Afghanistan Central Route

from
$4,500

An immersive 15 days exploration of Central and Southern Afghanistan. This 2000km road trip gives the visitor an insight into both the rural life of the Central highlands of Afghanistan and the rarely visited Pashtun heartlands of the south of the country.

 

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  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
      Culture
    • Activity Level Moderate
      3/8
    • Group Size Medium Group
      10
    All about the Afghanistan Central Route.

    An immersive exploration of Central and Southern Afghanistan. This 2000km road trip gives the visitor an insight into both the rural life of the Central highlands of Afghanistan and the rarely visited Pashtun heartlands of the south of the country.

    We start in Kabul before taking the bone jarring Central route to Herat. En route stopping at Bamian, the lakes of Band e Amir and the iconic minaret of Jam. We pause for breath in Herat, the most architecturally complete city in Afghanistan. Then we follow the southern road stopping at the ancient city of Bost in Helmand, the ancient Afghan capital of Kandahar and the great city of Ghazni with its fort and 1000 year old towers.

    The majority of these regions have been impossible to visit for two decades due to security concerns.

    Highlights:

    • Discover the remains of the Buddhas of Bamian
    • Drive the Central Route and camp beneath the fabled Minaret of Jam
    • Explore the Pashtun heartlands of Ghazni, Kandahar and Helmand

     

    Start Point: Islamabad, Pakistan
    End Point:  Kabul, Afghanistan
    Maximum number of people: 10

    The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
    What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.
    • All accommodation
    • Breakfast
    • Transport/transfers
    • Guiding – One Afghan and one international guide.
    • One international flight (Islamabad – Kabul)
    • Visa support
    What is not included in this tour?Items that are not included in the cost of tour price.
    • Any necessary visas (Afghan visa in Peshawar should cost $80)
    • Insurance
    • International flights
    • Entrance fees
    • Lunch & Dinner
    • Drinks
    • Tips
    • Any additional flights needed in Afghanistan that may be necessary due to security concerns.
    1. Day 1 Islamabad - Peshawar

      Arrival early in the morning.
      Flights must arrive at 0730 or earlier.

      Transfer to Peshawar.

      Submit Afghan visa application and collect visa later that day.
      City tour of Peshawar if there is time.

      Overnight in Peshawar.

    2. Day 2 Peshawar - Islamabad - Kabul

      Drive from Peshawar to Islamabad via Taxila.
      Fly from Islamabad to Kabul.

      Overnight in Kabul.

    3. Day 3 Kabul

      A full day in Kabul to ensure we get all the necessary paperwork for the journey.
      (At the time of writing this is slightly onerous but if it simplifies, we will move on from Kabul on this day.)

      Overnight in Kabul.

    4. Day 4 Kabul - Bamian

      Drive between Kabul and Bamian, the capital of the Hazarajat. When we arrive in Bamian we will have time to look at the hillsides containing many caves in which monasteries and Buddhist carvings were once situated.

      Overnight in Bamian.

    5. Day 5 Bamian – Band e Amir - Bamian

      Day trip to Band e Amir.

      The lapis lazuli blue waters of Band-e-Amir are often the highlight of any trip to Afghanistan. Legend has it that the dams that separate the 5 lakes were made by Ali, the prophet Mohamed’s cousin and son-in-law. However, geologists insist they are natural dams made from mineral deposits. The lakes contrast to the stark landscape surrounding them only adds to the beauty of this area.

      Overnight in Bamian.

    6. Day 6 Bamian – Chagcharan

      Drive Bamian to Chagcharan.
      The majority of this drive will be on very bad roads.

      Overnight in Chagcharan.

    7. Day 7 - 8 Chagcharan – Minaret of Jam - Herat

      We have two days to drive from Chagcharan to Herat via the Minaret of Jam.

      This will be done on very rough roads. We hope that the night will be spent camping underneath the stars at the minaret of Jam.
      If not, we will stay in a basic local Chaikhana, or teahouse.

      Overnight in Herat.

    8. Day 9 Herat

      Full day in Herat.

      Herat has the largest collection of ancient buildings in Afghanistan, and we will take a full day to explore the city and its surroundings including the Friday Mosque, the Tomb of Gowar Shad, the Masullah Complex and the atmospheric shrine of Khoja Ansari at Gazar Gah.

      Overnight in Herat.

    9. Day 10 Herat – Lashkar Gah

      Drive from Herat to Lashkar Gah in Helmand province.

      This will be a full day’s drive.

      Overnight in Lashgar Gah.

    10. Day 11 Lashkar Gah – Kandahar

      Visit the Bost arch in Lashgar Gah in the morning.

      Then drive to Kandahar in the afternoon.

      Overnight in Kandahar.

    11. Day 12 Kandahar

      Visit Kandahar.

      The old capital of Afghanistan has several interesting sights including Chil Zena, (the 40 steps carved out the rock by the Mughal emperor Babur), the tomb of Ahmed Shah Durrani, the mosque of the cloak of the prophet and the covered bazaar.

      Overnight in Kandahar.

    12. Day 13 Kandahar – Ghazni

      Drive from Kandahar to Ghazni.

      The city was the capital of the great Ghaznafid empire that ruled the region 1000 years ago.
      Visit the towers and the fort of Ghazni.

      Overnight in Ghazni.

    13. Day 14 Ghazni - Kabul

      Drive from Ghazni to Kabul in the morning.

      Visit some sights of Kabul in the afternoon.

      Overnight in Kabul.

    14. Day 15 Kabul - End

      Transfer to airport.
      End of trip.

    Accommodation

    We do not and cannot offer a uniform accommodation standard on our itineraries. We consider comfort, location, design, character, historical interest and whether the money we spend will go into the pockets of the local community when we make our choices of where to stay.

    The accommodation will be based on 2 people sharing.

    An optional single supplement is available upon request, for an additional cost of $600 per person.

    The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance.
    Included in the price:
    • All accommodation
    • Breakfast
    • Transport/transfers
    • Guiding – One Afghan and one international guide.
    • One international flight (Islamabad – Kabul)
    • Visa support
    Not included in the price:
    • Any necessary visas (Afghan visa in Peshawar should cost $80)
    • Insurance
    • International flights
    • Entrance fees
    • Lunch & Dinner
    • Drinks
    • Tips
    • Any additional flights needed in Afghanistan that may be necessary due to security concerns.

    We do not directly arrange international flights to Afghanistan or Pakistan. We can suggest routes and operators.

    We do not arrange Afghanistan visas directly. We will provide visa support in the form of Letters of Invitation to assist in your Afghanistan visa application in Peshawar on the first day.

    We can provide visa support for the Pakistan e-visa which is requirement for travel to Pakistan.

     

    Please note, visas for Afghanistan are currently not easily obtained via most embassies. However, with the return of international travel the visa process may suddenly change.
    At the moment, the easiest and most reliable place to get Afghans visas is at the consulate in Peshawar, Pakistan. All our trips include a night in Pakistan, allowing our guests to obtain their visa just before entering Afghanistan.
    It is also possible to obtain the visa in Dubai ahead of travel.

    Please contact us for further information.

     

     

    With the exception of breakfast, meals are not included as part of the trip. In our experience people sometimes want to eat different things in different places at different times. We know some great places and will also happily show you some of our favourite restaurants and tea houses. Some are luxurious, some are earthier, but all have character. However, we do not pretend to be the arbiters of good taste and are equally happy for you to go off and find your own favourites.

    In Afghanistan, we take at least 2 vehicles when driving between towns if there is a big group, for safety reasons. If there is a breakdown we will not be left stranded. When we choose our vehicles and drivers we take into consideration the road conditions, the length of journey and the competence of the man behind the wheel (not a laughing matter in a country that should be the setting for a live-action version of the Wacky Races). Your comfort and enjoyment of the journey is the first priority.

    On this trip you will be accompanied by 2 team leaders from. This allows for greater security and means that there will always be someone on hand to help or assist you even if the other team leader is busy arranging something.

    Sometimes we also hire local guides. If we are a large group, we may wish to split into smaller groups for city tours to allow greater flexibility and keep a lower profile. An extra local guide allows us to do that.

    Trips to Afghanistan do create dangers all of their own and whilst we want you to have as much freedom as possible, we must state that the tour leader has the final word with regards to changes in the itinerary for safety reasons. Whilst the route we have chosen passes through areas that we consider to be stable things can change and we may have to alter the route or cancel sections of the trip at short notice.

    If there is an extra expense incurred due to the change of itinerary, then you may be asked to bear part of that cost. For example, if we have to fly between cities rather than drive this may occur an additional cost.

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    Package Confirmed Dates Trip Status Trip Status Price (PP) Excluding Flights Price (PP) Including Flights  
    April 30, 2023 - May 14, 2023
    Available to Book
    $4,500
    N/A
    September 24, 2023 - October 8, 2023
    Available to Book
    $4,500
    N/A