Hindu Kush – Chitral to Mastuj

A huge mountain range neighbouring the Himalayas, the Hindu Kush runs for 966km along the border regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The Hindu Kush Heights hotel offered wonderful views of the Chitral Valley as the sun set and rose the next day. With these views, good food and the fastest wifi we had (loading webpages in a tolerable amount of time) this was probably my favourite place we stayed at on the trip.

Close by the steep mountain sides are the natural habit of markhor, a kind of mountain antelope and favoured pray of the snow leopards.

We headed in jeeps up the Mastuj Valley, along a steadily worsening road, offering increasingly impressive views. The valley floor is home to a glacial blue river, and lush greenery, home to many villages. Almost immediately above the landscape changes to barren, if often colourful, walls of rock. Even further above (many more than 5,000m) are snow covered mountains. Quite a combination!

Reaching Mastuj I went for a short run in the Hindu Kush. The 2,400m altitude probably didn’t help but being my first run in a month was probably more the reason for the difficulty. I still managed to outrun the kids I came across who followed me, and was accosted by a local for a selfie as in this part of the world I’m the exotic one!

Outside the PTDC Mastuj motel were some lovely flowers.

The sun filling the mountains in Mastuj was quite a sight to start the next day.

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