Visit Afghanistan, Untamed Borders

Untamed Borders Spring Newsletter 2021

In this issue:

  • A Note from James
  • Upcoming trips
  • Countries we can travel to
  • Instagram Live Series

A Note from James Willcox, Founder

“I am the first female tour guide in Afghanistan, but I’m determined not to be the last. I thought that Afghanistan was not a safe place for a woman to be a tour guide, but now I realise I am the one who has to create this safe space.” 
– Fatima, our guide in Herat, Afghanistan.

At Untamed Borders we strongly believe that our trips are only a success if they not only benefit our guests, but also the communities and regions we visit. That is why we were so happy to welcome Fatima, a new guide to our team in Afghanistan in 2020. As far as we know, Fatima is the only female guide in Afghanistan, and I am really pleased to say that you can now travel with her on our group Afghanistan departures coming up this May, as well as on any private trip to Afghanistan.

Fatima’s story made headlines and was recently featured in CNN, The Independent, The Telegraph and many more. We hope that she becomes the first of many women to pave the way and break into the guiding space in Afghanistan. At Untamed Borders we are usually one of the only travel companies working in a region so we have a special responsibility to set the right tone for tourism. We want to offer equal opportunity and training, and employing women to inspire future generations is a huge step forward. Working as a tour guide not only provides financial independence, but also language and leadership skills too.

In other news, I guided our first group tour of the Covid-era to Yemen earlier this month and we arranged our first trip to the remote Las Canood region of Somaliland. We have more great travel ideas in this newsletter, including trekking the Wakhan corridor this summer and visiting Iraq.

If that doesn’t excite you, then look out for our new trip to Balochistan this winter. As with Fatima, we believe that if something does not exist then we have to create it ourselves. We think we will be the first international commercial trip to the region for over a decade!

Happy travels,


Upcoming Trips


Join us in Yemen this coming winter, the country at the crossroads of trade and cultures between the Middle East and Africa. Our 6-day trip visits the main sights of the Hadramut region of Yemen including spectacular Shibam, the old city and Sultans palace in Al Mukalla, and the delicate mud built towns and villages Wadi Dawan. We also have a group trip to the beautiful Yemeni island of Socotra, known as “the Galapagos of the Middle East” departing this November.

Iraq – Cradle of Civilisation 

In March visas were made available on arrival in Iraq for 36 nations. So why not join our Autumn departure, a 9-day trip into the heartland of Iraq, travelling the region bound by the Euphrates and Tigris rivers. Tracing back through history, we will travel to the centre of some of humanity’s first civilisations, visiting the ancient Sumerian site of Ur, ancient Babylon, and the riches preserved at the National Museum of Iraq.

Trek the Wakhan

Join us on this epic 22-day journey to trek the famous Wakhan Corridor, visiting the land of one of the world’s last and least visited nomadic cultures: the Kyrgyz of the Afghan Pamir. This is a rare opportunity to trek one of the most geographically stunning regions on earth, a once great section of the Silk Road. With travel restrictions being eased in Tajikistan, this trip is the perfect way to get away from it all this summer.

Countries we can Travel to

For those of you able to travel right now, please note we can currently guide you in the following destinations:

  • Afghanistan (including a marathon trip this Autumn, and group trips in May, October, September and November)
  • Pakistan (Including group trips in May and November)
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Uzbekistan
  • Tajikistan (including a group trekking trip in August)
  • Iraq (including a group trip in October)
  • Yemen (including a group trip in November)
  • Ethiopia (including a group trip in November)
  • Central African Republic
  • Sudan
  • South Sudan (including a group trip in March 2022 – dates announced soon)
  • Somalia (including group trips in November and Mogadishu Add On)

On these trips we ensure that our guests are up to date with any entry requirements and they also make themselves aware of any re-entry travel requirements when they return home. In addition, all our trips comply with local public health protocols and we also ensure our staff and guests follow general WHO guidelines.

Instagram Live Series

This year we launched a new series of Instagram Live chats, where we talk to some incredible people that we’ve had the pleasure of working with or guiding in some of the world’s most interesting places.

Each week, James is joined by someone who we have arranged travel for or worked with, including award winning photographers and film makers, extreme marathon runners, intrepid travellers aiming to visit every country in the world and experts on some of the least visited corners of the globe.

To catch up and get some inspiration for your next adventure, head over to our Instagram TV.

If you would like to talk to us about anything mentioned in this newsletter then please do get in touch.

We hope to see you all on an Untamed Borders adventure at some point in the not too distant future.

The Untamed Borders Team

April 2021