Wednesday, 20 June 2018

The Allure of the Sahara...

Ask anyone who has been to Marrakech and they will tell you about the hustle and bustle of the city, the fantastic amalgamation of sights, sounds and smells. The vibrant colours and lively atmosphere as you pass through the souks, perusing spices, textiles and pottery. Morocco’s ‘Red City’ as it is often known due to the colour of the walls that surround the old town, is a hive of activity with a juxtaposition of old and new. It is a great city to visit but can be a bit of a sensory overload!

Life in the desert is different. There is a calm; a tranquil silence that is only disturb by the sound of scarab beetles or a camel’s call. It doesn’t take too long before you begin to feel a disconnect from the often stressful modern world and start to reconnect with the natural landscape, a landscape that has existed for millions of years. To stand on this ancient ground and watch the sun set over the dunes is high on many people’s Bucket Lists and it’s easy to understand why! These are just some of the reasons why we love going to the Sahara Desert. 

In the desert you will meet the Tuareg, Berber people who lead a traditionally nomadic lifestyle. They are very welcoming people who are a fountain of knowledge when it comes to life in the desert. Their navigational skills are incredible, using the stars at night and natural landmarks (that are often missed by the untrained eye) throughout the day to navigate through the desert. For the survivalists - they can tell you what you can and can't eat in the desert (Tip: It’s never the plant you think you would be able to eat!) and how to find water. Their culture is fascinating and their songs and stories have been passed down from their ancestors who have lived in the world’s largest, hottest desert for a great length of time. 

 Our Sahara Trek is an ideal trip for those who are looking for a short adventure and a break from the hustle and bustle of modern life. Although trekking over large dunes in the heat of the desert can be challenging the views from the top are worth it. At night you will stay in a beautiful desert camp where you will enjoy amazing traditional food, Berber music and a great atmosphere whilst surrounded by the spectacular Saharan night sky. Whether you choose to take part in the challenge to raise money for a charity of your choice or to tick the Sahara Desert off your Bucket List, this will be an experience you never forget! 

For more information about our Sahara Desert Trek (3rd-8th February 2019) click here 

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

A 'FANNtastic' Trek in an exciting, lesser known destination...

The Fann Mountains in north western Tajikistan are becoming a popular place for trekkers who are looking for something a bit different to the usual travel destinations. This mountainous, landlocked country in Central Asia shares borders with Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, China and Afghanistan and offers high peaks and stunning lakes as part of its breathtaking vistas.

Our ‘Tajikistan Fann Mountains and Lakes Trek’ in September 2019 involves trekking over high passes, past spectacular lakes and nights under canvas with the magnificent Fann Mountains as a backdrop.

Although it is increasing in popularity as a travel destination some people may not know much about Tajikistan, so we have compiled some interesting facts about this lesser known country and what is involved in our ‘FANNtastic’ trek.

We start our journey in Dushanbe, the capital and largest city of Tajikistan. Dushanbe means ‘Monday’ in Tajik (the official language of Tajikistan) which became the capital’s name as it grew from a small village that used to have a popular market on Mondays. Here you can visit museums, see the Palace of Nations, experience the culture and enjoy the tranquillity of Rudaki Park with its beautiful tree canopy, flower gardens, lakes and fountains. It is also home to the second highest flagpole in the world, standing at 163m, and the Rudaki Statue in honour of the nation’s most revered poet.

Tajikistan is certainly a mountainous country, with 93 percent of its surface area covered by mountains and more than half of the country is over 3000m above sea level. These mountains contain a number of glaciers, the largest being the Fedchenko Glacier in the Pamir Mountains which, covering over 700 square kilometres, is the largest glacier in the world outside the polar regions.
Our trek begins in the Fann Mountains, part of the western Pamir-Alay mountain system that is located in the northwest of the country. 

The area has become one of the largest tourist attractions in Tajikistan and it’s no surprise why. With lofty peaks, high passes and a number of alluring lakes, the views are breath-taking with many opportunities for trekking and climbing. The largest mountain in this range is Chimtarga peak standing at 5,489 m. The highest mountain in the country can be found further east in the Pamir Mountains. Standing at 7,494m (24,590ft) it was initially named Stalin Peak in 1933 (after Joseph Stalin) before being renamed in 1962 as Communism Peak. Today it is known as ‘Ismoil Somoni Peak’ to commemorate a former ruler of the Samanid dynasty.

The Fann Mountains features about 100 mountains many of which we will see as we trek over high passes before dropping back down to the valleys passing lakes of shimmering emerald green, turquoise and blue. With about 2% of the country’s area covered by lakes they feature widely in this area and throughout our trek we will experience some of the most beautiful ones, each with its own charm. After a long day travelling from Dushanbe we reach Pendjikent Margozur Lake where we will have time to relax by the lake and take in the views before sleeping under canvas in preparation to start the trek the next day.

Over the next 10 days the trek will involve a west to eastern traverse of the Fann Mountains, taking us over high passes such as Guitan Pass (2,650m), Govhona Pass (3,200m) and Alouddin Pass (3,860m). Each pass will provide magnificent views of the surrounding area including the high peaks. As we descend to the valleys below we will walk along rivers and to some of the most stunning lakes such as Kulikalon on the northern slope of Chimtarga peak, Alauddin with its clear and cool waters and Mutnoe Lake, surrounded by the highest peaks of the Fann mountains, including Chimtarga (5489m) and Energia (5120m). As we trek we will be keeping our eyes peeled for local flora and fauna such as mountains goats, marmot, eagles, wolves and foxes. If we are really lucky we may even spot the elusive snow leopard on the high peaks!

The days will be spent trekking throughout a stunning landscape, meeting friendly locals along the way and experiencing the food and culture of the people of the Fanns. Both their language and culture has been preserved ever since their ancestors lived here thousands of years ago when villages were placed near rivers.

Nights will be spent relaxing by the lakes, taking in the views and enjoying the local food before heading to our tents for a peaceful night’s sleep surrounded by nature.

As our trekking days come to an end we will be transported back to Dushanbe where we will enjoy the luxury of staying in a hotel after 11 nights camping! Here we will enjoy a celebratory meal and share stories and experiences of the trek before we head home the next day.

This is a fabulous trek to a spectacular location in a lesser known destination. If you are looking for a trek that offers something a bit different from the norm whilst being surrounded by nature and mountains with a great group of people this is ideal for you! One not to be missed, that’s for sure!

Your adventure find out more about the itinerary and to book click here.

Should you have and further questions about this trek please feel free to get in touch with our Expedition Wise Team by emailing We will be more than happy to help.