AFGHANISTAN

We are now regularly re-visiting Afghanistan after the years of International and Internal conflict in this starkly beautiful country. Some people will think that this is a little premature given that there is still internal dissension, and still only a tenuous groping toward Central Government control and that is certainly the British Govt Foreign Office advice. We prefer to state that Afghanistan is at the cutting edge of Adventure tourism, which in its self can offer benefits and progress. As an organisation, Hinterland or rather its predecessor, Hann Overland travelled through Afghanistan frequently in the seventies and eighties. Geoff Hann personally checked out the routes in November 2002 that we would use and has led all the Afghanistan trips since that date. They have all succeeded in operating successfully.

 
2015 TOURS
COCKPIT of ASIA - Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran
10th May departures 2015 ground tour cost from £3,500

CENTRAL and NORTH AFGHANISTAN
27th July departures 2015 ground tour cost from £3,200
Note. Our 16 day shortened version attached to above. Departure 27th July 2015 cost from £2,400

UZBEKISTAN and LAPIS MINES of AFGHANISTAN
13th/21st September departures 2015 ground tour cost £3,200
Note. The Afghanistan only section 15/16 days from £2,300

The RETREAT
11th October 2015 departure ground tour cost from £2,600

Special note - all bookings with deposits and booking form received in 2014 for departures in 2015 attract a 7% discount on the tour ground cost.

The country is desperately poor, frankly it needs any help that we or anyone can provide. The vast sums of money promised by the International community have only just trickled in or have yet to be fulfilled or are just promises. At least we can make a direct contribution to local people with the use of their services. The main roads had become diabolical but are now being totally reconstructed, the International community having recognised the importance of the trade routes to and through Afghanistan. The Afghan people are friendly and cheerfully welcoming, although wary until we can prove that we are travellers and not something else. Ancient and recent history are scattered everywhere, from Buddhist remains to burnt out tanks.

Our tours are not so steeped in excavated ancient remains as for example is our Iraq tour and they are more scenic, peoples tours but we fit in as many religious and historical sites as we can. Herat, for example is full of Islamic remains. We, despite our Adventurous natures, have to be sensible with our itineraries, so that our tours take in as much as can be fitted in, given the time factors of 3 weeks.

COCKPIT of ASIA

This tour enters into Pakistan then crosses into Afghanistan either by the Khyber Pass or when it is closed by flight to Kabul from either Peshawar or Islamabad.

Cockpit of Asia tour schedule
Departure - 10th May 2015 - 22/23 days
Day 1 Depart London for Islamabad
Day 2 Arrival Islamabad AM, transfer by road via Taxila to Peshawar
Day 3 Peshawar AM walking tour old city
Day 4 Drive over Khyber Pass to Jalalabad (Afghanistan) to Kabul (or flight if Pass shut)
Day 5 Kabul
Day 6 Kabul city excursions
Day 7 Drive to Bamiyan Valley
Day 8 Bamiyan - explorations
Day 9 Bamiyan excursion to Bandi-i-Mir Lakes
Day 10 Drive to Kunduz via Salang Tunnel with excursion to the Panshir Valley en route
Day 11 Kunduz
Day 12 Drive via Samangan Monastery to Mazar e Sherif
Day 13 Mazar e Sherif - excursion to Balkh
Day 14/15/16/17 Drive to Maimana/Bala Murgharb/Qalat Nau/Herat (special note - sometimes we have to alter our whole section here for various reasons, road conditions, security problems and may have to take a flight.)
Day 18 Herat - AM city walking tour
Day 19 Herat - PM excursion to Gazegarh
Day 20 Drive to Afghan Border and travel to Torbat e Jam. Excursion to Kahf and Taybad
Day 21 Further excursions, drive to Mashad
Day 22 AM departure by air to Tehran. Afternoon city sights and/or departure to London etc.
Day 23 Rest of day sight seeing and/or departure to London
Ground tour Costs from £3,500.

Included in ground cost - ground transport, driver, English speaking Hinterland Tour leader, all excursions as detailed on the scedule, accommodation and breakfast, group airport transfers at beginning and end of trip.

Not included International flights, additional or individual airport transfers, insurance, visas, site entrance fees.

Please note that many things can conspire to change/enhance or even delay the schedule. Every trip will have its own special experience. Road and weather conditions vary as do security problems. But we always try to refine each trip.

Special note. We are currently avoiding Kandahar and the southern Road between Ghazni and Herat due to the ongoing Military activity.


CENTRAL AND NORTH AFGHANISTAN

This is a fantastic route, through glorious, stark mountain passes. The very centre of Afghanistan, isolated and in real terms little travelled by westerners. To travel from the Bamiyan Valley to The Minaret of Jam via Chakcharan to the medieval Islamic glories of Herat is to be transported back in time itself. We shall carry on operating this route as long as we are able to do so.

Further pictures of this Adventure tour are available at www.adventuretravelphotos.com




Central and North Afghanistan
Expected Schedule 26th July 2015
We begin the tour now in Kabul due to the continued closure of the Khyber Pass to foreign traffic and as you will see from the following schedule keeping our options open with a flexible schedule. Travel in Afghanistan is all about flexibility. We are still offering our Pakistan option at the end of the tour but this will require a flight to Islamabad or Peshawar from Kabul.

Day 1 Kabul arrival a.m. Overnight Kabul.
Day 2 Kabul excursions – city tour.
Day 3 Full day drive to Bamiyan. Overnight Bamiyan.
Day 4 Bamiyan Valley excursions.
Day 5 Bamiyan.
Day 6-10 Through the Centre via the lakes of Bandir a Mir, Chakcharan, Minaret of Djam, Chist, to Herat. Overnight Herat. A tough but beautiful journey. Overnight in Chai Khanas.
Day 11/12 Herat –walking tour of city, excursion to Gazegharh. Overnight Herat hotel.

Now we have our possible changes due to the possible security situation.
But this is ideally what we hope to do:
Day 13-15 Drive on tough but scenic road to Maimana via Qalat Naw, Bala Murgab.
Day 16 Overnight Maimana.
Day 17 Drive to Mazar Sherif.
Day 18 Excursion to Balkh. Overnight Mazar.
Day 19 Drive to Kabul via Samangan and Salang Tunnel. Overnight Kabul.
Day 20 In Kabul- optional half day excursion.
Day 21 Normally we would have now taken our drive through Kabul Gorge and Khyber Pass to Peshawar with our Pakistan option. But the Khyber Pass is closed to all but local traffic.

Most likely changes as per last year
Day 13 Flight Herat to Kabul. Overnight Kabul.
Day 14 Early morning flight to Mazar Sherif. Overnight Mazar.
Day 15 Excursion to Balkh. Overnight Mazar.
Day 16 Drive to Daulatabad or Maimana. Overnight one or other.
Day 17 Drive to Maimana. Overnight Maimana.
Day 18 Return to Mazar Sherif. Overnight Mazar.
Day 19 Drive via Samangan and Salang Tunnel to Kabul. Overnight Kabul.
Day 20 In Kabul. Overnight Kabul.
Day 21 Depart Kabul for an International flight or stay Kabul longer if required.

Pakistan Option (if available)
Day 21 Flight from Kabul to Islamabad and Peshawar. Overnight Peshawar.
Day 22 Peshawar –markets –Overnight Peshawar.
Day 23 Peshawar. Overnight Peshawar.
Day 24 Early morning drive to Islamabad – Departure from International airport early afternoon.
Any client taking this option can obviously travel where they wish and stay as long as they wish.
Note. The schedule is an outline only. Time will be lost in places and/or gained in others. The transport will be a selection of hired local transport of various sorts and accommodation outside of the major cities will often be Tea houses (chai khanas). The journey is rough at times, the food, at times, a little miserable. The day to day company, both local and your travelling companions, often superb. There is a feast of carpets to look over, many tribal trinkets to examine, all in all an unforgettable experience.
Ground tour cost from £3,200.

This includes all ground transport and services, accommodation and breakfast, listed excursions, services of Hinterland Tour leader. Not included, International flights, individual airport transfers, main meals. Any insurance and required visas.

Central Afghanistan
We have been requested to provide a shortened tour of Central Afghanistan to operate in conjunction with our longer 22 day tour which also includes North Afghanistan

Expected Schedule 26th July 2015
Day 1 Arrival Kabul. Overnight Kabul Hotel.
Day 2 Kabul excursion – city tour. Overnight Kabul hotel.
Day 3 Days drive to Bamiyan. Overnight Bamiyan hotel.
Day 4 Bamiyan Valley Excursions. Overnight Bamiyan hotel.
Day 5 Bamiyan. Overnight Bamiyan hotel.
Day 6-10  Through the Centre via the Lakes of Bandir a Mir, Chakcharan, Minaret of Djam, Chist, to Herat. A tough but beautiful journey in the heart of Afghanistan. Overnight in Chai Khanas.
Day 11-13  Herat , a walking tour of the city and an excursion to Sufi Gazegarh. Overnight Herat hotel.
Day 14 Flight to Kabul. Overnight Kabul Hotel.
Day 15/16  Kabul excursions/rest day. Overnight Kabul. Departure out of Afghanistan as required.
Basic tour cost from £2,400.

This includes Accommodation and Breakfast, all road transport, planned excursions, services of Hinterland Travel tour/leader.

Not included: single supplement.

AFGHANISTAN/UZBEKISTAN

Sogdiana, The Oxus and Badakshan
(Uzbekistan and the Lapis Lazuli mines of Afghanistan)
We are repeating our very successful trip of this region . Although we are treading a well known track from Tashkent through to Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand, nothing diminishes its appeal. Further we cross the Oxus river at Termez and travel to Mazar e Sherif and Balkh in Afghanistan. Then we explore a small part of Badakshan Province down to the Lapis mines. Cross a high mountain pass and on through the Panshir valley where the shade of General Masoud still lingers and finally to Kabul.

Uzbekistan and the Lapis Mines of Afghanistan
13th September 2015
Note. Afghanistan section only from 21st September 2015
Uzbekistan (Sogdiana)
Dept London (evening)
Day 1 Arrive Tashkent a.m, explore city.
Day 2 Fly a.m.to Urgench for Khiva
Day 3 Drive to Bukhara
Day 4 Full day in Bukhara
Day 5 Drive to Samarkand via Gijduvan
Day 6 Samarkand and Shakrisabaz
Day 7 Drive to Termez
Day 8 Full day in Termez
Afghanistan (Note Afghanistan only tour begins from 21st September)
Day 9 a.m cross the Oxus River and travel to Mazar e Sharif
Day 10 Full day in Mazar with Balkh excursion.
Day 11 Drive to Khulm to Kunduz.
Day 12 Excursion to AL Khanum, ancient Greek city site.
Day 13/14/15/16/17/18 To Faizabad, Jurm, the Lapis mines and down through the Panjshir valley to Charikhar.
Day 19 To Kabul.
Day 20 Kabul
Day 21 Depart by air to London or other routings.
Pakistan extension when available.
Tour extension - Day 21  By road to Jalalabad/or flight from Kabul to Peshawar.
Tour extension - Day 22  By road through Khyber Pass (when open)/or full day Peshwar.
Tour extension - Day 23  Full day Peshawar.
Tour extension - Day 24  Drive to Islambad or Lahore for International flights.
The above schedule sounds so prosaic but it is redolent with history from early Greeks, and Persians, Alexander and Roxane to fiery Turcomans and great figures as Mahmoud of Ghazni, Tamerlane, Babur and through to the present day of Afghan civil war personalities such as Generals Masoud and Dostum and The Taliban.

The mountains are rugged, the Lapis, when polished, very beautiful and the going underfoot tough.

Ground costs from £3,200
(note that you can travel Uzbekistan only for £1,200 and the 15 day Afghanistan only section for £2,300)
The Pakistan Extension - 4 days from £600 (any flights required are extra)

Cost include - all ground transport, including group airport transfers excursions as detailed in itinerary, accommodation and breakfast (for the Uzbekistan section dinner is also included)for Afghanistan with more basic accommodation and facilities only, accommodation and breakfast. Services of Tour leader.

Not included - International flights, insurance, visas individual airport transfers. Note single room supplement in Uzbekistan allow US$ 185.

Click to enlarge

THE RETREAT

THE FIRST AFGHAN WAR and the Retreat of 1842 with the British Army from Kabul to Jalalabad.

This is very new trek for us and subject to various problems on the ground but none surpassing those that the British Army and the vastly outnumbering Camp Followers had in January 1842 as they abandoned Kabul. The weather was ferocious, sleet, snow, ice and intense cold and the attacks from the Afghan tribesmen constant and unrelentingly pitiless.

We begin in Kabul, enjoy the city and to prepare and acclimatise ourselves before we depart into the Countryside to meet our pack ponies, pony men and guides.

Due to the ongoing political and security problems in the area and the continual closure of the Khyber Pass we have postponed the trek until 11 October 2015.

THE RETREAT
11th October 2015
Dept London (evening)
Day 1 Arrive Kabul.
Day 2 Kabul.
Day 3 Drive to City outskirts and collect our Afghan team.
Day 4/5/6/7/8/9/10/11 Walking days from Begrami to Gandamak.
Day 11/12 Gandamak to Jalalabad possibly by minibus.
Day 13/14 Return to Kabul by road. Excursion to Panjshir Valley. Depart Kabul.
Alternative Day 13 Cross into Pakistan by the Khyber Pass, overnight Peshawar.
Alternative Day 14 Peshawar.
Alternative Day 15 Drive to Islamabad for departure by air.
Tour cost from £2,600.

Included - hotel accommodation on twin room basis in city. Chai Khana (Tea house) accommodation including breakfast. All road transport, pack ponies, horsemen, guide and any guards.

Not included - main meals, visas, International flights, insurance, individual airport transfers.

Note - this is an exploratory trek and we cannot guarantee conditions. The route is approx 116 miles in length and walking conditions are undulating with some long steep climbs out of valleys often in dust conditions. Clients are expected to be walking fit and to accept the conditions. Baggage will need to be of the soft variety so that it can be packed on horses and if neccessary by yourself


IMPORTANT

Please read before completing our tour booking form.

At the present time Afghanistan is still recovering from a series of wars and internal conflicts that have lasted for almost 30 years. During the last few years the country has had a Government supported by the UN and Western powers, although now a series of elections are beginning to bring a more stable Government presence. The armed forces of the US are still hunting Al Qaeda and Taliban supporters in parts of the country. British and other forces are conducting serious campaigns in Helmand Province against Taliban insurgency. Although increasing, there are still few tourists or Travellers to be seen. The vast majority of non-Afghans are NGOs, UN personnel and various contingents of military forces from around the world.

The British Foreign Office strongly advises that in their view Afghanistan is not safe for travellers and that British citizens should not travel to, and in, that country.

Mainly for this reason Afghanistan is basically uninsurable by most non specialist insurance companies at reasonable (sensible) prices. However we can now recommend an insurance Company set up to deal with these situations. They handle Afghanistan and Iraq. Also we do insist that clients take out some form of insurance to cover flights, cancellations etc even if they cannot obtain the insurance cover for the ground details. This is in the clients own interest.

Hinterland Travel while understanding and recognising the view of the British Foreign Office, believes from its past and present direct experience of Afghanistan that adventure tourism is possible, albeit with care. The Company monitors events and always seeks to avoid reckless, in our view, direct confrontation with danger. Schedules are changed, alternatives sought, or even cancellations. We try to take all reasonable pre cautions that are feasible at the time.

Final decisions will be taken by Geoff Hann (Managing Director) in conjunction with any of our Tour leaders.

Hinterland Travel (Anglo Overseas Leisure Ltd) and its Managing Director, Geoff Hann firmly believe that we have a duty of care toward our clients, but also this has to reasonable given the circumstances. We ask our clients to consider their response to our brochure and the advice given, and if there are matters which are not clear, or if clarification is required, then please consult Geoff Hann before booking with us. Once our booking form has been completed and a deposit received then we consider that our clients have accepted and assessed the possible risks and dangers of our trips as advertised and their own personal responsibilities. The deposit of £350 per person is required at time of booking, and is then only refundable if Hinterland Travel are compelled to cancel. The full balance of monies due is payable 8 weeks prior to departure.


Afghanistan Books
Farrukh Husein is a London based seller of Afghanistan first edition travel literature and travel guides such as the classic 'Historical Guide to Afghanistan' by N H Dupree. Farrukh has a range of interesting books including signed first editions of Eric Newby's 'Short walk in the Hindu Kush' and Freya Stark's 'Minaret of Djam'. Farrukh also stocks antiquarian books on Afghanistan and out of print books. Farrukhs specialist stock imcludes rare books on Afghan history published in Kabul from the 1930s-1980. For book enquiries and the latest book catalogue please email
farhus30@yahoo.co.uk or you can buy directly from Amazon.