Jeep safaris and then there is the Karakoram Hindukush Jeep Safari! Perhaps, the
following is one of the finest itineraries offered anywhere on this planet for
a Jeep safari.
See Photos of a recent
Karakoram Hindukush Jeep Safari.
We begin our journey in Islamabad and proceed
to the beautiful alpine lush green Kaghan valley. This valley rivals any in the
American Rockies and the European Alps. From here we drive over the Babusar Pass
and enter another realm of the Indus gorge.
This is where the monsoons
are unable to unleash their torrents as they have exhausted all of their moisture
in valleys like the Kaghan. The monsoon clouds have a difficult time going over
the Himalayas on their northward journey. From the hot and dusty Indus valley
we drive towards the base of the ninth highest mountain in the world; Nanga Parbat.
Here we visit the beautiful Rama Lake.
The next part of our journey takes
us over the high Deosai plains and into the Skardu valley; the gateway to the
Karakoram giants. From Skardu we drive along the Indus Highway towards Hunza.
Some say that the journey on the Indus Highway is much more spectacular than even
the legendary KKH.
From Hunza we make an excursion to touch China at the
highest paved road border crossing in the world. This is Khunjerab Pass and is
located at a height of 4833 m. From Hunza we travel westwards to the Hindukush
mountains, home of the Kafir Kalash. These pagan tribes claim descent from Alexander
Chitral town is the capital of the Hindukush mountain region
and is crowned by the 7708 m. Tirichmir. From Chitral we make our way back to
Islamabad via Swat and Peshawar. This gives us an ample opportunity to witness
tribal Pathan culture. We are also able to observe historical sites such as ChurchillÍs
picket and ancient Buddhist carvings.
During this overland Jeep safari
we traverse the western Himalaya, Karakoram and the Hindukush mountain ranges.
We also have fantastic views of Nanga Parbat (8125 m.), Rakaposhi (7788 m.), Diran
(7273 m.), Golden Peak (7027 m.) and Ultar (7388 m.).
briefing. We will have ample time for sightseeing and shopping in colorful old
bazaars of Rawalpindi and new markets of Islamabad. We may also drive to the huge
modern Faisal Mosque in Islamabad.
Shogran (2,362 m. 7,750 ft.)
We drive through Taxila and enter the foothills of the Himalayas near Abbottabad.
The lush green terraced fields are a beautiful sight. Here we enter an alpine
environment; not unlike Switzerland and The Rockies. From Abbottabad we drive
to Balakot and enter the famous Kaghan Valley of stunning alpine forests, deep
blue high altitude lakes, lush green meadows and distant snowy peaks with the
ever present frothing and gushing Kunhar River right next to the road. It will
take about 6 to 7 hours of driving from Islamabad to reach heavenly Shogran.
3, Naran (2,440 m. 8,000 ft.)
This is a 2 hour drive into the heart of the Kaghan valley. Naran is the capital
of the scenic Kaghan valley and has one of the best trout fishing in Pakistan.
You can go on a side excursion to the legendary Saiful Muluk Lake (3,215 m.) for
Day 4, Naran (2,440 m. 8,000 ft.)
rest. Today we can just take it easy and perhaps do some fishing in this beautiful
Day 5, Chilas (1,000 m. 3280
Hotel, drive. This is a long day’s
drive as we drive up to the Babusar Pass (4,529 m.) and descend into the hot,
dusty and dry Indus Gorge. At the pass we try to climb an easy short slope towards
our left for unbelievable views of the great Nanga Parbat (8,125 m.) and the high
Karakoram peaks beyond. We will cherish this sight for a long time! This drive
may take more than 8 hours. At Chilas we meet up with the Karakoram Highway (KKH).
6, Astore (2,345 m. 7,690 ft.)
drive. It takes about 3 to 4 hours to drive from Chilas and under Nanga Parbat
as we enter Astore village. On the way the views of the 8,125 metres Nanga Parbat
from an altitude of only 1,000 metres is breathtaking; it is the largest land
escarpment in the world.
Day 7, Deosai
Plateau (4,000 m. 13,120 ft.)
It takes about 14 hours to drive from Astore to Skardu. We will have to break
our journey on the way at a wayside tent shelter put up by the local people. These
shelters are equipped with beds and tents. Deosai plateau is a wildlife refuge
and home to many animals such as the Himalayan Brown Bear. It is truly a fascinating
place. Our staff will make sure that you are well provided for at this rugged
stop. Note: However, we will try our best to do the drive in a single day.
They key is to leave very early in the morning from Astore. If we are able to
do this then we can have one more day in Satpara or Skardu.
8, Satpara Lake (3,100 m. 10,170 ft.)
house, drive. Just before Skardu we will stop at this beautiful lake and have
another chance to do some trout fishing.
9, Skardu (2,500 m. 8,200 ft.)
Today we will take some well needed rest in the capital of Baltistan; the gateway
to the highest peaks of the Karakoram. It takes only about 30 minutes to drive
from Satpara Lake to Skardu town. If we are lucky there might be a polo game going
on in the town!
Day 10, Skardu (2,500 m.
Hotel, drive. Today we will drive
to the beautiful side Shiger valley near Skardu. This is a good chance to see
the old Balti culture still flourishing in such remote valleys. We will return
the same day to Skardu.
Day 11, Karimabad
(2,440 m. 8,000 ft.)
Hotel, drive. It will
take about 8 hours driving time; first along side the mighty Indus on the Indus
Highway and then on the KKH next to the Hunza River to reach Karimabad the capital
of Hunza. If there is heaven on Earth, then this must be it! The drive is guaranteed
to knock your socks off!! The views of Rakaposhi, Haramosh, Nanga Parbat, Ultar
and on and on, are incomparable and unforgettable.
12, Karimabad (2,440 m. 8,000 ft.)
rest. Today is open as a rest day. One can just sip tea endlessly in the lovely
flower strewn garden of your hotel and stare at Rakaposhi and Ultar and the terraced
valley; and one will not get bored. Or one can make side visits to other valleys
Day 13, Karimabad (2,440 m.
Hotel, drive. Today we will drive
to the legendary Khunjerab Pass (4,833 m.) and touch China! Here, at the pass,
we will be in the Pamir Mountain Range. So, up till now we have traversed, the
Himalaya, the Karakoram and the Pamir mountain ranges. We will return back to
Karimabad. This trip will take the whole day on the KKH.
14, Phander Lake (2,800 m. 9,200 ft.)
house, drive. We are now on our journey to the Hindukush mountain range and Chitral.
We enter the Ghizer valley after leaving the town of Gilgit behind us. This will
take more than 8 hours of driving from Karimabad to Phander.
15, Mastuj (2,000 m. 6,560 ft.)
Leaving early morning we proceed to the Shandur Pass (3,734 m.). Here we will
leave the Northern Areas behind and enter the Chitral valley in the North West
Frontier Province of Pakistan. We are now in the Hindukush mountain range. The
drive takes about 6 hours.
Day 16, Chitral
Town (1,600 m. 5,248 ft.)
We descend the Chitral valley and arrive in the capital of this mountain region
after about 8 hours of driving. On the way we have tremendous views of Tirich
Mir (7,708 m.), the highest peak of the Hindukush range and the Buni Zom group
in the Hinduraj range.
Day 17, Chitral Town
(1,600 m. 5,248 ft.)
Hotel, drive. Today
we will visit one of the famous Kalash valleys. It is a unique experience to be
with these pagan tribes and their ancient culture even in the third millennium!
We will return to Chitral for overnight stay.
18, Saidu Sharif (1,000 m. 3,280)
drive. Leaving Chitral valley we ascend the Lowari Pass (3,118 m.) with its many
hairpin road bends. We descend the pass to enter Dir valley and proceed onwards
to Swat. On the way we cross Churchill’s Picket. From here the young Churchill
dispatched reports to England describing the Pathan uprising. Swat is filled with
Buddhist history. It takes about 8 hours from Chitral town to Saidu Sharif in
Day 19, Peshawar
drive. From Swat we cross the low Malakand pass and leave the mountains behind
to enter Mardan. The drive to Peshawar, capital of NWFP takes about 4 to 5 hours.
While in the ancient city of Peshawar, we can visit the Kissa Khawani bazaar (the
bazaar of story tellers) and roam the streets of this fascinating old tribal city.
Hotel, drive. In
three to four hours of driving we are back in the capital of Pakistan. On the
way we cross the River Indus at Attock. This is near where Alexander the Great
crossed this mighty river also on his way to conquer this part of India.
Hotel. This is
an extra day kept for shopping and sightseeing. This day will also be used in
case of any delays due to weather and adverse route conditions on our trip.
is a tentative itinerary. For the enjoyment of your trip a ‘go with the flow’
attitude is necessary. Many factors will influence your trip, such as weather
conditions, health, route conditions, etc. Please do not take this itinerary