We set off south from Dushanbe heading for the river separating Tajikistan and Afghanistan. The first section of the journey involved crossing the mountains via switchback roads up to 2200m height. The views were spectacular, particularly over a number of huge reservoirs along the way. The valleys were deep and green. Lots of apple and other fruit trees as well as goats and cattle.
We stopped at a viewpoint along the way and got some great tips on our future journey from a driver of a tour group. For other rallier’s information, the Southern route to Kalaikhum via Kulob is the ay to go. It is faster and much more scenic.
We stopped for lunch in Kulob, Tajikistan’s third biggest city. A right royal feed for US43 each.
Then we headed for the river road. Close to the border there were several military and police checkpoints. They take border activities seriously here. This section had very poor roads. We were down to 20 to 30 kph and sometimes in first gear.
As we climbed into the mountains the scenery was spectacular, and then we hid the river border road!
Jaw dropping spectacular!!!
The river was raging. A fast current, turbulent, roaring, high mountain peaks either side. It was one of the most memorable sights in our lives. Rugged, raw beauty. What a border. There is no way anyone is crossing that! There are military posts in the high points along the way overviewing the Afghan border.
Finally we arrived in Kalaikhum, meeting a German/Sr-iLankan couple doing the Mongolia Rally in a Kangoo Van. Amazing it is holding together on these roads.
Kalaikhum has no hotels, so we chose a local homestay. There were many spivs at the town junction touting places to stay. We chose the one in Lonely Planet. The Roma Jurayev. It is a room, wifi, mattress on floor, communal bathroom and dinner and breakfast for US$20 per person.
A meal, a beer, right next to the raging river. The off to bed!
More to come tomorrow as we plunge deeper into the Pamirs!
C-YA Andrew and Jeff
Mongolia Charity Rally 2015