Tajikistan


















Murgab, Tajikistan
N 038 10.424 E 073 58.144 ->
Today: 62.6 °F ( +17 °C)
13 May 2017
29229 km

We spent the night in Murgab at 3 655 meters. Murgab is the first larger village on the Tajiki side. Bert had a light headache and a bit of a trouble to sleep due to the altitude. Not very surpricing. We have climbed from 800 meters to 3 655 meters, with only one night at 3 000 meters in between. That is too a fast ascend.

Today we continued the Pamir Highway. We have been meeting several overlanders today, 1 English guy at a bicycle, 3 Belgian guys at bicycles, 1 Indian guy at a motorcycle, a Frensh couple in a Landrover and a german couple in a big truck. This is unbelievable. Like an overlander convent!

Pamir Highway is starting to feel a little taime for us, now when the tarmac parts of the road starts to show. We felt it was time for a new challenge the Wakhan Valley. All the people we have talked to this far except one has said; no, no, no you cannot travel the Wakhan Valley in a Saab. And it was in the Wakhan Valley the 3 Monkeys got really stuck an had to turn around 2,5 weeks ago, in their big 4-weel truck, with snow chains. See rerun of film clip.

The road was just as bad as everyone said. In some places it was more like a stream than a road. But we did get by in our Saab. We just have to drive very carefully, check out all streams before going in there and get out of the car to clear the road form rocks now and then. See film clip.

In the end of the day we got stuck. We picked up speed to go over a hill and we could not see that the road had caved in until we were stuck there. We slid towards the edge in the sand and we were close to go over the edge. The left part of the road was undermined. It took an hour of hard work to get out of there. We used all the tools we could find; a shovel, car carpets, a high jack etc.




















Wild Camp, Wakhan Valley, Tajikistan
N 037 18.077 E 072 59.617 ->
Today: 77 °F ( +25 °C)
14 May 2017
29402 km

Wild camped in the middle of nowhere just a stone throw a from the Afghan border. The river, 50 meters in front of our car is the border between Afghanistan and Tajikistan. The eastern part of Wakhan Valley completely empty. All we saw was a couple of houses and some camel caravans on the Afghan side. On the Tajiki side nothing. The plan is to follow the Wakhan River and the Afghan border for a couple of days. At lunchtime Josefin & David caught up with us, and we had lunch together.

It was a few days ago since the last shower. In the afternoon we stopped at a waterfall to have much needed shower and to wash our hair.

Guess we have a new record in average speed in a day - only 110 kilometers in one day. The road is really bad and bumpy. We have had an average speed in less than 20 km/hour!

It didnt get any better getting stuck in a sand dune. Too late we realized the length and depth of the dune in the bend. We ran right in to it and could not go back or forth. It was like a mini sandstorm going though the valley throwing up sand on the road. We got sand in our eyes, mouth and ears while trying to get the car out of the sand. But it was impossible. We would have to move 10 cubic of sand.

After a short while some villagers showed up to help us. They were digging and pulling like crazy, but the car didnt move. They called a friend who arrived in a 4-weel drive and pulled us sliding on our belly over the sand. As thanks we gave them the two bottles of vodka we had bought for occasions like this - always appreciated of those who come to our rescue.
















Wild Camp, Wakhan Valley, Tajikistan
N 036 49.247 E 072 02.127 ->
Today: 68 °F ( +20 °C)
15 May 2017
29516 km

English is not widely spoken here. Today we had to take out the picture book to be able to buy some bread.

The road is bad on the Tajiki side but we are really pleased that we are not driving on the Afghan side. They work like crazy to keep the road drivable, taking away snow and repairing parts that the water have washed away.

In the afternoon we reached Garam Chashma Hot Springs. It was lovely to slide down in the hot water. We guess it was close to +40 C. Unfortunately men and women bathe separately.


















Wild Camp, Wakhan Valley, Tajikistan
N 037 12.214 E 071 32.229 ->
Today: 62.6 °F ( +17 °C)
16 May 2017
29636 km

Today we arrived in Khorog. This means we managed to pass the Wakhan Valley safely, and the Wakhan Valley is now considered officially Saabable an expression that the 3 Monkeys made meaning that the road is probably doable with our Saab.

But the Wakhan Valley was exactly as much an adventure that we could handle. If it was just a tiny bit more of a struggle we could not have made it. We were lucky to have good weather and semi dry road most of the time. With rain or snow we would for sure have got stuck badly in our 2-weel drive Saab with only 8,5 cm clearance. But we usually are in luck...


















Jelandy, Tajikistan
N 037 34.530 E 072 34.946 ->
Today: 68 °F ( +20 °C)
17 May 2017
29808 km

Since we took the detour around Wakhan Valley we missed out on a part of the Pamir Highway. We decided to turn back to travel the Pamir Highway we missed. We travelled the 120 kilometers from Khorogh to Jelandy where we took a swim in the hot springs.

The landscape is different here. The mountains are higher and spikier, and the road is asphalt, bumpy, full of potholes but still much better. It is like a dream compared to the Wakhan Valley road.

Along the road we saw a some unusual road signs. Not always that easy to figure out, but some easier than others.
















Wild Camp, Tajikistan
N 038 18.855 E 071 15.015 ->
Today: 77 °F ( +25 °C)
18 May 2017
30088 km

We have travelled along the Afghan border for days now. Mostly we have seen camel and donkey caravans but also helicopters and military jeeps patrolling the border on the Afghan side.

After dusty and sandy roads like this it is nice to have a natural rinse, and the water hammered pretty hard on the roof from a height like this.

The road we travel right now is only a couple of years old and still mostly in a good shape, but also big chunks of it is already washed away. About 100 meters in a bend was compleately gone. And that must have happened recently. And in a lot of places they are working hard to clean it and make it safe from falling rocks by taking away huge rocks that are falling down on the still open road. We just passed this part less than a minute ago. Scary!












Wild Camp, Tajikistan
N 037 52.611 E 069 20.893 ->
Today: 86 °F ( +30 °C)
19 May 2017
30385 km

We arrived at the Guest House in Dushanbe in the morning. Connected to their wifi, finished the Russian visa application and sent it to the Consulate, took the printed and signed copy to the Consulate. We just managed to get in before they closed at 12.30 PM. But for some reason we could now leave our application today. We had to come back on Monday. Always these strange rules. And we never seems understand why?

In the afternoon we went to the garage to make an oil and filter change and to try to get a new hijack. They got us a new one and took the attachment from the old to put on the new one. Great! Then we left our car at the carwash for a more proper cleaning than the waterfall gave it.












Dushanbe, Tajikistan
N 038 33.926 E 068 48.740 ->
Today: 86 °F ( +30 °C)
20 May 2017
30516 km

Yesterday we were the only overanders at Green Hostel, today not so much. First Josefin & David showed up, then an English guy, a couple of German guys, a Dutch couple, an Austrian couple and a French guy. All in or on different viehles. It was completely packed inside the yard and some of them had to park outside the gate.

Today our car got a really good cleaning inside too. It was great to get all the sand out of the car after our adventure in the sand dune a few days ago.














Dushanbe, Tajikistan
N 038 33.926 E 068 48.740 ->
Today: 86 °F ( +30 °C)
21 May 2017
30516 km

A day of just hanging around and listen to travel stories, swop stuff we dont need any more for things we do need, like a sleeping bag for a new map. Also we got time to update our map on the hood with 3 new countries and put a new line of countries on the side of the car.

Some people think that we are a little crazy, but there is always those who are worse - or should we maybe say more dedicated. We met this Italian traveler who told us that he was planning to convert to Islam to be able to get a visa so that he could travel to Saudi Arabia. The only chance to get a visa to Saudi Arabia is for work or pilgrimage.












Dushanbe, Tajikistan
N 038 33.926 E 068 48.740 ->
Today: 91.4 °F ( +33 °C)
22 May 2017
30516 km

Monday and time to go to the Russian Consulate, again. This time we could make the application. We asked for 5 transit days but they gave us only 3. Bummer! But they are very strikt about this. With a transit visa we have to drive 500 kilometers per day every day. And the enter and exit days are fixed, this means that we have to sleep at the Russian border so that we do not loose valuable transit time. For the visa we paid 70 Euro per person.

We have waited 11 days for our letter of invitation (LOI) for Uzbekistan, and still havent got it. We sent an e-mail to the agent to ask about it. They said maybe tomorrow, or maybe the next day...
















Dushanbe, Tajikistan
N 038 33.926 E 068 48.740 ->
Today: 91.4 °F ( +33 °C)
23 May 2017
30516 km

Jackpott today. At 11 AM our LOI showed up. We printed it and got in to a taxi to get to the Uzbekistan embassy before they closed at noon. It only took us 15 minutes to get our visas in our passports. Then we took a new taxi to go to the Russian Consulate to get the transit visa before they closed at 12.30.

Theese are the last two visas for the rest of the trip. So, so nice not to have to do anymore of this. It is very expensive, frustrating and time consuming. During this year we have applied for visas to; Iran, Pakistan x 2, India x 2, China, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan. To even apply for a visa to some of the countries we have to buy in total 5 LOI (letter of invitations). And Pakistani visas can only be applied for in our home country, this mean we had to send our passports back and forth to Sweden two times with courier post. For all this we had paid in total 1 700 Euro. On top of this we paid 800 Euro for the paperwork for the four day transit trough China.
















Dushanbe, Tajikistan
N 038 33.926 E 068 48.740 ->
Today: 91.4 °F ( +33 °C)
24 May 2017
30516 km

This morning our overlander friends left the Guest House one by one. All of us hit the road in different directions. We headed north towards Uzbekistan to stop for the night close to the border, to cross it tomorrow morning when the visa is valid.

When we were climbing a high pass today the car started to boil, not very surprising, +50 C under the hood and a long and very steep uphill. We parked at the roadside and within 30 seconds two cars stopped to ask if we needed any help. People are so friendly and helpful. We let the engine cool down and filled some more water in the cooler and then we could continue our journey.














Wild Camp, Tajikistan
N 040 25.369 E 069 40.399 ->
Today: 93.2 °F ( +34 °C)
25 May 2017
30833 km

The border passage out of Tajikistan was quick and smooth, took only 15 minutes, but in to Uzbekistan it took almost 1,5 hour. The paperwork went smooth, but the very thorough search of the car was a bit too much. Two dogs and 3 custom officers were searching our car like a bee swarm. It felt like they were trying to steal stuff it they got the chance to do so, but we could not see anything missing. But we tried hard to keep track of what they were doing. They even searched our camera and mobile phones for impropriate photos

Arriving in Tashkent we needed to change money. It is the black market that is the shit here. It gives twice the rate the banks do. For 100 US we got a pile of money. The black market guy told us to go home with the cash, since the police can search our bags at any time. With a pile like that and no receipt we could get in trouble.