Geographically, Tajikistan is generally subdivided into five natural and geographic zones: Northern Tajikistan, Southwestern Tajikistan, Central Tajikistan, the Western Pamirs, and the Eastern Pamirs. These zones differ from each other in climatic conditions, relief, geological structure, vegetation, animal world, and anthropogenic load. The climate of Tajikistan is continental, characterized by considerable seasonal and daily fluctuations of temperature, humidity and other meteorological elements. The annual average sunshine varies from 2,000 to 3,160 hours.
The Pamir Mountains considered the hub of Asia, known locally as BomiDunyo (the Roof of the World), are the range from which several of Asia's highest mountain ranges radiate, including the Karakorum and Himalayas to the south, the Hindu Kush to the west and the TienShen to the north, straddling the border of neighbouring Kyrgyzstan and China. Described as the Roof of the World, these mountains form one of the most unexplored regions on earth, which have attracted climbers and hunters from the former Soviet Union for years. Here, in a network of high, wide valleys amid mountain peaks in excess of 23,000ft, is prime hiking territory, populated by wildlife including Marco Polo sheep, rare snow leopards, wild boar, ibex and brown bears, amid deep valleys, swift-running streams and unspoilt mountain meadows.
The Fan Mountains are famous for their fantastic lakes and peaks and are perfect for trekking, horse trekking or rock climbing. Little known and rarely visited, these mountains form part of the Pamir Range tucked away in northwest Tajikistan. This beautiful wilderness renowned for its high summer pasture is a haven for the amateur botanist and ornithologist and offers spectacular vistas of flower-strewn meadows, turquoise lakes and Snowmelt Rivers with a backdrop of 5000m peaks. Like many remote areas in Central Asia with a tradition of warm hospitality, your journey here will likely be punctuated with pressing invitations from local nomads and herders.
The Muzkol Range- these mountains are considered totally unclimbed with a number of 4.000m and 5.000 m unnamed peaks of varying difficulty. Climbing should be adventurous without being extreme, and there will be opportunity to enjoy some trekking in stark but beautiful surroundings. There is also the possibility of encountering wildlife such as Marco Polo sheep, wild camels and snow leopards.
Lake Sarez, in the heart of the Pamirs, was formed in 1911 when the side of a mountain was dislodged by an earthquake and fell into the path of a mountain river.
Iskandarkul Lake -Established in 1969. Area 30.0 thousand ha. Elevations range from 2,000 to 3,500 m. The following animals are represented here: loach, muddier, green toad, water snake, Himalayan rock agama, geckos, Central Asian viper, Levantine viper, wood pigeon, blue hill pigeon, rock pigeon, and other. The lake is known as the lake of Alexander Macedon) with alpine meadows, forests, crystal clear water of the lake and rivers, pure mountainous. On a hiking tour tourists will have to spend nights in a tent camp or cottages, which are available at Iskandarkul Lake.
Kara-Kul Lake - in the north of the Pamirs, formed by a meteor 10 million years ago, is 3915m above sea level and hence too high for any aquatic life.
Tajik National Park - is the largest nature protection area in Central Asia, with a wide spectrum of mountain and high-mountain ecosystems. Established in 2002, the park contains 2.6 mills. ha and includes numerous species of flora and fauna, including Marco Polo mountain sheep and ibex and snow leopard. It also contains a number of glaciers, encompasses rather big mid-mountain and high-mountain territories, which conclude 14 types of ecosystems and numerous natural monuments as well.
"Beshaipalangon" Nature Reserve - spectacular woodlands inhabited by Bukhoro Deer, pheasant, hyena, riparian and foxes. Established in 1938. The nature reserve (49, 9 thousand ha) is located on the south of Tajikistan.Prevailing landscape is flat delta terrace of Vakhsh River 7 km wide. It includes 10 lakes and bogs with predominance of tugai forests as well as deserted and foothill ecosystems of southern Tajikistan and agro-ecosystems.
Romit Reserve - established in 1959, 16,2 thousand ha. It is situated on the southern slopes of Hisor mountain ridge, within the Romit gorge. Split rocky landscape with an elevation from 1200 to 3200 meters above sea level characterizes its territory. Forested area is less 3 thousand ha. Flora of reservation includes few rare and endangered species of plants while fauna is very diverse.
Dashtijum Reserve -established in 1983, area - 19,7 thousand ha, situated on southern slopes of Khazratishoh mountain ridge. An original rocky landscape with an elevation from 850 to 2400 meters above sea level characterizes its territory. Forested area is about 3 thousand ha. Flora includes few rare and endangered species: Fissidenskarataviensis, Ostrowskiamagnifica, Iris darwasica, etc. The largest population of Tajik Markhur Capra falconry inhabits here. Other fauna includes: Himalayan rock agama Steliohimalayanus, geckos and snake-eyed skinks Ablepharus, among many others.
Sari-hоsor Nature Park - established in 1959, since 1979 the area has been extended to 196 thousand ha. Since, in view of development of the South-Tajik territorial cattle-breeding complex the Sari-hosor protected area exists only conditionally. Average elevation 1400 - 4000 meters above sea level.Primary goal of protected area - conservation of mid-mountain and high-mountain ecosystems, especially broad-leaved forests.
Zorkul .Established in 2002.Area 80 thousand ha. Elevations range from 4,100 to 4,200 m. Primary goal of the protected area is conservation of habitats of rare and endangered species of birds such as bar-headed mountain goose Anserindicus, brown-headed gull Larusbrunnicephalus, Himalayan snow cock Tetraogallushimalayensis, Tibetan snow cock Tetraogallustibetanus. Besides, few rare and endangered mammals are protected: argali Ovisammonpolii, snow leopard Uncia, etc.
Shirkent Natural-Historical Park - Established in 1991, area - 31, 9 thousand ha. Average elevation 800 - 4500 meters above sea level. Geological basis of its territory consists of Paleozoic sedimentary-metamorphic and igneous rocks as well as Carbon granitites and other rocks. On the territory of the park more than 30 regular watercourses have been registered and 8 types of ecosystems have been identified. Shirkent Park is characterized by the series of 40 unique historical-geological monuments, including geomorphologic, lithologic, paleontology, tectonic, hydrologic, glacial and historical monuments. Most important objects are the three different age places of dinosaur's footprints, totally more than 400 footprints. The monuments of human history include more 50 archaeological objects and some monuments of ethnography with unique natural-recreational resources. The park provides conditions for organizing tourism-related activities among which mountaineering tours.
Peak Somoni and Mount Garmo are to the northwest and west respectively of Lake Kara-Kul. At well over 7000m these two peaks tower over Tajikistan and the neighbouring Republic of Kyrgyzstan to the north. Helicopter flights are available for those who wish to climb.
Yashil-Kul, or Green Lake (3734m). From the end-of-the-world Tajik settlement of Bulunkul it's a short drive or one-hour walk to Yashil-Kul. It's a turquoise lake framed by ochre desert, a couple of sandy beaches and warm springs on the southern side. A dam is being built at the west end of the lake. Trekking routes to Sarez Lake start nearby.