Pereval Khargush is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 4.319m (14,169ft) above the sea level, located in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region of Tajikistan.
Set high in the desolate Pamir Mountains, the road to the summit is totally unpaved, partly not fixed, and surrounded by an isolated environment of dramatic beauty. It’s known as The Royal Silk Road. The pass connects the infamous Pamir Highway with the Wakhan valley. The pass is not that hard but the corrugated road afterwards to reach the Pamir highway is quite a challenge due to road surface. There are so many holes that the drivers demand the highest concentration.
Tucked away on the eastern part on the country, along the border of Afghanistan, this route going through an indescribable area passes through some salt lakes created as a result of the snowmelt. In winter, there falls a lot of snow, which can cause landslides and avalanches. At the summit is a small café: it’s a very simple place with the kind hospitality of kids and ladies for tea and some food. There is no specific indication outside but this is the only inhabited place in this area. You can hardly see vegetation here.
The pass is 32.2 km (20 miles) long. The road, through an otherworldly landscape, has quite a lot of sand and gravel, but is generally alright to drive. As you climb into the pass you come into a couple mirror-like lakes and then some weird, vast desert landscapes Expect a road pretty steep: the average gradient is 5,5% though in actuality there are long sections between 10% and 15%. The drive provides a tantalising first glimpse of Afghanistan and the snow-capped peaks of the Hindu Kush beyond.
Pic: Alexander Müdespacher