Wildlife and tourism in Tajikistan

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
Home Tourism in Zighar

Zighar at a glance

The conservancy of the private company “M-Sayod” was formally established in 2004 by Davlatkhon Mulloyorov and his family from Zighar village. Being concerned about the rapid decline of the screw horned goat in the areas adjacent to their village, caused by relentless poaching, already in the early 1990s they stopped any poaching and started active protection. Now the area represents the best preserved nature in the entire Darvaz Range  and beyond and inhabits viable populations of the globally endangered Tajik markhor and other rare and endangered wild animals as well as a variety of plant species.

The protection is exclusively financed by own means of the company and by support from private sponsors. Strictly controlled trophy hunts on single old male markhor provide and revenues from tourism the necessary means for nature protection and social-economic development of the local community.

alt

alt

Tourism opportunities

You can just have a rest in the camp located above the Devdara (Guldara) Gorge, half the way between Dushanbe and Khorog, and enjoy local hospitality and the nice fruit garden in scenic landscape.
At several places you can observe rare wildlife, either from points close to the main road or – more demanding – up in the mountains. With the assistance of experienced guides you have goo

d opportunities to take pictures of the rare markhor and other animals (own photo equipment with large focal length lenses required, in Summer up to 7 days necessary, from 20 November till 31 March up to 3 days sufficient). The best time for photo safaris is during the rut of markhor and ibex in late November/early December.

Trekking is possible in the entire area for several days and at treks hardly beaten by any tourist before.

M-Sayod offers as well professionally organized hunting tours on wild boar and ibex. All tours are 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 18 cm length and ibex trophies horns are above 105 cm. Wild boar is usually hunted in a neighbouring area where it occurs in large numbers and causes significant damage for local agriculture. Ibex are offered only in very limited numbers to avoid negative impact on the population which also serves as an important prey for the snow leopard.

What to experience?

Already close to the camp you forget the dusty road and find clean water in channels and waterfalls, flowers, trees, fruits, songbirds. Working up into the mountains you pass fruit gardens and woodlands of almond, Judas-tree and pistachio. Further up there are the dark green and fragrant juniper stands with plenty of various herbs in between. During spring and early summer the area is full of flowers and depending on season and altitude you will enjoy tulips, foxtail lilies, peonies and others. There are as well small pieces of deciduous forests composed of maple and sometimes walnut. In some areas you find large forbs with fine dispersed leaves and umbrellas of yellow flowers – the yugan (scientific Prangos), an umbellifera contact with it causes serious burning symptoms at the skin!

The landscape is scenic with rugged cliffs, gentle slopes with alpine meadows, waterfalls, and further up the snow capped peaks of mount Kuhi Furush.

The area is full of interesting wildlife. In the first place there is to mention the magnificent screw-horned goat or markhor with a local population numbering at more than 500. Further you have good chances to see the endangered Tienshan or isabelline brown bear. Even the snow leopard can be observed here with some luck and patience. Other species regularly observed include ibex, wild boar, golden eagle, Himalayan vulture, peregrine falcon (shahin), Steward’s bunting and many other song birds. The presence of the nocturnal porcupine is indicated by the black and white bristles and its paths in the vegetation

alt

Practical Information

How to get there?

The conservancy is located between the Yakhshipun valley (close to the administrative border Khatlon province/GBAO) and Zighar Village. Coming from Khorog you turn right a narrow gravel road at the first opportunity after the Devdara Gorge (Guldara) and you arrive straight at the camp. Coming from Dushanbe, the junction is just after a steep ascent following the Yakshipun Gorge (camp of road construction company).

JavaScript must be enabled in order for you to use Google Maps.
However, it seems JavaScript is either disabled or not supported by your browser.
To view Google Maps, enable JavaScript by changing your browser options, and then try again.

Coordinates: 38.01206 N // 70.33156 E

Where to stay

M-Sayod has a nice and clean guesthouse with three rooms where guests can sleep on cotton mattresses. There is a clean toilet and you can take a shower under a small waterfall. A new guesthouse with more advanced facilities is under construction and will open soon. The food offered is good and enriched with the local fruits and excellent locally produced honey. There are as well two ranger posts and the house of Mulloyorov’s family where guests can stay. In the mountains you can sleep in your tent or just enjoy the night under the stars.

Guides

It is recommended to refrain from trekking by your own in the conservancy’s mountains. The hillsides are steep and treks can easily be lost. The collaborators of M-Sayod are good trekking guides and are able to show you the rare wildlife. For treks with significant luggage donkeys can be found.

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 lense. 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.