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Spanafrican Adventures's Blog

The latest news on Spanafrican Adventures operations.

The Baltistan village of Turtuk, Ladakh

The region of Baltistan falls within the Karakorum range, K2 being the highest peak, only 100 odd kilometres down the road. Once again stark arid scree littered mountains dotted with splashes of green villages punctuate this striking landscape.

Turtuk is about as close as you can get to Pakistan in India, physically and literally. This delightful village is crunched into the narrowing Shyok River valley in the furthest corner of India, right at the tippy-top of the map. Only when the Indo-Pakistan war ended in 1971, Turtuk (together with 5 other Balti villages) was then included within the Indian line of border control. It remained off limits until 2 years ago and keeping it well off the the beaten track.  It was perhaps one of the nicest ways to end this trip, as Turtuk was in every sense a treat - culturally intact, untainted by tourism and simply delightful.

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Those curious camels

Very obliging and photogenic. Keep at a distance, the breath is baaad!


While down in the Nubra valley, we spied a herd of those curious bactrian (double humped camels) munching on seabuckthorn berries close to another curiosity, a sea of sand dunes. Typically these camels are native to the central steppes of Asia, mainly Mongolia and Kazakstan. Apparently the Nubra valley formed part of the old trade routes between China and India, when this route collapsed, herds of the camels were left abandoned in the region and regained their wild habits, before being re-tamed once more, 15 odd years ago as an attraction for tourists.

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The Nubra valley

The majority of the Ladakhis living here are Buddhist with a minority of Shia and Sunni Muslims. (Diskit monastery).
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Not forgetting the other Passes

Feeling on top of the world, Benjamin and I are pretty pleased that it's all downhill from here.  It was a triumphant moment for us to have shared the exhilaration and thrill we both get from cycling and then reaching the top of this one! (especially that Ben is like my younger brother)
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Himalayan villages: Chumikgiarsa at 4000m

We walked alongside the beautifully braided river, highlighted with illuminous green moss. Despite the intense aridity springs sprung from the rocks and is essentially the reason why Chumikgiarsa was built along this ancient flood plain.
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