Shogran Valley: There are numerous valleys in Pakistan, and each one of them is extremely beautiful. However, one valley stands out from the rest. This amazing valley with its collection of amazing flora and fauna, along with its pristine surroundings is the green heart of northern Pakistan and is known by the name of Shogran Valley. The valley serves as the base for many trips that are undertaken in the northern areas and many campers travel to this valley to gaze at the natural beauty of Pakistan. The valley also attracts many foreign visitors who travel to the valley in droves in order to see what actually natural beauty looks like. In recent times, the valley has been developed a little and humans have encroached on some natural land, however, the beauty of the valley remains preserved and there have not been much in the way of illegal logging or other nature destroying activities by the locals.
Shogran Valley Geography
Although the name “Shogran Valley” may make it appear that the location is nestled in the base of some peaks, the truth is that the valley is located on a plateau that allows it to give its visitors majestic views of the area. The valley is located at an elevation of almost 7,749 feet above the sea level which equates to almost 2,362 meters. The nearest town to the valley is called “Kiwai” and there has now been laid a metaled road from the federal capital Islamabad in order to facilitate travel from the capital to the valley. The distance from Kiwai to Islamabad is 212 kilometers via the metaled road. The nearest city to the valley is the city of Balakot which is located 34 kilometers away and can be reached via road. However, this road is not in good repair and the best way to travel to Balakot is either to take a 4 wheel drive or a jeep.
Best Time To Visit Shogran Valley
Shogran has been labeled as a “hill station” which means that the best time to visit the area is in the summer. The area will be lush green all through the summer but during the winter months it will retain much of the snow that falls on the area. Due to the blanket of snow in the winter season, there are not many routes to the area, but the army does operate its own route during the winter seasons so if a person has any contacts with the Army personnel they can reach the valley during winter to marvel at the snow covered scenery.
However, the best season is the summer season.
Shogran Valley Trekking Guidance
The Shogran valley is more of a base, and not a destination for trekkers. However, if the trip is going to Shogran, the best way is to use the metaled road from Islamabad which will take them straight to the town of Kawai. From here they can easily reach Shogran. On the other hand, they can travel to Balakot from Islamabad on public transport and then hire private jeep or a van depending on the number of people on the trip and that will take them to the Shogran Valley.
When the trip reaches the Valley, they can do one of three things. They can either stay in the Shogran area or see the mesmerizing beauty of the area that will certainly leave them in the state of awe, or they can visit the nearby lakes and mountains using locally hired jeeps. Alternately, if the trip is feeling adventurous, they can hike or trek to the nearby lakes and mountains which will really be an exciting experience and every member of the group will definitely love it.
If the trip members are staying at Shogran overnight, it will be best if they setup their own camps and prepare their own food. The guesthouse that used to be located at the place has been destroyed so the accommodation is not available as it used to be and the travelers need to keep this thing in mind when they are planning their trip to the valley.
Equipment And Kit
There are two kinds of people who visit the Shogran valley. The casual trips that take one or two days can take with them the essential equipment such as the rucksacks and camps as well as some food to last during the time of their stay. While the people who are going to visit the peaks and the lakes as well as the valley should take all hiking equipment and survival gear with prepared food, stoves for cooking and heating the food, camps, rucksacks, walking sticks and all other gear for a full hike and trek. The personal items needed for the trip include sun blocks, hats, warm clothes, gloves and warm head gear. The hikers should take very good boots as the trekking can get treacherous sometimes and you need to be as comfortable as possible while taking the treks.
Precautions and Survival Tips at Shogran Valley
There are some things that must be kept in mind when traveling to places like the Shogran Valley. These ensure a safe trip and the best trekking experience. Some of these simple precautions and tips are given below.
- Make sure that all trips are pre-planned and all members are aware of the plan
- Make sure that no one over exerts himself during the trip
- Make sure that when travelling by jeep the vehicles are in good shape and are driven by experienced drivers
- Make sure that all the equipment being carried is in order and will not break down or become a hassle during the trip
- Make sure all hikers are in good physical condition to take the trip
Shogran Valley Nature Reserves
The valley of Shogran has a very diverse range of flora and fauna. While there are many forests of deciduous and conifer hardwoods, there are also small shrubs of remedial herbs and berries found in the area as well. While on one hand there are many wildflowers, on the other there are also vast meadows of lush green grass that present a beautiful view. The same is true for the fauna of the area. There are small animals like marmots and wild sheep and deer, while birds like peasants, woodcocks, pigeon, hawks, falcons and vultures are commonly found as well. Woodpeckers have also been seen sometimes but only during the mid-summer months. There are so large mammals and large cats in the area, but due to human expansion, there have been no recent sightings of these in the valley. However, if you are lucky enough, you may get to see one on your trip.