Tigrovaya Balka

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 Pyanj and Kafirnighan rivers at the border of Afghanistan. The park lies just two hours’ drive south of Kurgan Teppa (about 70 km) and 167 km from Dushanbe. Its territory extendes 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 by the meandering of the Vakhsh River. 

Tigrovaya Balka (Tiger Valley) that takes its name from the tigers for which the area was once famous for. 
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 (fire arm) 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. Many of them are, sadly, long gone. However, taking a ride with a reliable 4×4 and preferably the services of a guide it is still likely to see Saiga deer, Bukhara deer (Bactrian deer), gazelles, striped hyena, mountain sheep, jungle cat, badgers, tolai hares, jackals, wolves, wild boar, jackals and other wild dogs and even large reptiles like the gray monitor lizard, Central Asian cobra, blun-nosed viper and the carpet viper. 

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, dominated by the of 50 000 hectares of riparian woodland with about 20 lakes next to the river Vakhsh that joins the Amu Darya just after the park. 

Tigrovaya Balka park is also a perfect place for bird watching, particularly for hawks, falcons and waterfowl. There is also a breed of flatfish unique to the area that grows up to 100 kilograms. The area 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 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. 

Travel to Tigrovaya Balka

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, the entry permit was about 40 USD but the price might have change already. 

Other sights & destinations near Tigrovaya Balka State Nature Reserve

Page updated 1.12.2022

Scroll to Top