Overview of routes
This section gives detailed practical information (names, location, walking time, altitude, geographic co-ordinates, etc.) of the most popular routes and places throughout the Wakhan and Pamir, at the east of Qala-e-Panja. The itineraries are divided into five sections:
In order to help you choose the area you wish to explore, here are a few options depending on the number of days you can spare in the Wakhan and Pamir.
If you only have a few days ahead of you in Qala-e-Panj, a good itinerary may be to walk up the Amu Daria river from Ghaz Khan to Shikarga (see Big Pamir to Wakhan), then down to Ouezet via Maidoni and back to Qala-e-Panj. This itinerary will take you approximately 5 to 6 days. It may also be covered in the opposite direction. Best allow at least a week to cover the itinerary in a relax way. During this trip you will enjoy fantastic scenery and meet with nomad as well as settled Wakhi people.
Another 1-week option is to walk from Qala-e-Panj to Sarhad-e-Boroghil (3 to 4 days), and stay around Sarhad-e-Boroghil for a few days (walk up the Dalriz Pass down to Baharaq and back, and/or up the Boroghil Pass until the Pakistan border and back). Come back to Qala-e-Panj by car
Two weeks is the minimum time to be able to meet with Kirghiz people. You may walk up the Amu Daria river from Ghaz Khan to the first Kirghiz encampments in Jilmasert or Bay Tibet and push to Saremokor near Lake Zor Kol (at least 6 days from Qala-e-Panj) (see Big Pamir to Wakhan). Go back via the high route down to the Wakhan valley and back to Qala-e-Panj (another 6 days). Stay in some of the Kirghiz villages for a day or two (e.g. Elghonok, Bechkonok and Saremokor).
If you can manage to drive to Sarhad-e-Boroghil, you can start from there and walk up the Dalriz Pass, the Tchaq Dara valley and the Showr Pass to Saremokor (3 to 4 days) (see Little Pamir/Wakhan to Big Pamir). From Zor Kol, come back to Qala-e-Panj either via the high route or the river route (see Big Pamir to Wakhan). As compared to the previous itinerary, it will save you a couple of days that you can spend with the Kirghiz.
From Sarhad-e-Boroghil; you also may walk to the Little Pamir either via the high route of the river route (see Wakhan to Little Pamir) as far as Bourguitiar and Lake Chaqmaqtin (5 to 6 days each way) and come back the other route (the one that you did not take on the way in).
In three weeks, you may walk as far as possible into the Little Pamir, either to the Waghjir Pass or to the Tajik border at Ghund Ji Boi. Allow 5 to 6 days each way to walk from Sarhad-e-Boroghil to the beginning of the Little Pamir (Karchyndy or Buzai Gumbaz) and a further 4 days to either the Waghjir Pass or Ghund Ji Boi.
Alternatively, you may decide to explore both the Little and the Big Pamir. In three weeks, in July 2005, our team managed to walk from Qala-e-Panj to Sarhad-e-Boroghil (3 days + one day in Sarhad), then up the Dalriz Pass and the Garumdee Pass to the Little Pamir. We went as far as Bourguitiar, spent a day at the Ararkar Hot Spring and walked back through the Garumdee Pass, then northwards to Saremokor via Karabel Pass and Showr Pass. After a day in Saremokor, we walked back to Qala-e-Panj via Elghonok (where there was a buzkashi game) and Ghaz Khan (river route). However, a few extra days would have been better as it would have allowed us to spend more time with the Kirghiz, and enjoy more rest time.
In four weeks, you may walk from Sarhad-e-Boroghil to as far as the Tegerman Su at the easternmost part of the Little Pamir (9 to 10 days minimum) via Ghund Ji Boi. Alternatively you may go to the Waghjir Pass and back.
Four weeks is probably the ideal amount of time to explore the Wakhan and Pamir. Start walking in Qala-e-Panj. Go to Lake Chaqmaqtin. Come back via the Big Pamir. If you start walking from Sarhad-e-Boroghil, you may have time to walk all the way to the Tajik border (Ghund Ji Boi) and come back through the Big Pamir.
In five to six weeks you can virtually walk on all of the most popular trekking routes in the Wakhan and Pamir, and have time to seriously explore the area and learn about the Wakhi and Kirghiz way of life.
Please read the Warning section before going any further.