Wildlife and tourism in Tajikistan

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Home Tourism in Khirmanjo

Khirmanjo at a glance

The Hazratishoh Mountains at a glance

The Mountains of Hazratishoh belong to the most scenic in Tajikistan with their red and white mountains and dark green juniper woodlands. They are home to various rare animals, in particular markhor and urial, the latter at the brink of extinction due to decades of relentless poaching and its habitat preference in easy accessible roiling hills. The markhor population has as well been heavily under pressure, but their difficult accessible homes in steep cliffs provided some limited protection and conservation efforts by the local conservancies Saidi Tagnob and Muhofiz and the neighbouring conservancy “M-Sayod” (Zighar) have let to a population increase and reoccupation of already empty areas.

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The conservancy Saidi Tagnob was established by two local families of traditional hunters. The areas where they protect markhor and other wildlife are located near the villages Anjirob, Yol and Khirmanjo. Here the protection efforts have resulted in a remarkable increase of the markhor numbers and with local guides from Saidi Tagnob markhor can be observed easily and sometimes even close to the highway. 

Also the conservancy of the local NGO “Muhofiz” was established by former informal hunters of several villages in Shuroabad District at the Eastern slopes of Hazratishoh Range and Southern Darvaz Range. The members of the NGO are informal hunters which became concerned about the fast decline of markhor and urial populations and agreed among themselves to stop poaching.

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Strictly controlled trophy hunts on single old markhor provide the necessary means for nature protection and social-economic development of the nearby located communities. The latter ensures the necessary support by the entire communities to the protection of the rare species in the area.

Tourism opportunities

The area with its scenic landscape at the Eastern slopes of Hazratishoh Range and the southern edge of Darvaz Range provides excellent trekking and wildlife observation opportunities. The conservancy is located at the main road from Dushanbe via Kulob to Khorog and can be visited on the way to the Pamirs.

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The conservancies offer as well hunting tours on wild boar. All tours will be organized strictly on the basis of official permits, which will be obtained for the hunting tourists by the responsible state authorities. Wild boar trophies (tusks) are usually above 18 cm length. Wild boar is hunted where it occurs in large numbers and causes significant damage in the fields and orchards of the local communities. First tours will be supported by specialists provided by the project to ensure the required quality of hunts and related services.

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Practical Information

How to get there?

The conservancy is located close to the River Pyanj north of the road coming from Kulyab and going down from Shuroabad District centre East of Shuroabad to the village Anjirob. It stretches at the Eastern slopes of Hazratishoh Range north up to Dashtijum village.

Most sites are not accessible by car and you can only reach the starting points of the trails. In the mountains you have to walk, but usually donkeys are available for carrying luggage or for riding.

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Coordinates: 37.89296 N // 70.16808 E

Where to stay

Local conservancy managers provide home stay in their houses, e.g. at Hakim Abdullaev in Anjirob, Saidali Nazarov (+992-98-8356179 or +992-93-3204967) in Khirmanjo or Nurali Latifov in Kisht. They would also care that different community members can profit from tourism. In the private houses guests can sleep in guest rooms or at the veranda on cotton mattresses. There is a simple toilet and you can take a shower with hot water from a bucket in a simple bathroom. Please understand that water still has to be carried and not always sufficient clean water is available to support excessive baths. The food offered is of local Tajik style and enriched with the local fruits, as e.g. figs and pomegranate and excellent locally produced honey. In the mountains you can sleep in your tent or just enjoy the night under the stars.

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Guides

It is obligatory to refrain from trekking by your own in the conservancy’s mountains. The hillsides are steep and paths can easily be lost. The local rangers are good trekking guides and are able to show you the rare wildlife. For carrying the luggage they are usually able to assist you in hiring donkeys.

Due to the vicinity of the Afghan boundary accompaniment by the authorized guides is also required to ensure that you will easily cross border police checkpoints. Those are generally very friendly and supportive to visitors but may have to ask questions about the purpose of your trip. Sometimes they need some time to check you and to register your passports. It is necessary to keep patience in such cases.

What to bring with you?

Bring with you trekking equipment including good shoes, binocular and photo equipment. For taking wildlife pictures you will need a large lens. The local guides also have binoculars and one spotting scope, which is essential for enjoying wildlife observations at long distances.

People provide local cuisine, but bringing some food is recommended as there is no shop.

Roads are demanding, partly you may have off-road conditions and fuel consumption will be high.

You will need a special permit for visiting the border zone of Shuroabad district of Khatlon region. This permit is issued at "OVIR" in Dushanbe or Kulyab. Ask Saidali Nazarov (+992-98-8356179 or +992-93-3204967) for assistance. 

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