Tigrovaya Balka State Nature Reserve

Tigrovaya Balka State Nature Reserve

Tigrovaya Balka State Nature Reserve is a wetland and forest nature preserve located in the direction of Vakhsh River between Pyandj and Kafirnighan rivers at the board of Afghanistan. The park lies just two hours’ drive south of Kurgan Teppa about 70 km and 167 km from Dushanbe. Its territory extended for 40 km from south-west to north-east  and its relief has the shape of valley floodplain terrace with falls which include many cutoff lakes, formed during meandering of Vakhsh River. 

Tigrovaya Balka (Tiger Valley) that takes its name from the tigers for which the area was once famed. 
In 1898 the geographer W. Rickmer Rickmers visited the area nearby on a hunting trip. He described, “I always had a man with a 577 express at my elbow, for tigers are very plentiful, as I saw from their tracks”. There are none now. The last one was seen by park staff in 1954. However, it is claimed there are 45 species of animal, 214 types of birds and 480 plants. They are, sadly, long gone, however, furnished with a reliable 4×4 and preferably the services of a guide it is still likely to see Saiga deer, wild boar, jackals and other wild dogs. 

Tigrovaya Balka Reserve is characterized by the
WWF as the most significant nature reserve in Central Asia, due to its great size and ecological diversity. Furthermore, it is extremely important for rare species of tugay or riparian forest, ecosystems. National Park is well managed, occupied the territory of 50,000 ha of riparian woodland with 10 lakes next to the river Vakhsh. 

The park is wealthy with a variety of animal life, including Bukhara and Saiga deer, hyenas, jackals, lynx, porcupine and wild boar. It is a perfect place for bird watching, particularly for hawks, falcons and waterfowl. There is a breed of flatfish unique to the area that grows to 100 kilograms. The home is a mixture of woodland, savannah, reed beds around the lakes and the great river Vakhsh is 400 m wide at this point. There is 60 km of moderate dirt roads within the park – a four-wheel drive is to be required, particularly in the autumn wet season. There is a museum outside the gates holding tableaux of stuffed specimens of the species to be found in the park. 

If you are planning to visit the place, make sure to get an entry permit from Dushanbe in the office of The Protection of National Parks in Dushanbe at 64, Druzhba Narodov, near the Russian Orthodox Church, on Aini Road, the main road going east from Dushanbe to Kafirnihan. Since it also takes time to process the entry permit make sure to apply at least 2-4 days before you leave the city. According to the last price tag for the entry permit for about US$40 however, might change by today. 

Other sights & destinations near Tigrovaya Balka State Nature Reserve

Page updated 1.12.2022

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