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Afghani Ski Guides_Afghan Ski Challenge 2014_COPYRIGHT_UntamedBorders

Summer 2014 Newsletter

In this issue:

  • A note from James
  • Upcoming trips in 2014 & 2015
  • Recent Untamed Adventures
  • Dedication to Ferdinando Rollando
Pictured: Ancient watchtower in Itum Kale, Chechnya

A note from James Willcox, Founder

“Travelling in Ingushetia, Chechnya and Dagestan is like walking on the moon but without a space suit” - Lonely Planet guidebook to Russia
Arranging trips to the Russian Caucasus Republics of Dagestan, Chechnya and Ingushetia has been one of the most rewarding things we have done in the last 12 months. But it has been far from easy. Thanks to helpful tourism promotion like the quote above there is little infrastructure for foreign tourists. Because there are no tourists. We have had to start from scratch spending hours travelling, researching, meeting people and assessing risk.
I have led four trips to the region in the past year and each of them had their own special flavour. Attending a Chechen wedding on our October trip was probably my favourite experience although the time spent in a school for the deaf in Grozny on a private trip in May was a really touching moment.

However, the most challenging assignment was guiding an academic researcher who was gathering info for an anthropological study. Asking questions in that part of the world is tricky at best, curiosity is not generally appreciated. The trip also coincided with the start of the Winter Olympics so the already tight security was on extra alert. We didn't get off to a very auspicious start as we were pulled over at the first security checkpoint and asked to show our documents to the FSB (Federal Security Bureau). Our driver was busy showing us a video of Steven Seagal dancing the Lezginka with the Chechen President on his phone at the time, when we hit a patch of ice and crashed into the FSB compound.
You would think that damaging security agency property in Chechnya would be a big faux pas but they just laughed it off. It seems that travel without a spacesuit is possible in the north Caucasus after all.

Upcoming Trips

Please take a look at the full list of itineraries for further info on upcoming trips.
Ski Afghanistan photo_copyright Untamed Borders

Ski Afghanistan 2015

Untamed Borders was the first company to run ski trips to Afghanistan. 
After four successful seasons we will be back in 2015 concentrating on skiing in the Bamian region of central Afghanistan.

Check out this Newsweek video for an idea of the types of adventure you'll experience on this trip.

The chance to truly blaze a tourist trail is a rare opportunity. 

Book early and get a 5% discount.
Kabul photo_copyright Untamed Borders

Afghanistan 2014

There are still places on our final two fixed date itineraries for Afghanistan in 2014.

Join us on a 22-day odyssey to Trek the Wakhan and live with one of the world’s least visited nomadic cultures: the Kyrgyz of the Afghan Pamir.

Or for a more cultural trip join us on our Melons & Grapes – Grand Afghan Tour and visit Herat, Mazar e Sharif, the lakes of Band e Amir & the remains of the Giant Buddhas. 
Wakhan Corridor photo_copyright Untamed Borders

Ethiopia and Somaliland 2015

This year we arranged some private trips to Ethiopia and Somaliland and are planning a fixed date itinerary to both destinations in Spring 2015. We will visit the hottest place on earth and the world's only permanent lava lake in the Danakil depression, feed Harar's local Hyena population and see the stunning cave paintings of Las Gaal in Somaliland. There will then be the option of two nights in Mogadishu. Contact us for details.

Recent Untamed Adventures

Some of the interesting experiences we have arranged in recent months:
  • A couple of trips to the north of Pakistan. Our guests travelled up the legendary Karakorum Highway, relaxed in the Hunza valley and one group experienced the world's highest polo tournament at the 3800 metre high Shandur Pass. See photos here.
  • We arranged a number of private Afghanistan trips in the Spring including one for Photographer Simon Urwin. His article on the tile maker of Herat can be seen in August's edition of the Lonely Planet Traveller Magazine. Photos from his trip can be found here.
  • We continued to take guests to Somalia. Photos from a recent private trip are here.

In dedication to Ferdinando Rollando

On the morning of 9th July 2014 Ferdinando Rollando, the good friend and sometime guide of Untamed Borders, set out to summit Mont Blanc. Despite the best efforts of the rescue services in Italy and France he has not been seen since. Nando was a larger than life character, a pioneer in developing opportunities in mountain communities in Afghanistan and a very good friend to many at Untamed Borders. The world is a poorer place without him in it.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.
In dedication to Ferdinando Rollando
If any of the above trips sound tempting or you'd like to have a chat with one of the Untamed Borders team please get in touch.

Untamed Borders Team

July 2014
Copyright © 2014 Untamed Borders Ltd, All rights reserved.

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