Looking Back: The Pamir Highway unshown photo’s
Last Monday it was a rainy day in Nepal. Rain kept pouring from the sky, supported by heavy thunder. A day to stay inside and a perfect reason to dive into the archives of the motor trip we took to Mongolia last year. Scrolling through the pictures we noticed that many of these beautiful images were not yet shown. Such a shame to let them ‘dust’ in a archive. That’s why we thought it would be fun to make a recurring blog with not yet seen images, starting with a bang: The Pamir Highway in Tajikistan
Tajikistan is located in Central Asia and is surrounded by China, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. It once was a part of the Soviet Union, like the other countries in Central Asia. Tajikistan mostly consists of mountains and is known for the Pamir Highway. A road that goes through the impassable Pamir mountains crossing Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It was once part of the ancient Silk route. Though Highway isn’t really a good name for it. It is a tough, small, poorly maintained road, but its beauty makes it all worth it!
We visited Tajikistan during the end of April, which is quite early in the season to drive the Pamir Highway, while some passes still covered in snow. It was a sometimes tough ride, often freezing cold and with difficult roads along deep ravines. But the views are amazing, Afghanistan is sometimes just at the other side of the river, the people are friendly and adventure has no borders there. That all makes it truly picturesque and definitely a favourite destination. Enjoy!
This picture was taken on the first day when we left the capital city Dushanbe eastwards towards The Pamir Highway. Due to heavy snowfall on one of the passes we had to turn and go back to Dushanbe.
On day 2, we took the southern route, via Kulob. This road was maybe even more beautiful than the eastern route.
Our first glimpse of Afghanistan, close to the wakhan corridor.
The roads weren’t that good and the term highway is therefore heavily exaggerated, but nevertheless great fun to drive! Can you spot Pieter in this picture?
Left: A big chunk of the highway borders Afghanistan, only a narrow river separates the two countries.
Right: One of the hardest and best parts of the highway is in the Wakhan Valley. After Langar the route takes you away from the Afghan border to go more inland. The rocky unpaved curvy road goes up into the steep mountains and for hours you won’t find any settlement.
The mountains are incredible, making you feel really small and humble. Can you spot Mandy?
There aren’t many villages or any form of life in this part of the route, so that means cooking by yourself. Not a bad view for lunch!
After a long cold ride, going up into the mountains, we arrived at this house in the night. Luckily we could sleep and eat at this lovely family home. The next morning we discovered we were sleeping at a 4000m high plateau. On the right the toilet.
The highest pass of the highway is at 4600m. The pass was still covered by snow from the winter when we passed it. Here you have trouble breathing, but luckily we both didn’t suffered any altitude sickness.
One of the few vehicles we came across was this van dating back from the soviet era. Most of the roads on the Pamir Highway are not suitable for cars or any other transportation that isn’t set for off-road riding.