Tajikistan’s Wild East | Photo Essay

Tajikistan is one of the few remaining truly off-the-beaten-track travel experiences left in the world. This corner of Central Asia was wracked by civil war for many years but is now stable and open to tourists.

Travel south and east from the capital of Dushanbe along the M41. In the lush Wakhan Valley Afghanistan is at times only a stone’s throw away across the river. Then it’s up across a 4,655m pass onto the breathtaking Pamir highway. You’ll find ancient otherworldly landscapes, ancient rock drawings and geoglyphs, semi-nomadic herders with their yurts and Soviet-built wild east towns.

The Farsi-speaking Tajiks are curious and welcoming of visitors and I encountered some overwhelming hospitality. Here is a photo essay representing some highlights of landscapes and people:

The M41 "highway" through the Wakhan follows the Panj River that forms the border with Afghanistan.

The M41 “highway” through the Wakhan follows the Panj River that forms the border with Afghanistan.

One of the many families who took offered hospitality in their homes on the journey.

One of the many families who took offered hospitality in their homes on the journey.

Children in the Wakhan Valley who begged me to take their photo but were then overcome with shyness.

Children in the Wakhan Valley who begged me to take their photo but were then overcome with shyness.

At last the high Pamir plateau, like another world.

At last the high Pamir plateau, like another world.

The spectacular lake of Yashil-kul, ringed with snowy peaks.

The spectacular lake of Yashil-kul, ringed with snowy peaks.

 

Children in the isolated village of Bulunkul.

Children in the isolated village of Bulunkul.

The exquisite clear water spring of Ak-Bkyl beside the Pamir highway.

The exquisite clear water spring of Ak-Bkyl beside the Pamir highway.

A Kyrgyz man in the town of Murghab.

A Kyrgyz man in the town of Murghab.

Small herds of yaks and sheep are run by Kyrgyz semi-nomadic herdsmen who live in yurts during the summer months.

Small herds of yaks and sheep are run by Kyrgyz semi-nomadic herdsmen who live in yurts during the summer months.

Lake Karakul, on the last leg of the journey through Tajikistan towards the border with Kyrgyzstan.

Lake Karakul, on the last leg of the journey through Tajikistan towards the border with Kyrgyzstan.

Natasha von Geldern is the Wandering Kiwi, a travel blogger, writer and editor who is passionate about discovering and covering the world, inspiring online travel lovers everywhere.

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