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Karakoram Hindu Kush Jeep Safari

Altitude: 4833m 15,850ft / Season: June-Sep / 21 Days
Pakistan Jeep Trip Chitral Children Hindu Kush Mountains

Jeep Tour Hindukush

Pakistan Itinerary

Rama lake
Deosai Plateau
Satpara Lake
rest day
Shigar Valley
  exploration day
  Khunjerab Pass
  Phander lake
  Shandur Pass
  Kafir-Kalash Valley
  local shopping day

There are Jeep safaris and then there is the Karakoram Hindukush Jeep Safari! Perhaps, the following is one of the finest itineraries offered anywhere on this planet for a Jeep safari.

See Photos of a recent Karakoram Hindukush Jeep Safari.

We begin our journey in Islamabad and proceed to the beautiful alpine lush green Kaghan valley. This valley rivals any in the American Rockies and the European Alps. From here we drive over the Babusar Pass and enter another realm of the Indus gorge.

This is where the monsoons are unable to unleash their torrents as they have exhausted all of their moisture in valleys like the Kaghan. The monsoon clouds have a difficult time going over the Himalayas on their northward journey. From the hot and dusty Indus valley we drive towards the base of the ninth highest mountain in the world; Nanga Parbat. Here we visit the beautiful Rama Lake.

The next part of our journey takes us over the high Deosai plains and into the Skardu valley; the gateway to the Karakoram giants. From Skardu we drive along the Indus Highway towards Hunza. Some say that the journey on the Indus Highway is much more spectacular than even the legendary KKH.

From Hunza we make an excursion to touch China at the highest paved road border crossing in the world. This is Khunjerab Pass and is located at a height of 4833 m. From Hunza we travel westwards to the Hindukush mountains, home of the Kafir Kalash. These pagan tribes claim descent from Alexander the Great.

Chitral town is the capital of the Hindukush mountain region and is crowned by the 7708 m. Tirichmir. From Chitral we make our way back to Islamabad via Swat and Peshawar. This gives us an ample opportunity to witness tribal Pathan culture. We are also able to observe historical sites such as ChurchillÍs picket and ancient Buddhist carvings.

During this overland Jeep safari we traverse the western Himalaya, Karakoram and the Hindukush mountain ranges. We also have fantastic views of Nanga Parbat (8125 m.), Rakaposhi (7788 m.), Diran (7273 m.), Golden Peak (7027 m.) and Ultar (7388 m.).

Detailed Itinerary - Karakoram Hindu Kush Jeep Tour

Day 1, Rawalpindi/Islamabad

Hotel, trip briefing. We will have ample time for sightseeing and shopping in colorful old bazaars of Rawalpindi and new markets of Islamabad. We may also drive to the huge modern Faisal Mosque in Islamabad.

Day 2, Shogran (2,362 m. 7,750 ft.)

Hotel, drive. We drive through Taxila and enter the foothills of the Himalayas near Abbottabad. The lush green terraced fields are a beautiful sight. Here we enter an alpine environment; not unlike Switzerland and The Rockies. From Abbottabad we drive to Balakot and enter the famous Kaghan Valley of stunning alpine forests, deep blue high altitude lakes, lush green meadows and distant snowy peaks with the ever present frothing and gushing Kunhar River right next to the road. It will take about 6 to 7 hours of driving from Islamabad to reach heavenly Shogran.

Day 3, Naran (2,440 m. 8,000 ft.)

Hotel, drive. This is a 2 hour drive into the heart of the Kaghan valley. Naran is the capital of the scenic Kaghan valley and has one of the best trout fishing in Pakistan. You can go on a side excursion to the legendary Saiful Muluk Lake (3,215 m.) for the day.

Day 4, Naran (2,440 m. 8,000 ft.)

Hotel, rest. Today we can just take it easy and perhaps do some fishing in this beautiful valley.   

Day 5, Chilas (1,000 m. 3280 ft.)

Hotel, drive. This is a long day’s drive as we drive up to the Babusar Pass (4,529 m.) and descend into the hot, dusty and dry Indus Gorge. At the pass we try to climb an easy short slope towards our left for unbelievable views of the great Nanga Parbat (8,125 m.) and the high Karakoram peaks beyond. We will cherish this sight for a long time! This drive may take more than 8 hours. At Chilas we meet up with the Karakoram Highway (KKH).

Day 6, Astore (2,345 m. 7,690 ft.)

Guest house, drive. It takes about 3 to 4 hours to drive from Chilas and under Nanga Parbat as we enter Astore village. On the way the views of the 8,125 metres Nanga Parbat from an altitude of only 1,000 metres is breathtaking; it is the largest land escarpment in the world. 

Day 7, Deosai Plateau (4,000 m. 13,120 ft.)

Camp, drive. It takes about 14 hours to drive from Astore to Skardu. We will have to break our journey on the way at a wayside tent shelter put up by the local people. These shelters are equipped with beds and tents. Deosai plateau is a wildlife refuge and home to many animals such as the Himalayan Brown Bear. It is truly a fascinating place. Our staff will make sure that you are well provided for at this rugged stop. Note: However, we will try our best to do the drive in a single day. They key is to leave very early in the morning from Astore. If we are able to do this then we can have one more day in Satpara or Skardu.

Day 8, Satpara Lake (3,100 m. 10,170 ft.)

Guest house, drive. Just before Skardu we will stop at this beautiful lake and have another chance to do some trout fishing.  

Day 9, Skardu (2,500 m. 8,200 ft.)

Hotel, drive. Today we will take some well needed rest in the capital of Baltistan; the gateway to the highest peaks of the Karakoram. It takes only about 30 minutes to drive from Satpara Lake to Skardu town. If we are lucky there might be a polo game going on in the town! 

Day 10, Skardu (2,500 m. 8,200 ft.)

Hotel, drive. Today we will drive to the beautiful side Shiger valley near Skardu. This is a good chance to see the old Balti culture still flourishing in such remote valleys. We will return the same day to Skardu.

Day 11, Karimabad (2,440 m. 8,000 ft.)

Hotel, drive. It will take about 8 hours driving time; first along side the mighty Indus on the Indus Highway and then on the KKH next to the Hunza River to reach Karimabad the capital of Hunza. If there is heaven on Earth, then this must be it! The drive is guaranteed to knock your socks off!! The views of Rakaposhi, Haramosh, Nanga Parbat, Ultar and on and on, are incomparable and unforgettable.

Day 12, Karimabad (2,440 m. 8,000 ft.)

Hotel, rest. Today is open as a rest day. One can just sip tea endlessly in the lovely flower strewn garden of your hotel and stare at Rakaposhi and Ultar and the terraced valley; and one will not get bored. Or one can make side visits to other valleys and glaciers.

Day 13, Karimabad (2,440 m. 8,000 ft.)

Hotel, drive. Today we will drive to the legendary Khunjerab Pass (4,833 m.) and touch China! Here, at the pass, we will be in the Pamir Mountain Range. So, up till now we have traversed, the Himalaya, the Karakoram and the Pamir mountain ranges. We will return back to Karimabad. This trip will take the whole day on the KKH.  

Day 14, Phander Lake (2,800 m. 9,200 ft.)

Guest house, drive. We are now on our journey to the Hindukush mountain range and Chitral. We enter the Ghizer valley after leaving the town of Gilgit behind us. This will take more than 8 hours of driving from Karimabad to Phander.

Day 15, Mastuj (2,000 m. 6,560 ft.)

Hotel, drive. Leaving early morning we proceed to the Shandur Pass (3,734 m.). Here we will leave the Northern Areas behind and enter the Chitral valley in the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan. We are now in the Hindukush mountain range. The drive takes about 6 hours.

Day 16, Chitral Town (1,600 m. 5,248 ft.)

Hotel, drive. We descend the Chitral valley and arrive in the capital of this mountain region after about 8 hours of driving. On the way we have tremendous views of Tirich Mir (7,708 m.), the highest peak of the Hindukush range and the Buni Zom group in the Hinduraj range.

Day 17, Chitral Town (1,600 m. 5,248 ft.)

Hotel, drive. Today we will visit one of the famous Kalash valleys. It is a unique experience to be with these pagan tribes and their ancient culture even in the third millennium! We will return to Chitral for overnight stay.

Day 18, Saidu Sharif (1,000 m. 3,280)

Hotel, drive. Leaving Chitral valley we ascend the Lowari Pass (3,118 m.) with its many hairpin road bends. We descend the pass to enter Dir valley and proceed onwards to Swat. On the way we cross Churchill’s Picket. From here the young Churchill dispatched reports to England describing the Pathan uprising. Swat is filled with Buddhist history. It takes about 8 hours from Chitral town to Saidu Sharif in Swat.

Day 19, Peshawar

Hotel, drive. From Swat we cross the low Malakand pass and leave the mountains behind to enter Mardan. The drive to Peshawar, capital of NWFP takes about 4 to 5 hours. While in the ancient city of Peshawar, we can visit the Kissa Khawani bazaar (the bazaar of story tellers) and roam the streets of this fascinating old tribal city.

Day 20, Rawalpindi/Islamabad

Hotel, drive. In three to four hours of driving we are back in the capital of Pakistan. On the way we cross the River Indus at Attock. This is near where Alexander the Great crossed this mighty river also on his way to conquer this part of India.

Day 21, Rawalpindi/Islamabad

Hotel. This is an extra day kept for shopping and sightseeing. This day will also be used in case of any delays due to weather and adverse route conditions on our trip.

This is a tentative itinerary.  For the enjoyment of your trip a ‘go with the flow’ attitude is necessary.  Many factors will influence your trip, such as weather conditions, health, route conditions, etc.  Please do not take this itinerary very seriously!

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