Afghanistan creates first national park

A few weeks back we mentioned that Afghanistan has been actively trying to build tourism in an attempt to bolster the country’s economy, and we even mentioned that the Bamiyan Province in particular was at the forefront of this movement. Now, the country has taken another step in that region by designating a UNESCO World Heritage Site as nation’s first national park.

The new park is located around the Band-E-Amir, a chain of six lakes located in the Hindu Kush mountain range. The lakes are well known for their natural beauty, as they are surrounded by rocky peaks and the water is said to be deep blue in color and plunge to an unknown depth. They have attracted tourists for years, and were even scheduled to become a national park back in the 1960’s, but due to political instability in the region, that plan was shelved, until now, when a $1 million grant from the U.S. helped to finalize the plans.

Band-E-Amir is roughly 228-square miles in size, and remains quite remote. There are no paved roads in or out of the park, and few in the Bamiyan Province at all. But the seclusion of the region is part of its draw, with adventure travelers making the journey to visit a place that remains well off the beaten path, while offering access to stunningly beautiful scenery and great opportunities for trekking.

Fortunately, Bamiyan Province also remains one of the most secure and safe places in the entire country. That security means that foreigners can travel throughout the area without fear, and seems more and more are taking advantage of that opportunity.