Like a sea of green and lush vegetation, they are in from the tourists and they stretch as far as the eyes can see. From the perspective of a tourist, they’re the ultimate relaxation for a person who wants to get away from it all.
Although the meadows are located in a very high area with their elevation foot almost 10,499 feet equating to 3,200 meters above the sea level, they are within the height where lush vegetation can thrive in the summer months, and this is the reason that the geography of the area makes it a unique meadow as standing on the carpet of lush green grass a person can see the mountains covered in snow and they can marvel at the two most beautiful sights in nature.
There is only one time to visit the meadows as the purpose of visiting the LaLaZar is to see two of the most beauteous sights in nature at the same time. Therefore, the visits made in late summer and in winter are of no value. The best time to visit the meadows is in early and mid-summer when the melting of the snow from the meadow itself has created the perfect spot for the lush vegetation of the meadows to grow to its full potential and, at the same time, the snow on the mountains’ top has taken on the hue of a bearded sage.
The best months for a visit are the months of June and July while the months of August and May are the months which can be used for a visit but they will not show the best area and the best views. The reason behind this is that in the month of May the pass may not have become accessible and in the month of August much of the vegetation may have dried out from the scorching summer sun.
There are two ways to reach the meadows. One of the treks is a jeep track which allows the people to ride in a jeep and go along a steep track that takes them to the top of the lalazar meadows. The second is the trek which will allow hikers to take the trail to the meadows via a steep pass, after passing through the pass near the Lake called Safi ul Malook. This will take almost 6 to seven hours if the new hikers are going to attempt the hike. Also it will require good equipment to be carried along so that the trekkers can enjoy a perfect trekking experience.
There are two kinds of people who will visit the meadows during the season. The first are the ones who will want to travel to the meadows in mechanized vehicles like jeeps. For them the equipment needed is minimal and should only include the basic traveling and carrying equipment. They should, however, take all the personal equipment with them and take some food as well. Cooking stoves can be left behind.
The second kind of people is the ones who travel to the meadows on foot. They are the ones who travel with full hiking strategy, so they should take all the equipment that is needed for hiking. This will include full hiking gear, carrying and camping equipment, as well as food, prepared and otherwise, cooking stoves, water carrying equipment and other things needed for a full hike such as fly sheets, sleeping bags and tent pegs.
All groups, no matter how they are travelling, should take good care to be in possession of sturdy boots and walking sticks.
There are some tips that must be kept in mind when travelling to these areas.
There are many animals and plants that are unique to the area. However, one of the most astounding animals of the area is the famed Markhor which can reach high mountains and difficult to traverse passes and then make its home there. These animals used to be quite common in the area but in recent years their appearances have gone down.
There are many birds that will make this great meadow their home during the summer months as well. These include buntings, tits, fly catchers, snow pigeons and common teals. Along with these, the birds of prey like hawks and falcons will also inhabit the area too.
Large mammals are also present in and around the area, but reports of bear and leopard sightings have gone down ever since humans moved into the area.
Here you can find pine forests as well and the area is also known for many plants with colorful flowers. Different shrubs and herbs can also be found in the area as well.]]>
Jalkhad is located almost at a three hour drive from the beautiful city of Naran Valley at an elevation of almost 10200 feet above the sea level. This equates to almost 3000 meters. Although it is considered to be quite simply a low lying village of the area, it has recently become a picnic hotspot due to its strategic location in the area and its geography. The village sits on the fork in the paths that lead to either Noorisar top or to Babusar Top. Therefore, many people who are going to hikes or treks in any of these areas are seen taking short breaks and resting at the area. There are no permanent means of accommodation at the Jalkhad village, however, there are some huts which can be used for free or for nominal rent if the people who are living near them allow the visitors to stay. There are many people who live in the area and earn money through the hospitality business. So it is best to talk to them about these huts.
Jalkhad remains open for almost ten months each year. The economy of the village depends upon three things i.e. on hikers and trekkers, on farming and on the military and their soldiers who pass through. The village draws many visitors from many parts of the country and they are the hikers or trekkers who want to visit the high lakes of mountain tops. They stay or rest at the village, and they usually come in the mid-summer. This is the best time to visit the area for not only will all the ways and paths be open, it will also be the best time to get accommodation and local help in the area. There will be local jeeps which can be hired. There will be local guides who will be willing to help on tours for a nominal fee and food. Also there will be local mechanics that can help with any car trouble that the travellers may be having. Therefore, the best time to visit this village is in the midsummer season.
The village is only 3 hours’ drive from the city of Naran. There are two or three things that must be kept in mind when travelling to the village. The first is that a simple drive is best done via jeep and travelling by car should be avoided, although it can be done. The way is very easy with only one road and, therefore, there is no chance of getting lost.
The people who arrive at Jalkhad are of three kinds.
There are the families who are travelling through the area in their own cars or personal vehicles; they will, therefore, have to stay in accommodations overnight. They are required only to carry personal things with them such as warm clothes, good walking shoes or joggers and boots, as well as sun creams and caps or hats.
The second kind of people is the travelers and trekkers. They will be traveling through the area by walking on foot in some areas and using the local jeeps in others. They will require some survival equipment such as camps, etc. to stay in the area and should bring those with them.
The third kind of people is the ones who want to experience the full hiking journey with camping in the lake area and near the tops. These people will have to carry their full hiking gear along. They will use the village as a base and will most probably hire a hut or two in order to stay overnights in the area.
Here are some tips that will make it easy for the group to travel safely through the area and enjoy the trip.
Some of the most important animals of the Kaghan valley can be seen in the area near the Jalkhad Village. For example, there are reports of Markhor being seen along with the great snow leopard, the grey wolves and the marmots that are found in the valley. Along with reports of bears and some smaller animals like weasels, foxes and wild sheep and wild stallions can also be found in and around the Jalkhad village. The herbivores come out to graze during the summer months and can be sighted during that time. Wild goats are also very common in the area.
The flora of the area includes many hardwood trees that form forests and there are many herbs as well that are grown for medicinal purposes. Pine forests are found primarily in this area and cover most part of the land. Furthermore, there are many shrubs that grow berries but these should be eaten only when it is fully clear that the berries are edible. Otherwise it may lead to uncommon medical conditions and can cause problems for the travelers as medication may not be readily available.]]>
One of the majestic attractions of the valley is the Kunhar River which originates from the Lulusar Lake almost 48 km upstream from the Naran Valley. The river flows through the area and presents beautiful sights of the flowing waters over the rocky surfaces. Quality trout can be hunted here and this allows tourists to spend good time fishing at the River Kunhar and enjoying the delicious trout that is local to this area.
The city is located in the Mansehra District which is a district of the northern province of Khyber Pakhtun Khwah in Pakistan. The nearest city is also Mansehra which is located almost 119 kilometers away from the Naran city. The elevation of Naran itself is almost 8202 feet above the sea level, making it an ideal location for vegetation and forests to grow and for snow to fall.
There are two kinds of people who want to visit Naran. There are the people who want to visit it to see the large amounts of snow that has been accumulated in the roads and around the city. For such people, the city should be visited in the late part of winter so that they can see the best kind of snow that has gathered. However, these people must take care that some roads may be blocked due to landslides. So make sure that the roads are open before going into the city for a trip during the winter.
The second type of people is the ones who want to travel from the city to the various lakes and other types of tourist hotspots. These people must visit the city during the months of the summer so that they can easily trek or hike to other parts of the Kaghan valley and so that all the vegetation has come into full view and the snow has melted away.
The best way to trek to other places from the city of Narran is to take a guide with the trip. However, for reaching the city of Naran, the simplest way is to take a jeep or another personal vehicle from the city of Mansehra.
When travelling to other places from the city, the hikers and trekkers should keep in view that many treks and hikes will take up to around 8 days, and others will be very short and can be completed within just one day, so care should be taken about the time when planning the trek.
When visiting the city of Narran, two things must be kept in mind. The first thing is that if a person or a trip wants to stay at the city and then ventures out during the day time to the nearby places and returns to the city for staying at night only personal items are required as they will be staying in hotels for the night.
Secondly, for those who are going on casual hikes or treks and will only be staying out for a day or two, camping equipment and some warm clothes are required and must not be forgotten.
Thirdly, for those who are going on complete hikes and complete tours, the full gear of hiking professionals will be required as without that it will be hard for the group members to complete the treks. This will include all the gear for camping, cooking, and travelling including the survival equipment.
There are certain things that must be kept in mind when traveling to an area such as this.
The entire area of the Naran valley comes under the Kaghan Valley and, therefore, the area has a lot of diversity in flora and fauna that is home to this valley. The best way you can be able to see the diversity of this area is to come here in the summer season. During the summer times, the conifer and deciduous forests will be in full display of their lush green leaves that are so green that they can look like black. There will be various local flowers and remedial herbs growing in shrubs bushes as well as wild berries and fruits that are commonly found in the area. There are trees of apricots and apples as well as peaches.
The fauna of the area includes many wild animals such as snow leopards – which are now becoming extinct – marmots, weasels, and squirrels. Quality trout fish is also available in the River Kunhar that flows through the valley. There are many species of birds that come to the area while on their migratory routes or only for the summer season. Also there are resident birds of prey that can be seen hunting in this area as well. These include the hawks and the falcons.]]>
Babusar top is located in the northern side of the Kaghan Valley and, being the highest location in the entire valley, its elevation above the sea level is 4173 meters which equates to almost 13,691 feet above the sea level. The nearest habitation to the pass is the village of Jalkhad which may serve as a base for the people who want to visit the pass in a single day and then return to their accommodation.
The pass is open for visitors the year round except on some days when the snow will make it very difficult to travel. However, the winter months should be avoided as it is very easy to get stuck in the snow which falls in sporadic burst throughout the winter.
When visiting the pass for the winter season, the best way is to travel in jeeps with special wheels instead of cars and other vehicles and the best time for this is the month of October for by the time November starts the snow will have become a hazard.
For those who want to see the beauty of the entire valley, the best time to travel is the month of June and early July. This will allow them to see many parts of the valley as well as the pass in its glory. During this time the pass will allow visitors to see the entire vista of the valley in amazing 360 degree views.
There is a fully metaled road leading to the pass, but it must be kept in mind that from the village of Jalkhad up till the pass the road can be like any other mountain road. That means that the road will be straight up, it will be steep and it will be taking its toll on the cars or the jeeps. Therefore, care should be taken when driving to the pass. There is no accommodation at the pass and it is not recommended that hikers and trekkers stay on the pass as the weather can change very quickly and winds will get hellish during the night. Therefore, the best advice for hikers is to leave their equipment in the camp at Jalkhad and then continue to the pass via jeep then return to Jalkhad and get their equipment.
There is no particular equipment needed for going to the pass. However, the simplest things should be taken. For example, when going to the pass all members should have sturdy boots as the pass is full of harsh rocks. The Babusar Top is known for its high winds so all members should wear warm clothes and have weather proof jackets in them as well.
Another important thing to remember is that all equipment that is being carried by hikers who are visiting the valley should be left at camp in Jalkhad when visiting the pass as it will be just a burden to carry.
The third important thing to keep in mind for the equipment is that all people should have good and sturdy walking sticks if they want to scale the small hills that surround the pass.
As with all other treks, some things should best be kept in mind to ensure the safety of the entire hiking team.
The area near the top is full of great species of birds, animals, flowers and bushes. The forests near the top are of hardwood trees and they’re in lush condition the year round. The birds that migrate to other parts of the country are visible on and near the pass during the summer months only. Snowcock and snow pigeons are the most likely candidates to be seen near the pass and hawk and eagles are seen near as well.
Mammals such as small marmots and wild sheep are often seen near the pass as well. There were reports of brown bears near the pass and some ibex crossings but these have ceased with increase in human population.
The area of the pass will not have any major species of plants except some grass because of its high altitude, but all of the flora will be found growing near the pass in valleys and near the roads as well. There is also some cultivation going on in the villages near the pass, where medicinal herbs gathered form the forests are cultivated in homes and huts, but this has not caught on much and there are not many people growing these either.]]>
The Kaghan Valley is located in the district of Mansehra in the province of Khyber Pakhtun Khwah in the north of Pakistan. The elevation of the valley makes it one of the few valleys in the country that are in the alpine climate range and are accessible by road. The valley has been connected to the rest of the country with numerous roads and most of them are metaled roads. During a recent earth quake, most of the infrastructure of the valley was destroyed but much of it has been rebuilt in the past few years and the valley has regained its hustle and bustle.
The valley is quite large and has many natural spots in it. The length of the valley is more than 155 kilometers. There is diverse range in the elevation along the valley. The lowest point of the valley is at a mere 2,134 feet above the sea level coming in at 650 meters, while the highest point of the valley is the famous Babusar Top which extends to the height of 13,690 feet equating to 4,170 meters.
The Kaghan Valley can be accessed almost the whole year round, but there are many problems about visiting the valley in the winter season as it is very hard to go through jeep tracks and there is land sliding, glaciers moving on the roads and other blockages. And even if these are surmounted, there is not much to see in the winter tie as the entire valley is covered in a blanket of snow and ice which makes going out difficult. Even the locals go to lower altitudes during the winter months.
The best time to visit the valley is in the early and mid of summer months. The people who want to see some of the snow and ice intact on the lakes and in the forests should visit the valley in the very start of the summer months and those who want to trek in the lush green surroundings and see the animals that come out during the summer to breed should opt for the mid-summer months to trek through the valley.
There are four ways to visit and travel in the Kaghan valley and you can pick either of them according to what suits you best.
The first way is to go to the valley in a personal vehicle such as a car or a personal jeep and then visit all the places that are connected by a metaled road. This will allow a family to reach almost all of the local hot spots. Many places allow a person to stay for the night and have good accommodation.
The second way is to trek through the valley on foot camping at the various places which are of natural beauty. This does not require much experience and new people should do this fairly easily. The equipment needed for this kind of a journey is not much and only minimal carrying equipment is needed.
The third way is to hire jeeps in the valley and then hire pack animals such as mules. This allows a person to visit the various lakes and other natural hot spots without the burden of carrying the equipment at all. However, there are many places which the pack animals will not be able to reach so the trekking which is done with the animals will not be able to take the people of the group to all the places that are there to be explored in the valley.
The fourth way to travel through the valley is a hiking tour where people with special hiking equipment will try to visit various peaks and lakes which are difficult to reach and out of the way. This kind of tour is recommended for only the experienced hikers who have at least had one previous hiking journey in this kind of situation.
Each kind of trip will require different kinds of equipment. For a hiking trip full hiking gear is needed along with some carrying equipment. Personal equipment remains the same for all tours and includes warm clothes, good boots, sun protection and gloves, etc.
For a tour on the car with the family, the only equipment needed is tool kit for the car and extra fuel as well as some extra clothes.
For a tour by the jeep where camping is an option, the things required are camping gears and carrying equipment.
For a tour by foot where camping is required, the group will need food and other necessities as well as camps, and walking sticks, sleeping bags, etc.
Some precautions should be taken when visiting the Kaghan valley so that all members of the group return safely.
The entire area is full of untouched natural beauty. There are small mammals such as weasels, rodents, wild sheep, marmots, deer and other herbivores. Carnivores such as foxes and wolves have also been seen in the valley. Leopards are present in the valley as well.
Birds include the blue tit, the blue jay, the wood pecker, hawks, falcons, vultures, various kinds of peasants and wood cocks as well as some migratory birds.
The flora of the area includes herbs such as the one used in local remedies, cedar and other hardwood trees. Conifers forests and various varieties of pine are also present here.]]>
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.]]>
Siri Paye meadows are located 6 km away from Shogran, 10 km away from Kiwai and almost 34 km away from Balakot. Getting there is easy through a 212 km metalled road from the capital city of Islamabad. Once you are in Shogran, a jeep ride, hike or horse ride can take you to the beautiful meadow located at an elevation of 3000 meters or 10,000 feet. The meadow also has a famous lake called the Payee Lake which is located in the center of a valley created by the peaks of Makra, the mighty and majestic Malika Parbat and the Moosa ka Musalla Peak. The lake itself is located at an elevation 9500 feet equating to roughly 2895 meters, but the mountain peaks surrounding the lakes are much, much higher.
The Siri Paye meadows and the surrounding mountains will come under snow cover during the winter months. Therefore, the summer months are the best time to visit the place. However, there are two times to visit them in summer depending on the choice of the trip.
This is the time when there will be snow left over from the winter season; there will be snow not only on the lake but also on the mountains and the passes. This is the time recommended for trips who want to see snow and snow covered lakes and meadows. There will be some greenery but it will not be that lush.
This is the time when most of the snow will have melted except on the tops. The greenery will be lush and this is the time when most of the normal trips are conducted.
So depending on what the members want to see, the trip can be arranged accordingly. However, during the end of the summer, much of the vegetation will grow rough and there will be harsh sun. So it is not recommended to travel to these lakes during the last part of summer.
The trails that are done by the trekkers are done via jeep or on foot. If the trail is going to be done on foot it is better to camp at the meadows for one day. Here is a simple trekking guide to the meadows and the Paye lakes for a round trip on foot.
The trip arrives at Shogran Valley and then stays at the accommodation in the valley for the night.
The trip leaves for the Siri Paye meadows on foot and it takes almost 3-4 hours to reach there for novice hikers. The trip then stays for the night there.
The trip reaches the Paye lake in the early morning and then stays at the Paye lake during the night.
The trip can either return to the base or they can do the Moosa Ka musalla or the Makra peak treks during the fourth day and then return to base the next day.
If using the jeep track, a trip can reach the Siri Paye meadows and the small lake on the same day, and can then camp at the lake for the night and return the second day. Alternately, they can start very early in the morning, enjoy the beautiful views during the day and return at night.
If the trip is going to be a simple trekking trip with stays at only housed accommodation, then the trip needs to only take with them personal items like warm clothing, hiking boots, sun creams, hats and others simple stuff. However, if the trip is going to be a camping trip then the group will have to bring full camping equipment with them as there will be no accommodation at either the meadows or the Paye Lake. This equipment will include tents, fly sheets, pegs, precooked food, walking sticks, weatherproof rucksacks, carrying bags and other hiking equipment.
There are some simple tips which should be kept in mind when undertaking this trip.
The flora and fauna of the Siri Paye meadows is very diverse and there are various phases throughout the year when many migrating animals and birds also appear there.
The main mammals that are found in the location of the meadows are the marmots, other small rodents and various verities of wild sheep, although, many of the wild sheep have since been domesticated. There have been various sightings of leopards but these have not been recurring and it is thought that human expansion has driven away the leopards from the area.
The birds in the area are the various birds of prey such as hawks, ospreys, eagles and vultures. The small birds such as snow pigeons and blue jays wood cocks are also seen. There are also various verities of migrating birds that come to nest during the summer months.
The flora of the area is made up from the many hardwood trees such as the deciduous and conifer species that make up the vast forests of the area. Also there are the herbs and bushes which have been used as remedies by the local population during the past centuries. The local wild flowers and shrubs of berries are also present in this area, but all trekkers must take care not to consume any of these plants without making sure what they actually are as some plants may be slightly poisonous to eat. So, proper care should be taken while on the trip as it will help in avoiding any problems.]]>
Another thing which makes these lakes so unique is that the path that leads to them is not some ordinary mountain path, rather the way to the lakes is via a long road which travels parallel to a flowing stream. This makes the journey to the lakes one of the most amazing and enjoyable journeys in the tour. Parties usually travel to the lake in open jeeps and this adds to the overall excitement factor of the journey.
The difference of elevation between the lakes is very small. The lowest of the lakes is located at an elevation of 3050 meters above the sea level while the highest of the three lakes is situated at a height of 3150 meters above the sea level; therefore, the elevation difference between the lakes is quite nominal. The lakes are located in the Naltar Valley which in itself is part of the Gilgit Baltistan Province in the northern part of Pakistan. The closest towns to the valley are those of Nomal and Hunza.
When snow falls in the area during the winter months, there is almost no place for the snow to go. As opposed to other northern areas that receive snowfall, the area is not that heavily slopped and, therefore, all the snow that falls will pile up. This insulates the snow underneath and it is quite common to have snow with heights of 15 feet blocking the roads during the winter months.
Therefore, the best time to visit the lakes is in the summer. However, the summer months can be very harsh in the area, so it is advised that the visitors should plan their trip from early to mid-summer. It should be remembered that most of the distance is covered in jeeps so there is no need to be afraid of the mushy and marshy conditions that are caused by the melting snow. Therefore, trips should be arranged in the early part of the summer months between the months of June and July. Trips that are taken to the area in the months of August and September will feel the full brunt of the scorching sun.
These days a road has been created from the town to the lake which is used by many jeeps to take tourists and trekkers to the lake. However, there is also a trail which can be used for the trekking to the lake. In both conditions the path is the same, and the difference is only of the time spent on the way. When the trip is done on foot the time taken will be in hours and the trek will be medium due to the height and elevation of the lake. However, jeeps will be able to cover the same journey in a very short time and the members of the group will have the time to enjoy the lake and the various activities on the lake.
While on the trip to Naltar Lake, the tourists will be taken to the army land and to an active lake, therefore, two things must be kept in mind. Firstly, the people participating in the trip should make sure that they’re following the law and, secondly, they should make sure that they are not disturbing nature. So, here are some things that must be kept in mind when traveling on this route.
The entire area which the trip will visit has a lush forested eco system. There are trees and shrubs that grow in the area and blanket the entire area during the summer months. The most common trees in the upper altitudes are the montane broadleaf but, in the relatively lower heights, forests of coniferous species such as Picea as well as Junipers can also be found in abundance. Many trees of the deciduous variety such as Fraxinus and Olea are also found here as well. The area also has growths of Pistachio and Sage retia as well as the Betula and Salix. There are many herbs that are local to the area and these have been used for medicinal purposes for many centuries. These herbs include plants like Artemisia, Haloxylon and Stipe.
There are many endangered animals that make this area their home. These include the beautiful Astor Markhor and the magnificent Alpine ibex. There are also reports that the snow leopard and the brown bear along with both the gray and the red wolves and foxes have been found in the area, but these reports are not many. More common reports are of the marten and leopard cat being found in the area. The most common birds in the area are blue tits, blue jays and warbles. The most amazing bird is also a warbler and is known as the Brooks’ leaf-warbler.
All these nature reserves make your trip to the Naltar lake awe-inspiring and an ever memorable one. There will be lots of sightseeing options and many unique experiences.]]>
Karambar Lake is situated in one of the most beautiful valleys of Pakistan, the Ishkoman Valley. The valley is located in the Ghizer District of Gilgit–Baltistan province. The elevation of the lake is 4,304 meters i.e. 14,121 feet. This makes it the thirty first highest lake in the entire world and the second highest lake in the entire country. The location of the lake is in the Gilgit Baltistan area but is almost 205 kilometers away from the town of Gilgit. The deepest parts of the lake may go to the depths of 55m while the area of the entire lake is almost 2,634,400 meters square.
The lake is a biologically active lake that means it will not freeze over, but the best time to visit the lake is when the season is open and there is no snow near or on top of the lake. This allows the lake to shine in its full glory. Almost all tours that go to the lake try to plan their stay in such a way that they reach the lake within the time window of 20th of June to 20th of August. However, recently seasons have changed a little bit and snow does not thaw till the end of May. So, it will be better to go to the lake between the first week of July and the first week of September.
Any trip taken to the lake will be a full hiking tour which may take up to ten days. Given below is the tour plan for a trip which is for medium hikers who can handle some of the difficult hikes, but they are not able to exert themselves as professional hikers who are able to climb mountains like K2. If the trip is of professional hikers they can take out two of the stops.
The trip departs from Chitral and reaches Mastuj where they set up the first camp.
The trip will depart from Mastuj with only light breakfast. They will reach Lush and take brunch here, then depart for Kashmanja where they will camp for the night.
The trip will depart from Kashmanja with full breakfast and they will hike the full day with only a few short stops to catch breathe and rest. By the afternoon they will reach Ishkarwaz and camp here for the night.
The group will travel from Ishkarwaz to Showrsheer and camp there for the night. This will bring them within walking distance from the lake. Expert hikers can take the journey to the lake within one day by only resting at Showrsheer but it is recommended that the group camps here for the night.
The group will trek from Showrsheer and reach the lake in the afternoon.
The trip should stay at the lake for one day in order to enjoy the lake and the scenery around it. A full day is, therefore, recommended for staying at the lake itself.
The group will travel from the Karambar Lake to the town of the Lashker Warz and they will camp there for the night.
The group will travel from Lashker Waz to Chikar BC and camp there for the night. Experienced and professionals can go straight towards Darkot Base but it is recommended that only one journey is undertaken in one day by amateur hikers.
The hikers will trek from Chikar BC and reach Darkot BC where they will camp for the night.
The last stage of the journey is from Darkot BC towards Rawat. This will be done through the amazing Darkot Pass. Hikers will Camp at Rawat, or they may continue to Chitral and hire a jeep from there in order to stay at a hotel.
A hiking trip to the Lake is going to be a full hiking tour, therefore, complete precautions should be taken and all members of the group should know basic survival skills.
While traveling towards the lake, the hikers will be able to see and observe many species of the wildlife that are common to the area like marmots, Marco polo sheep, Markhor and Deer. However, they may also see some special and endangered species like the brown and the black bear, the famous Ladakh Urial and the Himalayan lynx. There are many birds in the area that come for nesting and breeding during the warm months, and so hikers should be careful not to disturb any nests that they may find. Most easy to see will be the warblers and the buntings, as they’re most easy to spot. While the red starts may also be seen, it is only possible if they are nesting nearby.
As the lake is active, there may be fish in the lake which may of various different species.
The trek towards the lake will be full of wild flowers and the small shrubs that grow in the local areas with wither berries or flowers. It is advised not to eat any berries without being sure what they actually are.]]>
The Upper Kachura Lake is one of the two lakes which are called Kachura, the second lake is called the lower Kachura Lake and it is also called the Shangrilla Lake. Both of these lakes are located in the Skardu District of the Gilgit-Baltistan province of Pakistan. The lakes, both upper and lower, are located at an elevation of almost 2,500 meters i.e. 8,200 feet above the sea level.
The area of the lakes is such that it is covered in snow in the winter months. The locals do not even visit the out of way places during these months and the people who are living in the area try to migrate to other low lying areas during the time of the winter. But during the summer season these areas are full of vegetation. There are many trees that bloom only in the summer months and almost all of the local flowers bloom in the summer months. Therefore, the months of summer are the best months to visit the lake.
Another thing which must be kept in mind is that during the months of July and August, many of the local people will be offering hospitality services and it will be easier for a trip to be taken to the area. Therefore, the best time to visit the lake is during the months of June, July and August.
The lake is very easy to reach as it is on one of the few marked and maintained trails of Pakistan. The simplest way is to travel to the lower Kachura Lake via public transport or a hired car. Driving a personal vehicle is only recommended to those who are experienced in mountain driving. From the lower Kachura lake try to go straight towards the “bazar”. Once the party reaches the Bazaar, the trail will be visible with its marking and its signs. Then it is a simple ‘follow the signs’ job. The lake is very easy to reach and the trek has been marked as “easy”. Even with novice climbers and trekkers, the trek will not take more than three hours at the most, while those who have experience with hiking will be able to reach the lake within 90 minutes of starting.
As much of the trip is going to be undertaken on roads, the trip must be undertaken in a responsible manner.
When the trip will travel to the Upper Kachura Lake they will see that all of the landscape is almost as if nature is undisturbed. This is due to the fact that no industry has taken hold of the area yet. Furthermore, this is the reason that many small animals like rodents, squirrels, wild foxes, wild cats and marmots will be seen while traveling in these areas. Snowcock and snow pigeons can also be seen rarely in these areas. Furthermore, the lake is an active lake and, therefore, it will be full of fish which can be caught using tackle and supplies loaned by the various locals. Alternately, the members of the trip may bring their own supplies with them. Getting indulged in such an activity at the lake will certainly make your trip interesting and exciting.
The trees, which are common to the area, are the subalpine conifer trees which include many species of hardwood and are prized all over the world. Although the logging industry has yet to exploit this part of the land. One of the most unique trees in the area is of the wild apricot which is known by the scientific name Prunus armeniaca. This is one of the most beautiful trees is the area and many birds such as Blue jays, warbles and blue tits will come to nest in these trees. With all these marvels of nature, this lake remains to be on top of the list for many who want to explore the nature reserves found all over Pakistan.]]>