive from Khorog to Dushanbe along the Pamir Highway. 

Driving: 12-14 hours
Altitude: 2,200m
Overnight: Hotel or guesthouse in Dushanbe

Included

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What's included

What's Included

Meals as noted on itinerary

Guesthouses as noted on itinerary

English speaking guide

Visa support documents

Pack animal support

International airfare to and from the endpoints of the expedition

Tajikistan visa & permit fees (if applicable)

Afghanistan visa fee ($90-220 depending on nationality)

Travel insurance

Gear

Personal spending

Tips for local staff

Next Departures

24 Day Afghan Wakhan Expedition

24 Day Afghan Wakhan Expedition

Wakhan Corridor

FROM$4,935.00/pp

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Extras & Options

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FAQs

The security situation in the Afghan Wakhan has remained relatively safe and stable over the past few years. That said, we work with an experienced team that takes the safety of our visitors in the Afghan Wakhan seriously. 

This 24 Day Afghan Wakhan Expedition will begin and end in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. The expedition will start in the early morning of August 15th, and end on the evening of September 7th.

This 24 Day Afghan Wakhan expedition is rated as difficult and rugged. This means that we will be tent camping for the majority of this expedition, sleeping in primitive areas, and will be trekking for long hours at high altitudes. We will have several days without access to showers, so can be a bit uncomfortable for some.


Trekking in the Wakhan is challenging. You can expect long days of trekking, up to 25 kilometers | 15 miles (8-10 hours) at the longest, and as mentioned in the itinerary, we will trek over a number of mountain passes, the highest being at nearly 4,900 meters. We will cross rivers and creeks numerous times. We will have pack animal support for the trek to carry food and tents, but you should still expect to carry a pack with roughly 8-12 kg of weight each day. 

To join any Safar Expeditions departure you will need to carry an active travel insurance plan. Be aware that the Afghan Wakhan's remote nature and limited medical facilities pose very real challenges in the event of medical emergencies and serious illness. Because of this, it is recommended to select an insurance plan that covers both medical care and evacuation. 


We recommend using IATI travel insurance for medical coverage and an evacuation plan from Global Rescue


Prescriptions and even some over-the-counter medications can be difficult to impossible to find in the Afghan Wakhan, so make sure to bring any meds you need or may need with you. 

We will be sleeping in tents while camping on the Wakhan trek. In guesthouses, you can expect the group to be put into large rooms with several beds, some of which may be on the floor. We will have the chance to shower on all nights in Tajikistan and in Eshkashim and Qala e Panja. Otherwise, we will be wild camping, so plan to get dirty in true expedition style as it's quite dusty in these parts. 

While we can provide tents, the gear available in the Afghan Wakhan isn't of the best quality. It is recommended to bring your own tent for the trip for that reason.


You will need to bring your own sleeping bag as they are not provided. There is the possibility to rent one in Tajikistan with advance notice for about $5 per day.

Given the high altitude nature of this trip, you can expect temperatures to be quite cold year-round, even in August when this Wakhan trek will take place. It's not common to have snowfall in the Wakhan this time of year but it's not impossible. Temperatures down to -10°C can be possible at night and as high as 25°C at lower altitudes in the daytime. In Tajikistan, it will still be boiling hot.

This trip will largely take place at high altitudes. The elevations on the trek between Gaz Khan up to Zorkul, over to Chaqmaqtin and back will range from 3,300 meters | 10,825 feet at the lowest and 4,900 meters | 16,080 feet at the highest. We will take precautions to prevent altitude sickness, but it can still happen. If you live in an area where you have access to higher altitudes, it would be a good idea to spend a bit of time trekking around in them to get ready. Another precaution to consider is to get Diamox before you leave home, with advance notice we can acquire the medication in Dushanbe.

Nearly all nationalities require an Afghan visa to enter Afghanistan. The process of obtaining an Afghan visa is ever-changing, especially with the change of power back in 2021. Visa support documents, such as a letter of invitation and assistance in the application process for the visa will be provided.

Officially the Afghani (AFS) is the currency used in Afghanistan. Note that the Afghani is no stranger to fluctuations. The Afghani can vary between 65-85 AFS to the US dollar. In Tajikistan, the currency used is the Tajik Somoni (TJS) which fluctuates around 10-12 TJS to $1 USD.


There are simple money exchange offices in Eshakshim where money can be exchanged for Afghani. US dollars seem to net the best rates and bills must be new and crisp without any markings, folds, tears, etc. You may want to exchange a small amount into Afghanis on arrival for smaller purchases. 


Credit cards are not accepted anywhere in the Afghan Wakhan. 

Yes, we do provide a suggested packing list and preparation guide for our Afghan Wakhan expeditions that can be viewed here

While the Wakhan Corridor is not as conservative as the remainder of Afghanistan it is still a conservative society. Being fully covered for both men and women is important (long sleeves, full-length trousers/trekking pants). While not 100% required at all times it is best for women to wear a head covering in areas where we will encounter people (think villages and settlements). Much of this trip takes place at high altitudes and given the time of year (August) temperatures can be quite cool, so covering and layering will be more comfortable anyway.


In Tajikistan, there are no special dressing requirements but erring on the more modest side is best.

The cuisine in the Afghan Wakhan is simple. You can expect to see rice and noodle dishes, a decent amount of root vegetables (such as potatoes and carrots), bread, and of course chai. 


Please let us know of any dietary restrictions or allergies in advance so that we can accommodate your needs. 

It is possible to purchase a SIM card in Eshkashim after we arrive in Afghanistan but know that internet speeds are quite slow. 


Given the remote nature of this trip, don't expect to be online much at all. Mobile phone coverage is extremely limited and not the most reliable in the Afghan Wakhan. If you want to keep in contact with those back home, I highly recommend bringing an Inreach Explorer+ with you.


Once we begin the trek we will not have access to regular electricity. I highly recommend purchasing a solar charger and external batteries to bring with you to keep your electronics charged out here. 

Yes, a minimum of 3 passengers will need to be on this expedition in order to run. If the minimum isn't reached, we will contact you about the potential to still operate the trip but at an additional charge or you will be given the option to cancel and your deposit/payment can either be returned to you or applied toward a different expedition of your choosing.

Reviews

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"My incredible journey through Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor arranged by Nicole in 2022 was an extraordinary experience. Nicole's meticulous planning ensured a relatively seamless trip, as best as can be in such a wild country, allowing us to appreciate the breathtaking landscapes and engage with the rich local culture. Despite the geopolitical context, the trip felt safe, thanks to Nicole's secure contacts in the region. From the stunning Pamir Mountains to the welcoming Wakhi people, every moment was memorable, making it a unique and unforgettable adventure. Getting off the beaten path like this might take a certain crazy personality but having the experience of Nicole makes it seem easy."

Jeremy

24 Day Afghan Wakhan Expedition

Afghanistan · August 15 - September 7 2024 · 23 nights

FROM$4,935.00/pp

BOOK NOW