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Tajikistan + Afghanistan: Expedition: Wakhan Corridor

National Geographic Adventure picks the 25 best new outfitted trips.
Text by Bonnie Tsui  

Japan  |  Myanmar  |  Tajikistan and Afghanistan  |  Thailand  |  Tibet

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The Wakhan Corridor is one of the wildest landscapes on the planet:
A 200-mile-long (322-kilometer-long) valley splitting the Pamir Mountains and the Hindu Kush, where few Westerners have traveled since Marco Polo passed through in the 13th century. "It's a true adventure in the old-fashioned, swashbuckling sense of the word," says Geographic Expeditions' Afghanistan and Silk Road regional director, Kristina Tuohey, who notes that the Wakhan has been largely immune to the region's political and military upheavals. Beginning in Tajikistan's capital, Dushanbe, Geo Ex's groups of 16 people or fewer move south on foot to the Tajik-Afghan border, continuing east through the snowy Pamirs to Sarhad-e Broghil. In the ten days of hiking that follow, you'll trace Marco Polo's route through a wildlife-rich valley inhabited by Siberian ibex, snow leopards, gray wolves, Marco Polo sheep, and yaks. You'll also likely encounter members of the tiny, hospitable Afghan Kyrgyz nomad community—a rapidly dwindling ancient culture that survives long winters by trading with the Wakhi ethnic minority on the Pakistan side of the Pamir, crossing back and forth by horse caravan over rippling mountain passes. The primary focus of the hike, however, is the sweeping vivid-blue skies, snow-covered slopes, pastoral ranges, and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to be one of the handful of outsiders to traverse this lonely stretch. The turnaround is Afghanistan's eastern outpost, at the mountainous border with China.


Outfitter: Geographic Expeditions (


21 days


Japan  |  Myanmar  |  Tajikistan and Afghanistan  |  Thailand  |  Tibet

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