Afghanistan adventure travel was a highlight of the famous hippy trail in the 1960's and 70's, the country has been off the tourist map for almost 30 years with outdoor activities in Afghanistan rarely experienced by anyone other than locals. However, it recently started seeing a trickle of tourists visiting certain safer areas of the country, in the North and Central regions. Afghan... +Afghanistan adventure travel was a highlight of the famous hippy trail in the 1960's and 70's, the country has been off the tourist map for almost 30 years with outdoor activities in Afghanistan rarely experienced by anyone other than locals. However, it recently started seeing a trickle of tourists visiting certain safer areas of the country, in the North and Central regions.
Afghanistan is known as the crossroads of Asia. It's where Persian, Indian and Chinese empires met in the peaks of the Hindu Kush mountains, and is packed with remains from its Buddhist, Greek and Islamic past.
Its setting on the spine of the Hindu Kush mountain range has led to Afghanistan being a home to many different ethnic groups, many of which are not averse to tourists coming to visit and explore Afghanistan's diverse geography, its barren deserts, breathtaking mountain peaks and high alpine lakes.
Popular outdoor activities in Afghanistan
Afghanistan has only one ski shop and no ski lifts. But if back-to-basics skiing is what you are into, then look no further. Against all probability, Afghanistan is a ski-tourers paradise: snow and mountains in abundance with opportunities only limited by the ability and imagination of the skiers.
A recent initiative by a development organisation has trained local ski guides in the Central Bamian region and now ex-pats and foreign workers from Kabul regularly head to the slopes in the winter. Infrastructure is basic, but for those seeking outdoor activities in Afghanistan and a cultural as well as a ski experience, then the January-May ski season will prove perfect.
In Afghanistan adventure travel often centres on The Hindu Kush mountains as they offer a huge array of trekking options, although the security risk and also the possibility of land-mines reduces hiking possibilities to the Bamian, Wakhan and Afghan Pamir regions.
Bamian has a number of fabulous day hikes and two, three or four-day treks in the mountains of the Koh e Baba range. Routes pass 1500-year-old Buddhist stupas, lapis lazuli blue lakes, natural arches, 1000-year-old forts, isolated towers, hot springs, ice caves and ancient steps carved into the rock.
As well as the incredible geographical landscape, there are opportunities to stay in villages with local families to experience the cultural landscape of Afghanistan. The Wakhan and Afghan Pamir are some of the most isolated regions in Asia and offer the ultimate in trekking in Afghanistan.
A three-week trip to Chaqmaqtin Lake passes through the steep-sided Wakhan corridor into the vast expanse of the Afghan Pamir inhabited by the last of the Kyrgyz nomads. They are the last of the nomadic Central Asian people.
Collectivisation under the soviet regime in the rest of Central Asia pushed the Kyrgyz into this small pocket, where they still herd their fat-tailed sheep and live in felt yurts. Afghanistan has an amazing range of wildlife. In the Wakhan it is possible to see yaks, mountain sheep, and Ibex. The region is also home to the rarely seen Marco Polo sheep and the snow leopard.
The Hindu Kush was positively swarming with climbers in the 1970's, with 23 expeditions in 1977 from Poland alone!! However, since the summer of love, very few Afghan peaks have been sighted, let alone attempted. Most alpine climbing is carried out in the Wakhan region of Afghanistan in the far north east of the country.
Recently, there have been many expeditions to this region, including groups scaling Nowshak, at 7400m the highest peak in Afghanistan, as well as making first ascents on smaller non-technical peaks under 6000m. Climbing is also possible in the Bamian region in the Koh e Baba ('Old Man' mountain) range. -