The Yagnob Valley sparks the imagination of any explorer. This remote, secluded and hardly visited valley has been inhabited for thousands of years by the Yagnobis, thought to be the last remaining people to speak the ancient Sogdian language. Only a few still live in this virtually untouched part of the world.
You will follow the course of the river, passing along mountain slopes fringed with wild alpine flowers. The trekking opportunities in Yagnob are vast but most of the treks are moderate and advanced due to the steep and challenging passes. The Tabaspin and Rost passes that lead to the Upper Zerafshan Valley are frequently blocked by avalanches and snow. In addition, there is some difficulty in terms of arranging donkeys and local donkey handlers.
That being said, it is possible to do an easy trek, staying overnight at a local family house. As you can easily do this with a light backpack, there will be no need to have a donkey handler or a donkey. These accommodations are not official guesthouse or homestays, but they are run by friendly owners who are always happy to host travelers. If possible, it is best to reserve your accommodation in advance because there are only two free rooms suitable for hosting in each of these local houses.
You meet you guide and driver in Dushanbe/Khujand/Penjikent and start journey towards Yagnob over the Anzob mountain pass, Overnight at the guesthouse in Margeb (135km , 3 hours). The village is located in dramatic location surrounded by jagged peaks, with the giant Zamin-Karor rock wall looming over it from behind.
The starting point for this trek is Margib, a village pinned against the rock face of Zamin Karor, with jagged peaks looming all around. You will hike east along the bottom of the river valley to Bedev – the first Yagnobi village – which typically takes around seven hours. Even this close to ‘civilization’, the people are cut off by ice and snowfall for six months of the year, and the road along the valley floor is little more than a dirt track.
Distance: 7 hours (18 km)
Accommodation: Overnight at Ibrahim’s family house
The first part of today’s trek is an easy stroll along the banks of the Yagnob River. The path winds its way through three mountain villages and over a couple of small bridges before heading towards the right hand side of the valley. You will reach the village of Garman by the afternoon, where you will stay in the Sanginmurod’s family house. The village is split in two: Upper Garmen and Lower Garmen, and there two families in each. They are friendly, keen to talk and introduce you to their traditions, even if you only share a handful of words in common.
Distance: 12km, 7 hours, +600m/-450m
Accommodation: Overnight at Sanginmurod’s family house
Today, we will have an opportunity to hike to the most remote village in the southern section of the Yagnob Valley, tucked within a beautiful alpine meadow. Explore two small villages commonly called Qul, home to just five local families. For an authentic experience, you will be hosted at Hussein’s family house for lunch before trekking down to the Pskan village to spend the night at Saidmurod’s homestay.
Distance: 13km, 6 hours +450/-350m
Accommodation: Overnight at Saidmurod’s homestay
Alternatively, you can end your trek here and get transferred back to Dushanbe or your next destination.
After exploring Pskan – the biggest village in the valley – we head to the last village in the Yagnob Valley, approaching from the eastern side, which is inhabited by Tajiks. On the way, we will pass through a few interesting villages, some of them abandoned since the villagers were relocated by the Soviets to work on the cotton fields in the 1950s. In the late afternoon, we will reach Kirronte to spend the night, a peaceful village that is home to just three families.
Distance: 11km, 5 hours, +630m/-440m
Accommodation: Overnight at Kirronte village
After breakfast, we will follow the zigzag of the path down to the Yagnob Gorge where our
driver will be waiting to transfer us to Dushanbe/Khujand/Penjikent. En-route, we will have lunch in Pskan village before meeting our driver on the other side of the bridge.
NOTE: It will be possible to drive to some of these villages by jeep as soon as the bridge in the Yagnob gorge is built. The Yagnobi people have attempted to build it for several years but it has been delayed by a lack of finances or weather disease caused by an increased water level in the Yagnob River.
- 2 persons – 720 USD per person
- 3 persons – 570 USD per person
- 4 persons – 480 USD per person
- English speaking guide
- Full board meals
- All permits and taxes
- Visa fee
- Alcoholic beverage
- Travel Insurance
- Gratuities to guides and drivers
- Backpack (+50kg)
- sleeping bag
- trekking sticks
- trekking shoes
- warm and windproof clothes
- rain jacket and pants
- stock of clothes
- First-aid kit
- personal care products
- sleeping bag (possible to rent)
- personal crockery (bowl, mug, spoon)
- other personal items you may need during the trip
Food and drinks:
A typical Tajikistan meal is a sumptuous affair with appetizers and soups, exquisite preparations of meat and specially cooked rice. Many indigenous soups are also prepared in Tajikistan. Tea is the most common drink among the inhabitants of Tajikistan, although many restaurants also serve wine, beer and vodka.
The team will be accompanied by a cook while trekking who will prepare freshly cooked, high-energy food with a blend of Tajik and Western flavours.
Cultural and social etiquette
Men typically salute each other with handshakes and women typically salute women with hugs. With opposite sex the greeting is made only by putting the right hand on the heart.
In the countryside, people wear in traditional clothes. We do not recommend not to bring, shorts, tank tops/singlets and any types of clothes with bare shoulders, above the knee and backs
Make sure that you ask permission for visiting mosques and shrines from locals if the guide is not near
Ask permission to take photo of someone. Usually, people do not mind if you take the photo of them, but respect their wishes if they refuse. Offer to send hard copy them, we will assist you to keep your promise.
Bargaining is expected in the bazaars but not in places like department stores.