There is absolutely no doubt that Pakistan is blessed with a diverse landscape. From gigantic eight thousander peaks and valleys in the North to the beauty of magnificent blue beaches, unexplored islands and the impeccable Makran coastal highway in the South, Pakistan is a true attraction for travelers and adventure seekers.
I happened to visit Gwadar a year ago on a three day work trip via road as the transportation networks have improved a great deal over the years connecting some of the remote areas to civilization. Regular one hour flights also take off from Karachi airport but why miss a little road excursion and breathtaking views when one has the chance to.
1. Karachi to Hingol –
You can reach Gwadar in an ideal span of 8-10 hours considering breaks and even watch the sun go down the tranquil waters provided you leave before daybreak. But if you’re anything like my workmates, arriving late for everything, you can leave time stamps aside and enjoy all that comes.
Steering through a humongous traffic on Hub road, make your first stop at any roadside dhaba in Windor for tea and some crisp parathas. Hang on to that traffick-y road for a little longer while enjoying the fresh breeze from Somniani beach and dry puffs from the ridges on the other side, till you make it to Zero Point, switching to Makran Coastal Highway, leaving behind all the honks. Cherish the scarcity of earthlings here and enjoy the shift of scenery in silence as taller, more sculpted rocks replace the flat barren fields.
You don’t need Maps to tell you’re in Hingol National Park as architectural marvels of Baluchistan Sphinx and Princess of Hope appear in front of you. These natural rock formations have been a source of attraction for many travelers and archaeologists recently. Hingol is also famous for its two known mud volcanoes, Chandragupt I & II and by the Hindu community as a Holy temple site of Hinglaj Devi.
A lunch break is necessary here and luckily you have the right combination of good food and a serene blue beach at Kund Malir Beach Hotel.
Don’t miss out on a stroll at this beach and see the various shades of blue unfold. Water so clean, you will not want to go back to any of the mainstream beaches in Karachi.
While strolling, you may even come across some of the local women, clad in traditional clothes and accessories who live in small temporary settlements deep into the Hingol valley and walk here to the coast in search of water. These women, accompanied by their children, are friendly to speak with and even ready to pose for some photography but you may not be able to converse as most of them only speak Balochi or it’s dialects and don’t understand Urdu.
2. Hingol to Gwadar
With a stomach full of good food, the views around seem even more mesmerizing. Just when you think a scenery is here to stay, something new comes up. Like the steep elevation at the famous Buzi Pass, the highest point on this highway with sloped roads and chiselled rocks on either side
The meandering continues crossing multiple checkposts on the way, which ensures the length of security measures taken to make this route as safe for travelers as possible.
One of the towns I most certainly want to visit again in peace is Ormara – A place most known for the hammerhead peninsula and Jinnah naval base. The hammerhead is a series of 1700ft high steep cliffs with a naval base on it. If only we had clearance from the Armed Forces, we could have stayed here overnight and witness the cloud-hovered cliffs and crashing waves beneath, which is truly a surreal experience.
You continue gliding on an unchanging impeccable road but the landscape on the side keeps flipping – shifting colors from gold to rusty reds as Buzi Makola Wildlife Sanctuary approaches near – known to be a natural reserve for migrating bird species of Siberia – sounds like a true heaven for photographers and bird watchers, although I personally didn’t spot many.
Thanks to CPEC, the development projects have been rapidly growing, turning this port city into one of the most promising hubs for economic activity, but that’s not all this city has to offer.
Great hospitality, superb quality Tuna fish, serene blue waters, marvellous locally crafted cloth pieces and artifacts and so much more awaits to welcome you at Gwadar. Still under development, this place has a lot of people relocating to this region from other cities bringing in other cultures, traditions and also helping to break language barriers as education is also on the rise.
Our accommodation was settled at Port Grand Hotel, where the manager hosted us like family and treated us to their locally popular delicacies, which any foodie like me would thoroughly enjoy.
The hotel being at seafront, it was much easier for us to dash to the beach early morning for a view of the sunrise, however we were on the East bay and the water here is relatively denser than the West. If you don’t know what I’m talking of, the Gwadar isthmus is also a hammerhead peninsula with two semicircular bays at either side. The west is suitable for beaching and swimming, while the east is denser and hence serves as a port for giant incoming ships.
Nonetheless, it was a treat to watch a crystal clear beach with numerous seashells spread around creating a sparkle and watching the sun rise through a hazy sky.
Best part of my work trip has to be visiting the port and seeing both large fleet of ships and small boats clustered against the backdrop of Koh e Mehdi Hills, which has two high points that you can trek to. You can even spend the day by simply hiring a boat from a local fisherman and go for your own experience of fishing in the Arabian Sea, obviously accompanied if you’re an amateur.
What trip is complete without visiting the local Bazar as it speaks volumes about the likes and tastes of its residents, so we hit the Galag Market and found items of all quality and category even those that read “Made in Iran” as the border is just a 120km away and it’s pretty convenient bringing in the goods though grey channels
Contrary to popular belief, it’s extremely safe to visit Gwadar or any of the other towns with friends and family. Gwadar is more popular as it’s developed to quite an extent and hosts a large influx of people from surrounding areas with regards to work. The locals are helping and very supportive of travelers visiting their region as it boosts their confidence and gives them a chance to show their hospitality.
Have you visited Gwadar yet? Does this blog entice you to plan your next trip there?
Do let me know in the comments below 🙂