Khunjerab Pass

Khunjerab is the border between Pakistan and China located in the South West end of Gilgit-Baltistan province. At an altitude of 4700 meters, this Karakoram pass also becomes the world’s highest international highway. The distance of Khunjerab from the Gilgit is 270KM and from Sost it is 125KM. The first Chinese town Tashkurgan across the border is 130KM.

The snow covered Khunjerab pass is usually accessible from mid-May to October. A private travel arrangement is required to approach this wonder. Sost is the last point for accommodation and food before Khunjerab. Some exciting trekking possibilities are also there ranging from Shimshal to Batura and Wakhan corridor from Khunjerab.

A wide area from Shimshal to Khunjerab was formally declared as the Khunjerab National Park in 1979. This third largest National Park of Pakistan was established to protect the Marco Polo Sheep, Snow Leopards and Bharal living in the area. The Morco Polo sheep are a rare species and unique inhabitant of Khunjerab National Park. The population of Morco Polo sheep in Khunjerab is not yet confirmed but an estimated status is around 200 by several eye witnesses.

Snow Leopards are another attraction for Khunjerab National Park. The population of Snow Leopards in Khunjerab is also not certain but it is reported that it might be the highest density in Himalayan ecosystem. Other animals in this park include Siberian ibex, Brown bear, Tibetan red fox, Tibetan wolf, Blue Sheep, Golden Marmot and Migratory hamsters.

A variety of birds are also interesting part of fauna of Khunjerab.  Golden eagle, Himalayan griffon vulture, Eurasian black vulture, Marsh harrier, Eurasian sparrow hawk, Eurasian kestrel, Lesser kestrel, Saker falcon, Peregrine falcon, Himalayan Snow cock, Snow partridge, Chukar, Grey heron, Common sandpiper, Hill pigeon, Snow pigeon, Northern eagle owl, Eurasian cuckoo, Common swallow, Magpie, Alpine cough and Raven are the mentionable names.

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