This photography tour is SOLD OUT! If you would like to join the waitlist, please email email@example.com
Roof of the World
Photography Tour 2019 (SOLD OUT)
Join Jack Picone and Stephen Dupont along the ancient mountain trails of the old silk road.
The North-West Frontier, Marco Polo and the Old Silk Road, Hunza Valley, Kashgar, the Hindu Kush, Karakorum mountains, Himalayas and the high Pamirs…evocative names that appear in many people’s bucket lists. These destinations and other quite unique experiences are to be encountered on this spectacular tour.
The tour is timed so we can attend the fascinating, intense and passionate Shandur Polo Festival held for a few days every summer on a high pass usually closed by snow.
We will also live with the reclusive Kafir Kalash people said to have descended from Greek soldiers of the army of Alexander the Great. This fascinating ethnic group is still practising pagan rites and millenia-old traditions that are colourful, vibrant and a gift for the photographer.
Even the world-weary and experienced traveller will be inspired by remote and spectacular mountain scenery, the scale of which is almost incomprehensible. The region is sparsely populated but of incredible cultural interest. Legacies of the Old Silk Road, remoteness, intense environmental conditions and hardships have forged communities of harmony, hospitality, loyalty, endurance and reverence for tradition.
The dramatic natural settings of mountains, lakes, deep valleys, alpine meadows, sheer chasms, towering pinnacles, precipitous villages and snow-fed rivers are immediately accessible without needing to trek for days. This is a generous region for any photographer.
We are aware of concern and preconceptions you may have about travelling in these parts. For quite some time, this area in the very north of Pakistan has posed little or no danger to travellers. Our priority is always the safety and wellbeing of our clients, we continually monitor the local situation and use the most reputable operators in the region.
You will be travellers, not just tourists. Every day will present moments of spectacle and the photographic rewards will be a bonus as your minds and hearts will already have been treated to a wonderful range of new experiences.
3rd – 18th July 2019
Kalash, Karakorum and Kashgar Mountains
$12,500 per person (SOLD OUT)
Up close with the Hindu Kush,
and Pamir mountains.
Staying in the remote Kalash valleys with their unique pagan inhabitants, Witnessing the raw intensity of an almost anarchic annual Polo tournament.
Explore Hunza Valley,
a ‘Shangrila’ famed for the
longevity of its residents.
Karakorum Highway a precipitous marvel of engineering and ‘sheer’ spectacle, Traverse the home of the world’s largest glaciers and highest peaks.
- A DSLR Camera with lens/lenses
- Spare batteries, there will be a long days with plenty of shooting.
- A sturdy tripod.
- Remote shutter release.
- Filters if you have them (Polarizer/Graduated/Neutral Density).
- Good walking shoes.
- Wet weather gear & a compact umbrella (rain will not hold us back).
- Your creative brains.
- The weather can change very quickly in Pakistan, also being high altitude, It can get quite chilly.
- Comfortable breathable clothing.
- Light cotton clothing is best.
- Temperature can quickly change.
- Good supportive hiking style boots.
- Sun protective headwear.
- Stunning Mountains
- Glacial Rivers
- The Kalash People
- Shandur Polo Festival
- Captivating Valleys
Breakfast, lunch & dinner will be provided each day.
Meeting time & place
Peshawar’s international airport
This photo tour is SOLD OUT
Day 1: Peshawar
Upon arrival at Peshawar’s international airport you will be transferred to your 5-star hotel the Pearl Continental.
Day 2: Peshawar – Khyber Pass – Peshawar
Peshawar has been a strategic town for over 2500 years and is one of the oldest cities in the world. Close to the famed Khyber Pass, it has been occupied by Aryans, ancient Persians, armies of Alexander the Great, Kushans, Mauryan Hindus, Gandharan Buddhists, Mughals, Afghans, Sikhs and the British who romanticised the ‘North-West Frontier”.
If possible, we will spend the day going west to Jamrud Fort, the entrance to the Khyber Pass and proceed to explore the Pass with its rocky crags, narrow gullies, prominent forts, secluded tribal villages and ultimately a viewpoint from which to see the Afghan border crossing and nearby Hindu Kush mountains.
If this is not possible for security reasons, we will enjoy wonderful photographic opportunities in Peshawar’s old town with its numerous labyrinthine and timeless bazaars that reflect the exotic meeting of Central Asia and the Indian sub-continent. Burqa-clad women swoop by in the ‘ladies bazaar’ an elsewhere
Day 3: Peshawar – Kalash Valleys
Leaving Peshawar, we climb the Malakand Pass, drive adjacent to the Swat Valley, home of Malala Yousafzai and enter the Kalash valleys. Here we will discover a completely unique culture which has survived for centuries thanks, in part, to the remote valleys that protect it.
The Kafir-Kalash (‘Wearers of Black Robes’) are an ancient pagan culture claiming descent from the armies of Alexander the Great. The three valleys are home to 3-4000 Kalash who joyfully maintain a culture of song, dance, religion and costume with women wearing elaborate headdresses of cowrie shells, feathers and colourful weaving.
Day 4: Kalash Valleys
Enjoying the alpine climate and exploring the Kalash valleys along precipitous roads at times, we visit villages with log and stone huts, water mills, apricot orchards, distilleries (wine and ‘white lightning’ made from mulberries), clear willow-lined valley streams and Kalash people with fair skin, clear blue or green eyes and a ready smile.
The Kalash religion has been called ‘pagan’, ‘animist’ or ’polytheist’; they practise animal sacrifice, have outdoor shrines, venerate a god called Dezau, ancestors and other spirits. They are still a conundrum for anthropologists.
Day 5: Kalash Valleys – Chitral
A short drive brings us to the town of Chitral standing at the foot of the highest mountain of the Hindu Kush, Tirich Mir (7708m) and beside the Chitral River.
Visit the ornately domed Shahi Mosque, main bazaar and Chitral Fort, where 400 British soldiers were famously besieged in 1895.
Day 6: Chitral – Shandur Pass
A 5 hour drive through spectacular mountain scenery takes us to the Shandur Pass (3743m) which is only open in the summer and is a flat meadow, perfect for a polo field and adjacent camping. Shandur Lake and surrounding snow-capped mountains provide the environment for a unique gathering.
Get ready for polo, passion, feisty fans and festive scenes.
We camp here for 2 nights in pre-erected tents with all facilities.
Day 7: Shandur Polo Festival
The Shandur polo festival features traditional rivals Chitral 155km from the West and Gilgit 200km from the East. It is considered the wildest polo tournament in the world as passions run high, the altitude creates enormous strain on ponies and man, rules and boundaries are flexible and spectators are loud and passionate.
Photographers have wonderful opportunities to get close to the action, mingle in the fervent and festive crowd and exploit the spectacular setting of mountain and lake.
Day 8: Shandur Pass – Phander
After watching the last polo match (starting at 9 am) we depart eastward through the mountains past lakes, river valleys, steep rock scree, pastoral scenes, tiny hamlets on verdant fields and brilliant blue skies.
Day 9: Phander – Gilgit
Proceeding to Gilgit and our very welcome and comfortable hotel we are well aware that we are on the ‘roof of the world’ as we near the confluence of the Gilgit and Indus Rivers which marks the junction of three mighty mountain ranges, the Hindu Kush, Western Himalaya and Karakorum.
Gilgit was an important city on the ancient Silk Road and was a conduit for the spread of Buddhism out of India and into Asia over 2000 years ago.
Day 10: Gilgit – Karimabad, Hunza Valley
Today we join the Karakorum Highway an inspiring marvel of engineering and considered to be the eighth wonder of the modern world. It took 18 years to build with significant loss of life for the Chinese and Pakistani workers and it still requires continuous, prodigious efforts to maintain clear and safe passage.
For 100km we drive north and deep into the Karakoram mountain range to the renowned fairytale land of Hunza, reputed to reward its inhabitants with longevity and thought to be the inspiration of the story of ‘Shangrila’. Stopping on the way to view Mt Rakaposhi (7788m), the size and scale of its snow and ice face take a while to comprehend, particularly when standing so close to this giant.
Staying in Karimabad, Hunza we can see 6 mountain peaks over 7000m in height as they overlook one of the most beautiful valleys in the world.
Day 11: Hunza Valley – Karimabad
Karimabad is really a cluster of six villages with colourful market stalls, a maze of hillside laneways and ever-present mountain views. We will visit the 900 year-old Altit Fort standing 300m above the Hunza river on a sheer cliff and explore nearby Baltit Fort, recently restored by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture.
Day 12: Karimabad – Passu
Today we set off through stunning mountain scenery with jagged ‘young’ mountains that are yet to be eroded to a smoother profile. These “Passu Cones” or “Passu Cathedral” are irresistible to any photographer. Tupopdan Peak (6,106 m) is literally outstanding as are the nearby peaks of Pasu Sar, Shispare Sar, and Batura.
Gigantic fingers of rock contrast with the verdant flat valleys below. Villagers work the hard-won fields fringing their hamlets and are dwarfed by the ranges around them. The local Wakhi people are Ismaili Moslems of Persian origin whose spiritual leader is the Aga Khan and who exude a very gentle and genial manner.
The enormous Passau and Batura glaciers meet the highway and afford yet another photographic opportunity.
Day 13: Passu – Kunjerab Pass (border crossing – Tashkurgan, China
We proceed to the Kunjerab Pass. At 4693m it is the highest paved international border crossing in the world, often closed by snow in winter and a visually spectacular place at which to farewell Pakistan and take in the beauty of the Pamir Mountains.
When entering China, we change from driving on the left-hand side of the road to the right and complete the 130km journey to Tashkurgan an ancient fortress town considered a mid-way meeting point for European and Chinese silk route traders. Mountain Tajiks are the majority ethnic group.
Day 14: Tashkurgan – Kashgar
On our way to Kashgar we pass the Taheman Grasslands and the Karakul (Black Lake) over which towers the mighty Mustagh Ata (7546m). We will also the White Sands Lake with sand dunes and turquoise waters, Kyrgiz yurts, herdsmen and horsemen and usually some Bactrian camels.
At the end of the day we arrive at Kashgar, home of the ethnic Uighurs who migrated here more than 1000 years ago as nomadic herders from lands near Mongolia to the north.
Day 15: Kashgar
Our full-day tour of Kashgar will take us to the Old City, to Yakshambe, one of the largest bazaars in Central Asia, the Id Kah mosque, the Abak Hoja tomb and the Silk Road museum.
Day 16: Depart Kashgar
We transfer to the airport to join our homeward flights.
Included in the Roof of the World Photography Tour 2019 cost:
Best possible hotels – considering comfort and also location
Best possible camping facilities at Shandur Pass. 2 nights camping.
Best possible transport – Jeeps with no more than 3 passengers i.e. every client has a window seat. Air-conditioned vehicles when possible.
Breakfast and Dinner daily except Shandur with Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
Water in all vehicles every day.
All tips for drivers and guides and hotel staff.
Guided tours at all major destinations.
At least one English-speaking local escort throughout the tour.
English-speaking drivers if possible.
All entry fees, camera fees etc
The services of two Fotoworkshops mentors.
Not included in the Roof of the World Photography Tour 2019 cost:
Items of a personal nature e.g. laundry, alcoholic drinks, phone calls etc
Personal travel insurance which is compulsory.
*TOUR ITINERARY IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE AT THE DISCRETION OF GLENN MCKIMMIN. PLEASE READ OUR T&C FOR MORE INFO.
Why choose our Landscape Photography Tours?
Imagine combining a dream holiday with your passion for photography. You will explore secret locations and gain new expertise in one of the greatest art forms ever created. With Fotoworkshops, you will be personally mentored by some of the most highly regarded professionals in the industry. A truly immersive experience that is sure to check off on the bucket list.
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All of our Photo Tours require a moderate level of fitness. There are no major walks but where possible we would like our guests to be able to walk for about an hour if needed. Check with your tour guide before leaving and we can give you a better idea of any special fitness requirements you may need to complete the Tour.
Private Guided Tours
If groups are not for you and you would prefer to travel by yourself or with a group of friends and family then we can accommodate your needs by customizing a Photography Tour to suit your individual needs, schedule, budget and interests.
We also offer private one or two day photo tours and workshops in many of our locations. Please or email us for rates and information.
Keep in mind travel insurance is a compulsory part of booking any of our Landscape Photography Workshops
How To Book
Once you place your deposit through our secure booking platform your place will be reserved instantly. The team will then be in contact with you to provide you will all the information you will require and confirm your trip details. If you would prefer to make your booking with the team directly, please email firstname.lastname@example.org