Vakhsh River

The Vakhsh River is a great place to visit, from its origin in the Rasht Valley, through the town of Norak (Nurek) and downstream to the Vakhsh Valley, and finally as its joins up with the Panj River to form the Amu Darya river border with Afghanistan. However, many locations are inaccessible, restricted or prohibited. Unfortunately, some roads along the upper Vakhsh River are open only to local villagers, hydroelectric dam workers and Tajik government employees, as the road crosses over or come very close to hydroelectric dams. Furthermore, the road on the Vakhsh between Baipaza Dam and Sangtuda-1 is completely destroyed or under the reservoir waters in certain sections.

For now, the best places to see the Vakhsh River are in Norak, above and below the massive hydroelectric dam (information here), and near the small cities of Qurghonteppa and Sarband, seen in the photo below:

Vakhsh River

Vakhsh River, downstream from the Qurghonteppa Airport

Along with Norak, the best place to visit the Vakhsh River is by using Qurghonteppa and Sarband as starting points, as can be seen in the satellite image map below:


If you would like to visit the Vakhsh River at the easy and open locations between the airport and Qizilqala, read our full description here. If you would like to visit the river in the Sarband area, visit this page.

The Vakhsh River at the Sarband train bridge

There are many places where you can walk along the river bank, and the rock beaches provide great oportunities for rock collecting.

Vakhsh River rocks in Sarband

Vakhsh River rocks in Sarband

The results of 20 minutes of rock hunting:

Vakhsh River rock collection

Downstream at the town of Qizilqala the Vakhsh River is joined by the Yovonsu River (AKA Shurdarya), which is very muddy. After this point the Vakhsh River loses its blue colour. Furthermore, the further downstream you go, the less clean the water gets as it passes through many agricultural areas and towns. But you will again find cleaner water further downstream as the Vakhsh passes through the remarkable Tigrovaya Balka wetlands (information here). Past this point is the Afghan border zone, and is off-limits.

We will soon have more information on visiting the Vakhsh River. For now, watch this slideshow (which includes canals drawn from the river and reservoirs that hold the Vakhsh River back):

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