Wildlife and tourism in Tajikistan

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Home Tourism in Sarichashma

Sarichashma at a glance

The conservancy of the private company “Morkhur” was established by the former director of the nearby Strict Nature Reserve Dashtijum, Iskandar Ikromov. Thus the conservancy fulfills the function of a buffer zone for protecting the reserve. The major purpose of the conservancy is to protect the globally endangered Tajik markhor. The area and its surroundings are now well protected and not only the screw horned goat is preserved here but as well the entire ecosystems with its wild animals as well as a variety of plant species.

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The protection so far is exclusively financed by own means of the company. Strictly controlled trophy hunts on single old male markhor and revenues from tourism provide the necessary means for nature protection and social-economic development of the nearby located communities.

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Tourism opportunities

The area with its scenic landscape at the southern fringes of Hazratishoh Range provides excellent trekking and wildlife observation opportunities. The conservancy is reached by horse trek or jeep through rolling hills with savanna like pistachio woodlands.

“Morkhur” offers as well hunting tours on wild boar. All tours will be organized strictly on the basis of official permits the company obtains for their guests by the responsible state authorities. Wild boar trophies (tusks) are usually above 20 cm length. Wild boar is hunted where it occurs in large numbers and causes significant damage for local agriculture.

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The surroundings of Sarichashma offer an impressive variety of landscapes, from gentle hills to narrow gorges. You may be lucky enough to meet some rare wild animals, such as the Markhor or the Urial sheep.

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Practical Information

How to get there?

The conservancy is located at the River Pyanj East of the village Sarichashma/Obiyo and can be approached only with a guide from “Morkhur”. The headquarters of “Morkhur” are located in Obiyo village to be reached from the road Dushanbe – Kulyab, by turning right after the village Tugarak (Vose District), passing a small range and reaching Sarichashma Village. From there you follow the river downwards, partly driving in the riverbed. Ikromov’s yard is located at the upper End of the village.

Even if unclear of obligatory or not, it is recommended to obtain in advance a permit from the Department of Internal Affairs (OVIR UVD) for visiting the border districts of Kulob region, in particular Shuroobod District. This permit can be arranged by "Morkhur", if asked in advance.

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Coordinates: 37.680551 N // 70.005936 E (Kavok village)

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Where to stay

“Morkhur” has a nice and clean guesthouse with one large room in the village Obiyo, south of Sarichashma. Here guests can sleep on cotton mattresses. There is a simple toilet and you can take a shower with hot water in a simple bathroom. The food offered is of local Tajik style and enriched with the local fruits and excellent locally produced honey. In the conservancy, close to the river Pyanj at a place called Bog a ranger post with two rooms, veranda and tenting opportunity is located. Here a generator can be used, but you should bring some gasoline with you. In the mountains you can sleep in your tent, stay in caves known by the local guides or just enjoy the night under the stars.

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 collaborators of Morkhur are good trekking guides and are able to show you the rare wildlife.

Due to the vicinity of the afghan boundary accompaniment by the guides of “Morkhur” 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.

If you use your own vehicle for going into the conservancy or to Kavok village take enough fuel with you. "Roads" are extremely demanding and you will partly have to drive in off-road conditions with very high fuel consumption.

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 Tuychi Ikromov (+992-988-345955) for assistance.