Lahore, Pakistan

Mountains & Mughals – Pakistan

Date: 21st September – 3rd October 2018

13 days visiting the best of the awe-inspiring Karakorum mountain range of Northern Pakistan as well as exploring Lahore, one of the sub-continents great cities. First stop is the Hunza valley, exploring the rope bridges of Husseini, Passu glacier and learning about life in the high mountains of Pakistan. Then we’ll take one of life’s great road trips, the Karakorum Highway, back to Islamabad and on to Lahore, Pakistan’s cultural capital with it’s spectacuar Mughal architecture and teeming street life.

Highlights:

  • Explore the wonderful Hunza valley
  • Cross Husseini rope bridge
  • Drive the legendary Karakorum Highway
  • Explore the Mughal city of Lahore

Start point  – Islamabad
End point   – Lahore
Maximum number of people: 10


Day 1 – Islamabad
Friday 21st September 2018
After meeting you from the airport and checking in to your Guesthouse, we will take a short tour of Islamabad.
Overnight in Islamabad.

Day 2 – Fly from Islamabad to Gilgit. Transfer to Hunza.
Saturday 22nd September 2018
We will catch a scenic flight over the heart of the Karakorum to Gilgit. From there we will join the famous Karakorum highway and head to the fabled Hunza valley. We then use Hunza as a base for exploring the surrounding area.
Overnight in Hunza.
(If the flight is delayed then we will take two full days to drive to Hunza)

Day 3 – Hunza
Sunday 23rd September 2018
A day in and around Karimabad, the capital of the Hunza valley.
We will visit the ancient forts of Baltit and Altit, the traditional residences of the Mirs of Hunza.
(If the flight on day 2 is cancelled then one of these days will be spent driving from Islamabad to Hunza)
Overnight in Hunza.

Day 4 – Hunza – Sost
Monday 24th September 2018
Drive from Hunza to Sost. The route passes the newly formed Attabad Lake. The 30 km long lake was only formed in 2010 after a massive landslide dammed the mighty Hunza river. You will also be able to cross the nerve-jangling rope bridge at Husseini and view the Passu glacier.
Overnight in Sost.

Day 5 – Sost – Khunjerab – Hunza
Tuesday 25th September
We will drive to the top of the Khunjerab Pass and the border to China. The pass, at 4693 metres is the highest paved land border in the world.
Return to Hunza.
Overnight in Hunza.

Days 6 & 7 – Phandur – Gilgit – Hunza
Wednesday 26th -Thursday 27th September 2018
We have two more days of trips planned in Hunza. However, you may want to do nothing more than sit under an apricot tree, watch the mountains and read a book.
This includes taking a walk on the high irrigation channels cut into the rock, giving tremendous views and an insight into how the people of Hunza created their Shangri-La.
Overnight in Hunza.

Day 8 – Hunza – Naran
Friday 28th September 2018
A long days drive from Hunza to Naran.
The first section will be on the Karakorum highway where we pass the point where the 3 great mountain ranges meet. After passing between the Himalayas, the Karakorum and the Hindu Kush we leave the Karakorum Highway and cross the 4000 metre high Babasur Pass before breaking our journey in Naran in the Kaghan valley.
Overnight in Naran.

Day 9 – Naran – Islamabad
Saturday 29th September 2018
Another day spent enjoying the scenery of the Kaghan valley and the final section of the Karakorum highway.
Overnight in Islamabad.

Day 10 – Islamabad – Lahore
Sunday 30th September 2018
A days drive from Islamabad to Lahore. Stopping en route at the UNESCO world heritage site of Rohtas fort. Once in Lahore, you can eat at one of the famous barbeque restaurants.
Overnight in Lahore.

Days 11 & 12 – Lahore
Monday 1st – Tuesday 2nd October 2018
You will have two full days in and around Lahore. You will be able to spend time in the narrow alleyways of the old city including the largest medieval mosque in the world, the awesome Badshahi mosque. You will also have the option to visit the Shalimar Gardens, the Lahore museum, Wazir Khan mosque, Shahi Hamam, Lahore Fort and Jahangir tomb.
Another day might be spent outside of Lahore getting a taste of Punjabi rural life.
We will also head out of Lahore in the afternoon to the Indian border at Wagah to witness the daily flag ceremony. Huge crowds gather to watch the Indian and Pakistani border guards lower their flags.
Accommodation in Lahore

Day 13 – Lahore – Home
Wednesday 3rd October 2018
Transfer to airport and fly home.


You will be accompanied by 2 team leaders from Untamed Borders for the entire length of this trip.

The trip includes:

  • All accommodation
  • Breakfast
  • Transport
  • Guiding
  • One internal flight between Islamabad and Gilgit

The trip does not include:

  • Any necessary visas
  • Insurance
  • Flights to Pakistan
  • Entrance fees
  • Lunch & Dinner
  • Drinks
  • Tips

Cost – US$2850
To reserve a place on this trip we need a deposit of US$400
If you have any questions about this trip or about Pakistan in general please contact us.

Flights:
We do not directly arrange international flights to Pakistan. We can suggest routes and operators.
You can also contact the Untamed Borders dedicated team at Flight Centre for suggested routes.
Mail: untamedborders@rtwexperts.co.uk
Phone: +44(0) 844 560 9966

Visas:
We do not arrange Pakistan visas directly. We will provide visa support in the form of letters of invitation to assist in your Pakistan visa application.

If you are based in the UK then we recommend Travcour as an agent for your visa requirements. They are UK’s oldest leading travel visa specialist and able to provide full visa support and consultancy for Untamed Border’s destinations. Click here to obtain our specialist visa packages and support from Travcour. They are the people we use when we need visa support for our staff.

Food:
We include breakfast every day. We also include some other meals in remote areas where stated on the itinerary. In our experience people sometimes want to eat different things in different places at different times and when there is an option we will be happy for you to have your say. We know some great places and will also happily show you some of our favourite restaurants and tea houses. Some are luxurious, some are more earthy 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. However, when restaurants are unavailable, such as when we are camping at the Shandur Pass or living in a Kalasha guesthouse, we ensure that food is provided.

Accommodation:
We do not and cannot offer a uniform accommodation standard on our itineraries. Even if we wanted to, the reality is that standards in Islamabad cannot be compared to a Kalasha guesthouse in an isolated valley in the Hindu Kush. 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.

Transport:
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. Most of the roads on this trip are paved although the state of the surface can vary. In the Hunza valley the roads are sometimes very bad and we will be in jeeps for this section. Your comfort and enjoyment of the journey is the first priority.

Guides:
On this trip, you will be accompanied by 2 team leaders from Untamed Borders. This allows for greater flexibility 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.
It also means we can split into 2 groups should there be a differing of opinion on what we want to do on a particular day.

Security:
The far North of Pakistan in Gilgit and Hunza are currently stable areas. However, we monitor the situation closely and we listen very carefully to advice from the foreign office and from our friends in the areas we visit. Our client’s safety is our primary concern. 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 which 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.

Note that in Chitral we will have a police escort with us to comply with local police regulations.

Horn of Africa trip - April 2018

Horn of Africa – Ethiopia and Somaliland – Autumn 2018

Date: 2nd October – 13th October 2018

An exploration into some of the wilder parts of Ethiopia plus Somaliland.

We begin in Ethiopia on a road trip through the otherworldly Danakil Depression. Passing through the hottest inhabited place on earth, visiting the lava lake at Erta Ale and witnessing the life of the salt mining Afar nomads that live in this otherwise inhospitable climate. Whilst in Tigray in the north of Ethiopia we’ll visit some of the most spectacularly located rock churches you’ll ever see. For classical history buffs, Axum is a gem. Relics from this ancient empire are still being discovered.

Then we’ll fly to the east of Ethiopia to the ancient walled city of Harar, exploring the narrow alleyways where wild Hyenas still wander. Finally, we will cross into the de-facto independent state of Somaliland to see the stunning cave paintings at Las Geel and enjoy the atmosphere in the Somaliland capital Hargeisa.

Then, for the truly intrepid, add on an extra 48 hours in Mogadishu with our experienced guide and security team.

Highlights:

  • Experience the Danakil Depression – the hottest inhabited place on earth
  • Feed wild Hyenas at dusk in ancient Harar
  • Visit Axum. Home of the Queen of Sheba and believed to be the resting place of the Ark of the Covenant
  • Explore one of the world’s least visited countries – Somaliland

Start point: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
End point: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Maximum number of people: 8


Day 1 Arrive in Addis Ababa
Tuesday 2nd October 2018
Arrive in Addis.
You will have an optional tour of the city depending on arrival time. This could include a trip to the Archeological Museum (where you can meet 3.25 million-year-old Lucy), the Holy Trinity Cathedral, the Ethnological Museum (the former residence of His Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie) and Mercato – the largest open-air market in Africa.
Guests planning on collecting their Somaliland visa in Addis will be required to do so as a priority.
Overnight in Addis.

Day 2 – Addis – Mekele – Khiwa – Kesrawat – Erta Ale
Wednesday 3rd October 2018
A morning flight from Addis to Mekele. From here you will begin your journey by 4×4 to Khiwa where the Danakil Depression really begins. One of the lowest places in the world it is an inhospitable landscape of sulphur springs, acid pools and colourful rock formations. We will collect our police escorts in Khiwa and then our Afar militia escort in Kesrawat. In the late afternoon, we will reach the base of the volcano. We will wait until nightfall before beginning the 3-hour trek to the volcano’s rim (Camels can be hired for those that need them). On the rim, you will be able to gaze into the boiling lava of one of the world’s only permanent lava lake. An experience you will never forget.
Overnight camping or sleeping on a rope bed at Arta Ale.

Day 3 – Erta Ale – Hamedele – Dallol
Thursday 4th October 2018
Rise with the sun and spend the early hours of the day walking around the pits and craters of Erta Ale. Then return by foot to the base of Erta Ale. From there we will drive on to Hamedele where we will have time to see how people live in such inhospitable conditions. There will be time for photos and perhaps to purchase some items from the Afar people. We will then continue on to Dallol (at 116 metres below sea level – the lowest place in the Danakil Depression and generally considered the hottest inhabited place on earth).
Overnight in Dallol in very basic conditions.

Day 4 – Dallol – Mekele
Friday 5th October 2018
A day visiting the otherworldly landscape around Dallol. Including colourful sulphur and salt lakes as well as thermo-active springs. The route passes many camel caravans laden with salt crossing the bleak landscape. You’ll also get time to meet some of the Afar people that live near Lake Assal.
Return and overnight in Mekele.

Day 5Mekele – Hawsein
Saturday 6th October 2018
Drive to the Tigrayan mountains to visit the most remarkable rock churches cut into the mountains near Hawsein. These will include Mikael Imba (requires a 20-minute walk and a short ladder) and the easily-accessible churches of Wukro Chirkos and Abreha we Atsbeha.
Overnight in a lodge at Hawsein.

Day 6Hawsein to Axum
Sunday 7th October 2018
A morning drive to Axum. En route stopping at the Debro Demo monastery where the men of the group (women are not allowed) may enter by means of a 15-metre rope climb.
Ethiopia is a place where history and myth blur together and nowhere is this more prevalent than in the capital of the great classical Axumite Empire. Believed to be founded by the Queen of Sheba and the final resting place of the Ark of the Covenant, Axum is a UNESCO world heritage site that is still being explored and excavated. Each year throwing up new treasures.
Overnight in Axum.

Day 7Axum
Monday 8th October 2018
A full day in Axum to visit the Axum Stelae Fields, where 120 stelae (giant granite pillars) are found, dating back to around 300-500 AD. Like the Pyramids of Egypt, they were built by ancient rulers to mark their achievement so they would be remembered after death. In the surrounding area, we will visit Kaleb and Gabra’s tombs and the Queen of Sheba’s Palace and baths.
Whilst we will not be permitted to visit inside the Mary of Zion Church where the Ark of the Covenant is said to be, seeing the lines of white-clothed pilgrims visiting is a moving sight.
Overnight in Axum.

Day 8Axum – Addis Ababa – Dire Dawa – Harar
Tuesday 9th October 2018
A day of travelling as the group makes its way from the north of Ethiopia to the east of the country. The group will catch the 0955 flight from Axum to Addis Ababa and then connect to a flight to Dire Dawa. From here you will drive to Harar.
Overnight in Harar.

Day 9 Harar
Wednesday 10th October 2018
A full day to explore the walled city of Harar – considered by some to be the 4th holiest city in Islam. The old city is famed for its medieval townhouses and has 82 mosques, including three built in the 10th century. The walls surrounding the sacred city of Harar were built between the 13th and 16th centuries. African and Islamic traditions combine, creating a particularly unique character. One of Harar’s more unusual traditions is the nightly feeding of wild hyenas that wander the streets.
Overnight in Harar.

Day 10 Harar – Hargeisa
Thursday 11th October 2018
A full day to drive from Harar to Hargeisa crossing the border between Ethiopia and Somaliland on the way. As you progress you will pass out of the green Ethiopian lands into the brown scrub desert of Somalia, spotting camel trains as you drive.
Overnight in Hargeisa.

Day 11 – Hargeisa – Las Geel – Hargeisa
Friday 12th October 2018
After a visit to the Hargeisa Camel Market, we will take you (with your security escort) to the wonderful cave paintings at Las Geel, one of the most intriguing sights in the Horn of Africa. On the overhangs of a rock in the desert are some of the world’s best preserved ancient cave paintings. Dating from 5000-9000 years old they depict cows, people, dogs and even giraffes. Return to Hargeisa.
Overnight in Hargeisa.

Day 12 – Hargeisa – Addis – Home
Saturday 13th October 2018
Transfer to airport for morning flight to Addis.
Connect with evening flights home.
Those travelling to Mogadishu will depart on the same day from Hargeisa to Mogadishu.

You will be accompanied by experienced English speaking Ethiopian guides for the length of the trip in Ethiopia plus a Somali guide in Somaliland.


Trip includes:

  • Accommodation
  • Ground transport
  • Three internal flights (Addis to Mekele / Axum to Addis Ababa / Addis Ababa to Dire Dawa)
  • International flight from Hargeisa to Addis Ababa (or Hargeisa to Mogadishu if the guest is joining the Mogadishu add-on)
  • Guiding
  • Breakfast
  • All meals and camping equipment when in the Danakil Depression

The trip does not include:

  • Ethiopia visas ($50 each. You will need to get two if you return to Addis Ababa at the end of the trip)
  • Somaliland Visa ($50 in Addis Ababa)
  • Hargeisa airport departure tax ($41)
  • Other Meals
  • Insurance
  • Entrance fees
  • Flights
  • Drinks

Cost:

  • US$2950 per person if you fly into Ethiopia with Ethiopia Airlines
  • US$3100 per person if you fly into Ethiopia with another airline.

To reserve a place on this trip we need a deposit of US$400 per person.
If you have any questions about this trip or about Ethiopia in general, please contact us. Or if you are ready to book this trip, please go to the booking form.

Flights:
We do not directly arrange international flights to Ethiopia. We strongly suggest flying with Ethiopian Airlines as we can secure much cheaper internal flights if you have used Ethiopian Airlines to fly into or out of Ethiopia at the beginning or end of the trip. See cost differences above.
You can also contact the Untamed Borders dedicated team at Flight Centre for suggested routes.
Mail: untamedborders@rtwexperts.co.uk
Phone: +44(0) 844 560 9966

Visas:
Ethiopian visas are available on arrival at Bole Airport in Addis Ababa. They cost US$50 or equivalent in euros. You will not be able to use pounds sterling or other currencies. Note that you will need to get an Ethiopian visa on your entry back to Addis from Hargeisa.
There are very few countries in the world where you can obtain a Somaliland visa. Contact us for details. They can also be obtained on day 1 in Addis. Cost is US$50.
There is also a $41 departure tax at Hargeisa airport.

Food:
Breakfast is included on this trip. Other meals will be paid for by yourself. Whilst out on the Danakil Depression you will be provided with all meals.

Difficulty/comfort:
Difficulty – In the Danakil, there is a three-hour hike up the volcano on rough ground. Some of the Tigrayan rock churches are in difficult places where a walk or a scramble are required to reach it.
Comfort – Good mid-range accommodation except for the Danakil Depression where we either camp or stay in a crude hut.

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 you sharing a twin room.
There will be camping in the Danakil Depression.

Transport:
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. Whilst on the Danakil Depression you will be in a 4×4. If anyone else leaves for the Danakil at the same time you will join up and travel in a convoy.

Guides:
On this trip, you will be accompanied by experienced English speaking  Ethiopian guides for the length of the trip in Ethiopia and a Somali guide for the time in Somaliland. We will also work with local guides in each region to help ensure you get the most out of each trip.

Security and Risks:
The Danakil Depression is an area that comes with a measure of risk. The region has seen occasional violence in the past. Guests will be accompanied by Ethiopian security for their entire length of stay in the Danakil Depression. We feel we have the contacts and experience to guide in this region safely. We do monitor the situation closely and we listen very carefully to advice from the foreign office and from our friends in the areas we visit. Our client’s safety is our primary concern. 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 stable things can change and we may have to alter the route or cancel sections of the trip at short notice.

Somaliland is not an internationally recognised country. Currently, Somaliland is secure and has, by and large, escaped the trouble that has blighted Somalia to the south. However, the government takes security there seriously and you will have a soldier with you when outside of any town.

Also, please be aware that the Danakil Depression is one of the hottest places on earth. Heat stroke is a real risk and those with heart conditions are advised not to travel.

Copyright_Marcus Wells

Mogadishu Add-On – Autumn 2018

This trip is only available to guests who book the Horn of Africa Autumn 2018 trip.  However, we can arrange the same itinerary at any time of year on a private basis.  Contact us for further details.

Date: 13th – 15th October 2018

Start Point :Mogadishu
End Point :Mogadishu
Number of people: Maximum 3


Day 1 – Arrive in Mogadishu

Saturday 13th October 2018
Pick up at airport.
Representatives will assist you with obtaining your visa on arrival. You will be taken to the guest house for your briefing followed by a trip into Mogadishu. You will be taken on an orientation tour around the city including an opportunity to go swimming at Lido beach, walk through the ruined Italian colonial architecture and see the monument to the unknown soldier. You will have an opportunity to use the security teams experience and that of a local fixer who has worked with a number of journalists to get an insight into life in Mogadishu today.

Day 2 – Mogadishu
Sunday 14th October 2018
Once again, armed with your security team and fixer you’ll be able to visit the markets, bazaars and beaches of this traumatised yet vibrant city. This will include the harbour and lighthouse area.

Day 3 – Airport Drop
Monday 15th October 2018
Your security escort will drop you at the airport to catch your flight. No sightseeing on the final day.

You will be accompanied by an experienced English speaking Somali guide/translator and a four-man security detail for the entire time you are out of the guest house.


The trip includes:
All accommodation
All meals at the guesthouse
Airport pick up and drop off
Local fixer/translator
Security detail with two vehicles
Visa support

The trip does not include:
Visa cost
Insurance
Flights to Somalia
Entrance fees
Tips
Meals of outside the guesthouse

Cost: US$1250 per person
A US$400 deposit per person is required to reserve a space.

Flights and Visas:
A letter of invitation will be issued and the visa collected at Mogadishu airport. The visa costs US$50 (payable in US$)
This trip is designed to follow the Untamed Borders Ethiopia and Somaliland trip. The flight to Mogadishu is included in this trip. We suggest booking Turkish Airways flight from Mogadishu to Istanbul for onward connections on the final day of this trip.

Food:
All meals are included at the guest house. Meals in restaurants outside the guesthouse are not included.

Accommodation:
The accommodation is in a secure guest house. You will have a private room with wifi.

Guides:
When outside of the guest house you will be accompanied by a security detail with two vehicles complete with local fixer/translator. This is to ensure your security and to enable you to safely visit the areas you wish with informed and detailed information on what you are seeing.

Security:
Trips to Somalia do create dangers all of their own and whilst we want you to have as much freedom as possible we must state that the security team has the final word with regards to changes in the itinerary for safety reasons. Whilst security has improved recently in Mogadishu and deterioration to security could result in the cancellation of all or parts of the trip at short notice.

Marathon of Afghanistan

Marathon of Afghanistan 2018

This package offers travel and entrance to the fourth edition of the Marathon of Afghanistan – the only international marathon in the country.

The Marathon of Afghanistan will take place in the Bamian province, amidst the mighty mountains of the Hindu Kush in central Afghanistan. The astonishingly beautiful valley, a UNESCO world heritage site, is recognised as one of the safest provinces in the country and remains almost completely untouched by violence.

The fourth edition of the marathon of Afghanistan will take place in 2018. It was the first international marathon that was run in Afghanistan.

The trip will be led by Untamed Borders founder James Willcox. We will meet you at Kabul Airport and show you a few places of interest in Kabul before flying to the beautiful and peaceful Bamian valley. We will also have time to visit the remains of the world’s largest standing Buddha statues that overlook the town and the ancient cities of Shah e Zohak and Shah e Golghola.

Afghanistan is a country slowly recovering from years of violence and neglect but it has always been a magnet for the intrepid. The rugged landscape, the ancient history crossed with tough yet incredibly hospitable people is an intoxicating mix. The chance to truly blaze a tourist trail is a rare opportunity.

Difficulty – Well, you have to run a marathon.
Comfort – There is some level comfort. The rooms have en-suite bathrooms and sometimes during the day there is hot water, but not for the entire day.

For further details about this trip and the chance to join us please contact us.

Erbil Marathon 2018

Erbil Marathon 2018

This package offers travel and entrance to the Erbil marathon.

We will meet you at Erbil airport and show you the places of interest in the Iraqi Kurdistan capital. We will also head out of Erbil to visit Lalish, the spiritual home of the Yazidi people and go training with female runners breaking taboos in Iraq, giving you a taste of life in Northern Iraq.
There are three distances (5km, 10km and full marathon) so even if you are not a strong runner you can take part and enjoy the event and the famous Kurdish hospitality.
Iraqi Kurdistan has largely escaped the violence that has plagued the rest of the country and is a great way to get a flavour of modern Iraq.

Date: 22nd – 27th October 2018
Start Point: Erbil
End Point: Erbil
Cost: US$1850 per person

Day 1 – Erbil
Monday 22nd October 2018
Arrive in Erbil.
Briefing. Depending on time of arrival we will be able to arrange a city tour to some of Erbil’s sights including the ancient citadel that dominates the centre of the city.
Overnight in Erbil.

Day 2 – Outside Erbil – Activities day with Iraqi runners
Tuesday 23rd October 2018
A day in the Kurdish countryside with some local runners. The day should be fun and hopefully will be able to get an insight into life as a runner in Iraq.
Overnight in Erbil.

Day 3 – Day trip to Lalish
Wednesday 24th October 2018
A drive into the hills of Kurdistan to visit Lalish, the spiritual home of the Yazidi people. If there is time and the security situation allows we will also visit the Alqosh monastery high in the hills overlooking the Ninevah plains.
Overnight in Erbil.

Day 4 – Rest Day
Thursday 25th October 2018
For serious runners, this will be a day of rest.
For others, our guides will discuss some options in or close to Erbil for some further sightseeing or meeting with organisations.
Overnight in Erbil.

Day 5 – Erbil Marathon
Friday 26th October 2018
Run the Erbil Marathon. Our team will be there to get photos and support the runners before and after the race.
Overnight in Erbil.

Day 6 – Erbil Marathon
Saturday 27th October 2018
We will drive back to Erbil to connect with afternoon or evening flights home.

You will be accompanied by an English-speaking Iraqi translator and an international guide for the length of the trip.

The trip includes:
All accommodation (5 nights in Erbil)
Breakfast
All ground transport
Guiding
Entry to the Erbil Marathon

The trip does not include:
Visas
Insurance
Flights to Iraqi Kurdistan
Entrance fees
Lunch & Dinner
Drinks
Tips

Flights:
We do not directly arrange international flights to Iraqi Kurdistan. We can suggest routes and operators.
You can also contact the Untamed Borders dedicated team at Flight Centre for suggested routes.
Mail: untamedborders@rtwexperts.co.uk
Phone: +44(0) 844 560 9966
If you do want to extend your trip in Iraqi Kurdistan either before or after this one please contact us for arranging something or simply for advice and suggestions.

Visas:
For most nationalities, a visa is available on arrival in Erbil airport. The visa is valid for Iraqi Kurdistan only and NOT for southern Iraq.

Food:
Breakfast is included on this trip. Other meals will be paid for by yourself.

Accommodation:
We do not and cannot offer a uniform accommodation standard on our itineraries. We consider comfort, location, design, character, security, 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.
In Erbil we will stay in a 3-star Hotel.
The accommodation will be based on 2 people sharing a room in Erbil.

Transport:
When we choose our vehicles and drivers we take into consideration the road conditions, the length of the journey and the competence of the man behind the wheel. Your comfort, enjoyment and safety of the journey is the first priority.

Guides:
You will be accompanied by an international guide for the length of the trip. There will also be a local Iraqi guide to translate.

Security:
Trips to Iraq do create dangers 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 which we consider to be relatively stable things can change and we may have to alter the route or cancel sections of the trip at short notice.

For further details about this trip and the chance to join us please contact us. For more information about the race itself visit http://www.erbilmarathon.org/

Ski Iraq

Ski Iraq 2019

Dates: 27th January – 4th February 2019

In 2017 and 2018 we arranged the first ever commercial ski trips to Iraq. In 2019 we will be back. For a country more associated with deserts, Iraq has some great mountainous terrain in the northern semi-autonomous Kurdistan region which we will explore with a qualified international ski guide.
Using the experience the Untamed Borders team has from our previous skiing and climbing trips to Iraq, we have identified areas that offer some great ski touring terrain.
Guests should have some prior experience of ski touring and be able to make their turns in all conditions.
We will start in Erbil and head straight to the peaks around the town of Choman near the Iranian border. Here we will find the best and most reliable snow. In addition to the ski touring, we are timing the trip to coincide with the inaugural Iraq Ski Rally – a ski touring race to be held in the border town of Haji Omran.
Iraq has some major problems at the moment but in the far north of the country security is good and it is possible to experience some of the famous Kurdish hospitality amongst the peaks. The chance to truly blaze a tourist trail is a rare opportunity.

Start Point  :Erbil
End Point   :Erbil
Maximum number of people: 10

Day 1 – Erbil
Sunday 27th January 2019
Arrive in Erbil.
Briefing. Depending on time of arrival we will be able to arrange a city tour to some of Erbil’s sights including the ancient citadel that dominates the centre of the city.
Overnight in Erbil

Day 2 – Erbil – Choman
Monday 28th January 2019
Drive from Erbil to Choman along the Hamilton Road. Built by the British it winds its way through the mountains of Kurdistan towards the Iranian border. If the snow is good enough we will stop off at the Korek mountain resort. This resort has a chairlift. The lift is mainly used for sightseers but if the snow has been heavy then it will be possible to ski on the slopes too.
We will then continue on to Choman.
Overnight in simple homestay in Choman.

Days 3 to 6 Choman and around
Tuesday 29th January – Friday 1st February 2019
Following paths and routes explored on our 2017 trip, the group will ski the slopes of Halgurd – Iraq’s highest peak and other areas. The group will be also exploring new routes and runs. Much of the area has never been skied before.
During this period we plan to spend one night in a very simple local home high in the mountains.
Overnight in simple homestay in Choman.

Day 7 Choman – Iraq Ski Rally
Saturday 2nd February 2019
The proposed date of the Iraq Ski Rally. The trip includes entry to this event.
Overnight in a simple homestay in Choman.

Day 8Choman
Sunday 3rd February 2019
A final day skiing in Choman.
Overnight in a simple homestay in Choman.

Day 9 Choman – Erbil – Home
Monday 4th February 2019
We will drive back to Erbil to connect with afternoon or evening flights home.

Please note that the above itinerary is an outline of what is to be achieved. The length of the time at the Korek ski resort, Choman could change due to snow conditions

You will be accompanied by an English-speaking Iraqi translator and a western qualified ski guide for the length of the trip.

The trip includes:
All accommodation
Breakfast
Lunch when skiing
All ground transport
Guiding
Entry to the Iraq Ski rally (worth US$100)

The trip does not include:
Visas
Insurance
Flights to Iraqi Kurdistan
Entrance fees
Lunch & Dinner
Drinks
Tips
Ski equipment

Cost – US$TBC
A deposit of US$400 is required to reserve your place on this trip.

If you have any questions regarding this itinerary or about Afghanistan in general, please contact us at info@untamedborders.com

Flights:
We do not directly arrange international flights to Iraqi Kurdistan. We can suggest routes and operators.
You can also contact the Untamed Borders dedicated team at Flight Centre for suggested routes.
Mail: untamedborders@rtwexperts.co.uk
Phone: +44(0) 844 560 9966
If you are bringing skis then please ensure that the carrier will take skis.
If you do want to extend your trip in Iraqi Kurdistan either before or after this one please contact us for arranging something or simply for advice and suggestions.

Visas:
For most nationalities, a visa is available on arrival in Erbil airport. The visa is valid for Iraqi Kurdistan only and NOT for southern Iraq.

Food:
We provide breakfast every day and lunch when skiing. We know plenty of places in Erbil. From traditional kebab houses to International Restaurants at International prices. When there is an option, we let you make the choice of how much you want to spend.

Accommodation:
We do not and cannot offer a uniform accommodation standard on our itineraries. Even if we wanted to, the reality is that standards and costs in Erbil cannot be compared to a homestay in Choman. We consider comfort, location, design, character, security, 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 a room in Erbil.
In Choman guests will stay in a communal room.

Transport:
Unless the group is very small we take 2 vehicles when driving between towns and to the ski areas. 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 the journey and the competence of the man behind the wheel. Your comfort, enjoyment and safety of the journey is the first priority.

Equipment:
Guests should bring their own equipment.
A full list of recommended equipment will be given nearer the time.

Guides:
You will be accompanied by a European ski guide for the length of the trip. There will also be a local Iraqi guide to translate when not on the slopes.

Security:
Trips to Iraq do create dangers 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 which we consider to be relatively stable things can change and we may have to alter the route or cancel sections of the trip at short notice.
In Iraq, areas away from the roads do have a risk of landmines. We have experience in the region and access to maps and information about where to ski and where to avoid.
As with off-piste skiing in the rest of the world, there is a small but serious avalanche risk.

Elephant Rock Madain Saleh - Saudi Arabia

Explore Saudi Arabia

Date: 9th – 17th February 2019

Explore Saudi Arabia

Start Point: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
End Point: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Maximum number of people: 10


Day 1 Jeddah
Saturday 9th February 2019
Arrive in Jeddah. Transfer to Hotel for a briefing.
Overnight in Jeddah.

Day 2 Jeddah
Sunday 10th February 2019
A full day visiting Jeddah.
Visit 19th-century ottoman houses constructed of coral and wood, the most beautiful and well known is Nasif House. Following lunch at a local restaurant, we will drive along the corniche of Jeddah. The road acts as an open-air museum displaying an array of modern sculptures. In the afternoon, we will visit the Altaybat City Museum with its large collection of arts from the Arabian peninsula.
Overnight in Jeddah.

Day 3 Jeddah – Al Ula
Monday 11th February 2019
Following breakfast we will take a morning flight to Medinah. We shall have lunch and then drive to Al Ula. We shall visit the famous Elephant Rock.
Overnight in Al Ula.

Day 4 Al Ula – Taima – Al Jawf
Tuesday 12th February 2019
In the morning we will visit the old city of Al Ula Mud Village, Mosa Bin Nusair Fort, al Khuraiba and the outside of the Lion Tombs.
We will then drive to Taima to visit the Haddaj water well, Al Hamra castle and al Radham. We then continue to Al Jawf.
Overnight in Al Jawf.

Day 5 Al Jawf
Wednesday 13th February 2019
A full day in Al Jawf. In the morning we will visit Domat Al Jandal, also known as Marid Castle. The ancient fortress is 2000 feet high and overlooks the old city from the south. In the city itself, we shall visit Omar’s mosque, names after the second Muslim Caliph: Omar Ibn Al Khatab. We will take a short drive to visit a newly discovered camel carving before moving on to Sakaka Fort, the center of many legends. It is widely believed to have been built in 7th century B.C. with mud construction being added to it in 3rd century. We will end the day with a visit to Sysara water well. In late afternoon there is the opportunity to visit the Olive Festival held annually in the city. Al Jawf is the most important city in Saudi Arabia for the productions of olive oil of the highest quality. The festival takes place over 10 days, with over 150,000 visitors in 2018. The festival centres on the sale of olive oil, olives and olive products but also allow farmers to make deals for future production due to the increasing demand for olive oil.
Overnight in Al Jawf.

Day 6 Al Jawf – Jubbah – Ha’il
Thursday 14th February 2019
We will start the day with a visit to Al-Rajajil (“the men”) – a site of standing stones aligned to sunrise and sunset. The mysterious stones stand up to 10 feet high and are believed to be over 5,000 years old, complete with Thamudic inscriptions.
We will continue to Jubbah where we can see the best and oldest examples of Neolithic rock art, deeply carved into the stone cliff faces. We shall then continue to Ha’il.
Overnight in Ha’il.

Day 7 Al Ula
Friday 15th February 2019
We will spend the morning visiting Airif Fort, built over 200 years ago as both a stronghold and observation post. Al Qishlah Fort is the largest traditional mud fortress in Ha’il. It is currently closed for development, so we will only be able to visit the outside.
Lunch at a local restaurant.
Transfer to airport for flight to Riyadh.
Overnight in Riyadh.

Day 8 Riyadh
Saturday 16th February 2019
Morning visit to Dirryyah village. The UNESCO world heritage site is where the history of Al Saud Dynasty began. This will be followed by Masmak fort, one of the most important monuments in the city of Riyadh. The fort was captured by the Saud family in 1902, the start of the Saud family rule of the region. Lunch at local restaurant followed by a visit to the National Museum, composed of eight galleries telling the complete story of Arabian history.
Visit Murabba Palace, built in 1937 by King Abdulaziz, in the traditional Najid style using only local building materials.
We will then visit the Deira Souq. Finally, late afternoon we will visit the Janadriyah Festival, held annually in Riyadh since 1985. The cultural heritage and folk festival is the largest of its kind in the Gulf. It is divided into sections according to the different provinces of Saudi Arabia. Each province area has their own buildings which are replicas of the architectural style of the region. There are also several marketplaces, art exhibitions, food stalls, stages for traditional dance performances and commercial pavilions.
Overnight in Riyadh

Day 9 Riyadh – End
Sunday 17th February 2019
Transfer to airport for departure.


The trip includes:

  • All accommodation (3 or 4-star hotels)
  • All meals
  • Bottled water
  • Transport/transfers
  • English-speaking guide
  • Entrance fees
  • Visa support
  • Internal flights as listed

The trip does not include:

  • Any visa fees
  • Insurance
  • International Flights
  • Other drinks
  • Tips

Cost:

US$5300 per person

A deposit of US$400 per person is required to reserve your place on this trip.

Flights:
We do not directly arrange international flights to Saudi Arabia. We can suggest routes and operators.
You can also contact the Untamed Borders dedicated team at Flight Centre for suggested routes.
Mail: untamedborders@rtwexperts.co.uk   Phone: +44(0) 844 560 9966

Visas:
We do not arrange Saudi Arabia visas directly. We will provide visa support in the form of letters of invitation to assist in your Saudi Arabia visa application.

If you are based in the UK then we recommend Travcour as an agent for your visa requirements. They are UK’s oldest leading travel visa specialist and able to provide full visa support and consultancy for Untamed Border’s destinations. Click here to obtain our specialist visa packages and support from Travcour. They are the people we use when we need visa support for our staff.

Food:
All meals are included. Bottled water is included. Other drinks are not.

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.

Transport:
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. Your comfort and enjoyment of the journey is the first priority.

Guides:
On this trip, you will be accompanied by a licenced English speaking local guide. 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 with specialist knowledge of certain areas.

Contact us for further information at info@untamedborders.com

Somaliland-marathon

Somaliland Marathon 2019

This package offers travel and entrance to the Somaliland marathon.

The marathon will take place in Hargeisa, the capital city of Somaliland. Along with being a great opportunity to experience this self-declared Horn of Africa nation, participants will also be supporting the work of the Darlington Foundation, a British-based charity which promotes and supports the education of students in Somaliland; our aim is to encourage each entrant to raise US$1500, which enough to put one student through full-time university education.

Start Point: Hargeisa
End Point: Hargeisa
Cost: US$1450 per person

Runners will be asked to try and raise US$1500 for the Darlington Foundation. Enough to allow someone to complete a three-year degree course.  If this is achieved, the entrance fee to the marathon will be waived.

Difficulty – Only as hard as a marathon.
Comfort – There is some level of comfort. The rooms have en-suite bathrooms and sometimes in the day there is hot water, not the entire day.

Day 1 – Hargeisa
Arrive in Hargeisa. Airport pickup and transfer to Hotel. If there is time then you will be taken on a short tour of the city. There are not many sights as such but the money changers with their mountains of notes and the shops with paintings of the products they sell on the walls make for good photos. Other places of interest include the War Memorial with its unusual monument of a crashed MiG fighter plane and the gold and khat markets.
Overnight in Hargeisa.

Day 2 – Hargeisa – Las Geel – Hargeisa
We will take you (along with your security escort) to the wonderful cave paintings at Las Geel, one of the most intriguing sights in the Horn of Africa. On the overhangs of a rock in the desert are some of the world’s best preserved ancient cave paintings. Dating from 5000-9000 years old they depict cows, people, dogs and even giraffes. A real highlight of Somaliland. After visiting the site we return to Hargeisa.
Overnight in Hargeisa.

Day 3 – Hargeisa
A final day in Hargeisa. This can be spent resting ahead of the race, visiting local organisations and meeting some of the Somali runners or helping the organisers arrange the first ever Marathon in Somalia.
Overnight in Hargeisa

Day 4 – Hargeisa – Race day
We will ensure that you get to the start on time, look after your bags and get photos of you during the race.
Overnight in Hargeisa

Day 5 – Hargeisa – Airport
Transfer to airport for flight home.

You will be accompanied by an English speaking guide Somali guide and an International guide for the length of the trip

The trip includes:
Accommodation
Ground transport
Permission to visit Las Geel
Local Guide
International guide
Breakfast
Visa processing
Entry to the Somaliland Marathon (worth US$200)

The trip does not include:
Somaliland Visa ($60 on arrival)
Other Meals
Insurance
Entrance fees
Flights
Drinks

Flights:
We do not directly arrange international flights to Hargeisa. FlyDubai, Jubba, Dalloo and African Express Airways fly there from Dubai and Ethiopian Airways has a daily flight from Addis Ababa.

Visas:
There are very few countries in the world where you can obtain a Somaliland visa. However, the UK is one of them. Contact us for details. We can also arrange a visa on arrival.

Food:
Breakfast is included on this trip. Other meals will be paid for by yourself.

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 you sharing a twin room.

Transport:
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.

Guides:
On this trip, you will be accompanied by an English speaking Somali guide plus an international guide for the length of the trip.

Security and Risks:
We do monitor the situation closely and we listen very carefully to advice from the foreign office and from our friends in the areas we visit. Our client’s safety is our primary concern. We must state that the guide 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 stable things can change and we may have to alter the route or cancel sections of the trip at short notice.

Somaliland is not an internationally recognised country. Currently, Somaliland is secure and has, by and large, escaped the trouble that has blighted Somalia to the south. However, the government takes security there seriously and you will have a soldier with you when outside of any town.

For further details about this trip and the chance to join us please contact us.

Afghan Ski Challenge

Afghan Ski Challenge 2019

This package offers travel and entrance to the 9th annual Afghan Ski Challenge. A ski touring event in the Koh e Baba Mountains north of Bamian, Afghanistan.

Photo Gallery: Ski Afghanistan Flickr Album

Difficulty/comfort:
Difficulty – This is a ski touring trip, so you will need to be fit enough to walk up the mountain. You don’t need to be an expert skier, but you have to be confident and possess the basic skills.
Comfort – There is some level comfort. The rooms have en-suite bathrooms and sometimes in the day there is hot water, not the entire day.

Cost – US$2500

This package offers travel and entrance to the 9th annual Afghan Ski Challenge. A ski touring event in the Koh e Baba mountains north of Bamian in Afghanistan.

Untamed Borders was the first company to run ski trips to Afghanistan in 2011. 2019 will be our 9th season running ski trips to Afghanistan and we have again been asked by the organisers of the Afghan ski challenge to arrange packages for competitors.

The trip will be led by one of our experienced English speaking Afghan guides for the length of the trip. On the snow you will be guided by a qualified international ski guide in the mountains as well as the local Afghan ski guides. We will meet you at Kabul airport and show you a few places of interest in Kabul before flying to the beautiful and peaceful Bamian valley to ski in the Koh e Baba mountain range. We will also have time to visit the remains of the world’s largest standing Buddha statues that overlook the town and the ancient cities of Shah e Zohak and Shah e Golghola.

Afghanistan is a country slowly recovering from years of violence and neglect but it has always been a magnet for the intrepid. The rugged landscape, the ancient history crossed with tough yet incredibly hospitable people is an intoxicating mix. The chance to truly blaze a tourist trail is a rare opportunity.

For further details about this trip and the chance to join us please contact us.