Tajikistan – Dushanbe to the Bartang Valley

At the famous Iskanderkul Lake we had just a very short stop, not even pictures exist from this part. Not because it was not nice, rather because it was raining cats and dogs. So we decided to head towards Dushanbe already earlier, in the end even a wise decision. Originally we just wanted to pick up new Diesel and oil filters from Toyota in Dushanbe, just to have them on stock for the coming parts of the trip. However the guys were so friendly and helpful in arranging to get our awning fixed, as one part was broken. Simply amazing, especially if I imagine to visit Toyota in Munich and ask them if they can fix my awning. 🙂

So well spent time in Dushanbe, even though it took longer than planned, but now we have everything fixed again and all spare parts on stock, ready to hit the road again. 

And “hit the road” is not necessarily the right term, taking the M41 (sounds not that great, right?) from Dushanbe towards the Bartang Valley and the Wakhan Corridor. Rings a bell? No? Well, let’s call the road instead “Pamir Highway”. Taking the Northern route through the mountains makes it even more fun. Wonder why they call it a highway, in the end it is not much more than a gravel road (in best case), partly not even more than a track through the mountains. But what an experience till now, crossing fancy bridges…

…and following scenic routes through the mountains.

As a bonus, you drive all this with an average speed of 20 kilometres per hour through an amazing landscape, slowly heading towards the Pamir region.

Even better are the nights, clear mountain nights with nearly no moon, so the stars are simply amazing out here on nearly 3.000 metres altitude.

But there is also a dark side of the coin, mines! Around the world highest bus station, last time operated during Soviet Union times, there are still plenty of mines. Unfortunately this has been a heavy fighting zone during the past civil war after the break down of the Soviet Union.

Next morning, driving down the mountain pass, we suddenly reach the Panj river, a place at least we considered as very far away, even though when planning this trip. But suddenly you are there, on the right side in the picture below, you can see some local Tajik donkeys, but for us the special thing is on the left – Afghanistan. So close, but still out of reach for us. Maybe at another trip, as we both would love to explore this country. 

Following the Panj river towards the Bartang Valley, you have spectacular views on Afghanistan and can get at least a small glimpse of this country, being a war zone for so many years already.

And after couple of long days driving, we reach the Bartang Valley and take some time to explore and enojy the area in here, prior following the Afghanistan border further towards the Wakhan Corridor.

But more on the Wakhan Corridor in the next blog, so stay tuned.