The Land of Light

Trail-running Afghanistan

  • Trail-running Afghanistan: The Land of Light
  • Trail-running Afghanistan: The Land of Light
  • Trail-running Afghanistan: The Land of Light
  • Trail-running Afghanistan: The Land of Light
  • Trail-running Afghanistan: The Land of Light
  • Trail-running Afghanistan: The Land of Light
  • Trail-running Afghanistan: The Land of Light
  • Trail-running Afghanistan: The Land of Light
  • Trail-running Afghanistan: The Land of Light

Trail-running Afghanistan: The Land of Light

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In September 2021 (TBC), world leading trail runner Lucy Barthomolew will be leading a pioneering trail running camp on the shores of a high altitude lake in Afghanistan. Discover a fascinating region while learning what it takes to be an elite endurance athlete.

The total price for the trip is $3990 (plus a single supplement if your wish).  We interview all those that apply to join the trip.  Once selected, participants will be required to pay a $650 deposit to secure their place on the trip. 

To express your interest and for further information, please contact us at:, or book a consultation with us by clicking on the button above.


This trip offers an exciting opportunity to discover a truly stunning, rarely visited part of the world, whilst learning first-hand from one of the world's leading trail runners.

A few days spent exploring the beautiful and historic valleys of Bamiyan before heading deep into the mountains and the dazzling blue lakes of Band-e Amir for 3 days of trail running with Lucy Bartholomew.


The safe and peaceful region of Bamiyan, in central Afghanistan.


We will be running a 10 day trip in September 2021 (TBC).

Contact us for further information on precise dates.


The trip is open to enthusiastic runners who are eager for an adventure beyond the usual trails.

While you do not need to be a fast runner to join, fitness and endurance experience is a must. You will need to be able to run up to 30km per day for 3 days in a row on rocky mountain paths. The trail running camp will take place at altitudes of 2900-3500m.

We will be a small team of up to 8 people. Throughout the trip, we will be accompanied by a local guide, along with a member of the ISHKAR team and Lucy.

Due to high demand we interview everyone who applies to join ISHKAR trips.  Your group travel experience is as important to us as the destination experience.

Cost & Booking Information

The total price for the trip is $3390*. A non-refundable deposit of $650 is required to secure your place on the trip.

Please note that by paying the deposit, you agree to abide by our Terms & Conditions.

For further information, contact us at:, or to book a consultation with us: Click here

Please note that a single supplement will be added to the price should you wish to not share a room.

* Where international payments are due, we request that you ensure the full amount is received after all bank charges have been levied, as per the price and currency stated on the invoice stated.

Preorders explained

If an item is out of stock you are able to preorder the item, so that you're first in line when its back. Once you have preordered an item we guarantee the order to be shipped to you within four months. If the item is delivered outside this window we will provide you with your money back. Often the order will arrive well within this four month period. Contact for more accurate information on when orders for this product are likely to be ready.

Terms & Conditions

Please visit our Terms & Conditions page for further information.



Bamiyan lies between the ancient mineral streaked Hindu Kush mountains and the soaring sharp peaks of the Koh-e Baba. Its verdant green valleys are punctuated by ancient mud brick fortresses and crumbling ruins dating back to when Genghis Khan laid ruin to the region. Our running routes will take us across the mountains surrounding the dazzling blue lakes of Band e Amir.

Bamiyan is a safe and peaceful region, populated by the Hazara people, who are staunchly opposed to the Taliban.

We will be flying directly from Kabul into Bamiyan, avoiding the parts of Afghanistan which draw international headlines.

ISHKAR Travel - Explore Afghanistan

Trip Overview

This trip offers an exciting opportunity to discover a truly stunning, rarely visited part of the world, whilst learning first-hand from one of the world's leading trail runners - Lucy Bartholomew.

Having acclimatised exploring the beautiful and historic valleys of Bamiyan, we will head deep into the mountains to the dazzling blue lakes of Band-e Amir.  We will set up camp on the shores of the lake.  Here, over three days, Lucy will lead us in challenging runs of up to 30kms, and in workshops surrounding nutrition, race strategies and training tips.  Lucy will cook nutritious food from her soon-to-be released cookbook, and lead yoga sessions to build up our strength and flexibility.

This is a pioneering trip in what must be one of the most unique and wild running destinations on the planet.

ISHKAR Travel - Lucy & Majell's trail running camp in Nepal


Lucy Bartholomew is a leading figure in the ultra running world, running for names such as Salomon and Suunto in races including the prestigious Western States 100 (USA) and the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB).  Lucy completed her first 100km race at the age of 15. Since then Lucy doesn’t just compete to win, she competes because running has become a way of life in itself.

Lucy has previously lead trail running camps in Australia, South Africa and Nepal.  Sponsored by Salomon, Lucy has managed to get her hands on brand new running equipment for each of our travellers, including exculsive Trail-Running Afghanistan t-shirts and Salomon trail running packs.


The Price

The price for this once in a lifetime trip is US$3390* per person.  This sum includes all food, transport and accommodation whilst in country, along with all trail running related workshops with Lucy Bartholomew.  We will be assisted by guides who know the region inside out, providing access to areas rarely seen by tourists.

Email to apply now:
Book a consultation with us: Click here.
Call us on: +44 7946 268 10

Please note that a single supplement will be added to the price should you wish to not share a room.

* Where international payments are due, we request that you ensure the full amount is received, after all bank charges have been levied as per the price and currency stated on the invoice stated.

ISHKAR Travel - Explore Afghanistan


We are uncompromising when it comes to the safety and security of our travellers and will not hesitate to alter plans or cancel trips due to changing security dynamics. While large parts of Afghanistan suffer from  instability and conflict, we only travel to parts of the country which are safe for foreign tourists to visit.

After one night in Kabul - where we stay at a very secure and low profile UN security-approved guesthouse - we will fly to Bamiyan, a safe and peaceful region which has not been touched by the insecurity seen elsewhere in the country.

We have lived and worked in Afghanistan for many years and we have a strong network of local partners to ensure our security and provide us with the most up-to-date security information.

Please see our Travel Security page for more information.

ISHKAR Travel - Explore Afghanistan

Your Guides

Sajjad Husaini & Alishah Farhang

Alishah & Sajjad are two of only a few winter sports athletes in Afghanistan, and central figures in the nascent tourism industry in Afghanistan.  Originally born in Bamiyan, both are now leading guides in the region, sharing the desire to offer the world a different view of Afghanistan.

ISHKAR Travel - Explore Afghanistan

ISHKAR Team Member

Your ISHKAR point of contact for the trip is Zanna Baker.  If you have any queries about the trip:

Book a consultation: Click here.

Zanna Baker ~ Head of Travel
Zanna joined the team in ISHKAR's early travel days.  In her former life, she worked all over from Norway to Antarctica, Somalia and Uganda, managing a variety of projects.  She is on hand to deal with any of your trip logistics and concerns. 

ISHKAR Travel - Team

play pause


01 / Bamiyan

Created in AD 500, the Buddha's were infamously destroyed by the Taliban in 2001. We will explore the vast niches and hundreds of caves which pockmark the cliffs around (some of which are inhabited to this day).

02 / Trail running camp

Learn from professional athlete Lucy Bartholomew over a 3 day programme of running, yoga, recovery and nutrition.  Use your free gifts of a Salomon trail running pack and Salomon tshirt to speed you along as you run.

03 / The sapphire-blue lakes of Band-e-Amir

Spend the night in Afghanistan's first national park and swim in the crystal clear sapphire lakes of Band-e Amir.

04 / Ancient

Clamber up the ramparts of age old fortresses like Bamiyan's red fort, and amongst the dramatic ruins of the ‘City of Screams’, perched high on the cliffs over the Kalu river.


ISHKAR Travel - Explore Afghanistan

Serious trail hangover. Rad weekend all around. Well worth it.

- Paul, Trail Runner South Africa Camp 2019

ISHKAR Travel - Explore Afghanistan

Can't tell friends enough about our journey with ISHKAR in Afghanistan. I particularly enjoyed the small group vibe, the variety of activities and the warmth and hospitality of the leaders. If you are thinking about it, don't. Just go.

- ANNETTE WIDTZ, Bamiyan Traveller 2019

ISHKAR Travel - Explore Afghanistan

My legs are tired and my heart is full!

- Sarah J, Trail Runner 2019

ISHKAR Travel - Explore Afghanistan

The trip provided an opportunity to experience the other aspects of the country - pursuit of peace, fantastic landscape and kindness of people.

- Chenhu Lui, Bamiyan Traveller 2019

Is it safe in Bamiyan?

Visiting Afghanistan is not like other travel destinations and we take extra precautions with security. We will be flying directly from Kabul into Bamiyan, a stable and peaceful region, avoiding the parts of Afghanistan which draw international headlines for the wrong reasons.

Whilst we want participants to have as much freedom as possible, the local guides and ISHKAR have the final say if we need to change in the itinerary for safety reasons. If there is an extra expense incurred due to the change of itinerary then you may be asked to bear part of that cost.

Should you travel to Afghanistan?​

The stories we see in the news about Afghanistan tend to have a single-minded focus on the conflict. While this violence is still a daily reality for most Afghans, there are also stories we rarely hear: tales of ancient history, rare wildlife and truly unique scenery.

Tourism is not the answer to all of Afghanistan’s problems, but it can help a little. We want to put money directly into local pockets and encourage a sense of pride by treating Afghanistan as a desirable place to visit.

How will COVID-19 affect the trip?

In order to protect both our travellers and those that our travellers come into contact with, we mandate a strict set of COVID-19 protocols which include social distancing, usage of hand sanitiser and the wearing of face coverings.   Our COVID-19 procedures are based on up to date advice from the World Health Organisation in addition to following local requirements. Along with our security information, we ensure to send out our COVID-19 procedures document to every traveller.

All travellers (regardless of vaccination status) are required to obtain a negative PCR test result within 72 hours prior to departure.  Within 24 hours prior to departure travellers (regardless of vaccination status) must also obtain proof of a negative rapid antigen test result.   Proof of both these tests must be sent to ISHKAR prior to departure, and its cost will covered by the traveller, not ISHKAR.

Should ISHKAR decide to cancel a trip as a result of COVID-19 or should a traveller be unable to take part in the trip as a result of COVID-19, you will be offered options including a full refund as per our COVID-19 Travel Policy.  Any further questions, please take a look at our COVID-19 Travel FAQs, and our generic COVID-19 Protocols, or contact a member of the team:

Do I need to be fit?

Yes, you need to be used to/ capable of running 30km per day on consecutive days. Lucy will be running with you and giving you tips on how to get the most out of your running experiences before, during and after your runs.

We will require a doctor’s certificate to confirm that your health is suitable for the activities.

What altitude will we be running at and what is the terrain like?

Band e Amir can range from 2900-3500m in altitude.  The terrain you will be running on will be rough tracks and paths with significant ascents and descents thrown in.

What is the weather like in September?​

It is highly unlikely to rain.  Temperatures tend to be around 25 degrees Celsius during the day and can drop to 5 degrees Celsius at night.

Where can I see the exact itinerary?

We do not publish our itinerary online for security reasons. We will share it with those of you travelling and a select few others. Please note that the exact itinerary is subject to change.

What is included in the cost?

The cost includes return domestic flights (Kabul - Bamiyan), all accommodation, transport/transfers in Afghanistan, guiding, workshops, Salomon equipment, 3 meals per day, water and entrance fees. It does not include international flights into and out of Afghanistan, visa fees, insurance, excess luggage charges, cameras, alcohol, additional food and drinks, medical expenses, tipping.

What do I need to bring with me?

We will provide you with a detailed packing list closer to the time, but we would advise having a running vest/ pack and the ability to carry 1litre of water.  You will also be given a Salomon trail pack and a tshirt at the start of the trail running camp. Whilst camping you will also need to provide your own sleeping bag.

What happens if I get injured whilst running?

Lucy is first aid trained and we will be bringing extensive first aid kit.  If it is a minor injury you will be treated on site, however if it is deemed to be a major injury we will follow our medical evacuation plan to ensure you receive the necessary care.

Will we have a guide?

Throughout the trip, you will be accompanied by an extremely experienced local guide who speaks fluent English, along with at least one member of the ISHKAR team.

When do I need to book?

As early as possible. The trip is for a maximum of 8 people and we expect it will fill up quickly.

A deposit of $650 will secure your place and the final balance needs to be paid 60 days before departure.

What happens if COVID-19 affects my trip?

Please refer to our COVID-19 policy and our COVID-19 FAQs for further information.

Do I need special travel insurance?

You are required to have full travel insurance specific to the region and the activities.  This will need to include suitable Kidnap, Ransom & Extortion Insurance.

If you are unsure if your existing travel insurance policy will cover you, we can suggest specialist insurance companies.

We use Battleface and highly recommend it. Other options include (but are not limited to): Clements, World Nomads, Petersen, Cambell Irvine or The Universal Insurance Co Ltd.

How easy is it to get a visa?

Very easy. You will need to apply for a one-month tourist visa. We will advise you on how to do this.

Will I be able to travel on my own?

We want the trip to be as flexible and dynamic as possible, but we also need to take your security seriously and do not advise ever being alone during the trip.

Can I explore Kabul?

We do not recommend travelling independently in Kabul. However, if this is something you are interested in do let us know so we can advise you on what to do/see.

Do I need any vaccinations?

Please check with your doctor for up to date information on vaccination requirements.

Where will we be staying?

For most of this trip we will be staying at our favourite local hotel which is comfortable and centrally located in Bamiyan. There will be an option of a shared and single room. For two - three nights we will be camping in comfortable bell tents in Afghanistan’s first national park Band-e Amir.

Can I come on my own?

Yes of course. Individuals and small groups are equally welcome. Personally, we also think this could be the perfect trip to experience with a parent, child, or partner!

What is the food like?

All meals are included and we will be eating in some of our favourite restaurants in the area. However, we are not going to Bamiyan for the food. It can be outstanding, but it can also be (and often is...) very average. There are vegetarian options in most places but please consult us if you have very specific dietary requirements.

Whilst in the trail running phase of the trip, Lucy will be giving us some her tips on nutrition.  A  cooking enthusiast, she will be helping to provide food whilst we are camping.

When do I need to book my flights?

If you are thinking of applying please email us at and we will send you the flights you need to book to ensure your safe arrival into Kabul as a group. We advise booking them as soon as you have confirmed your place on the trip.

Can I book even if I don’t live in the UK?

Yes of course. You will just need to arrive at Kabul airport in time for our domestic flight and to meet us all at the airport. If traveling to and from the UK you will most likely be travelling alongside one of the ISHKAR team.

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