Location - Varzob district to the north borders on Zaraf-shon valley, situated on the northern slopes of the Hissar range (Anzob and Takion settlements), on the east - Romit Valley, on the south-east - Ro-hati and Vahdat (formerly Orjonikidzeabad, Ko-farnihon).
Transportation ~ hitchhike or taxi from Dushanbe
varzob valley is a favourite recreation area for Dushanbe residents. There are many recreation areas and picnic spots here. It is widely known as a small geographic area close to Dushanbe in the basin of the Varzob River, crossing the central part of the southern slopes of the Hissar range.
Highways connecting Dushanbe with northern districts of the country and the Ferghana Valley, Istravshan (formerly Uroteppa), Khujand (formerly Leninabad) and Aini and Panjakent, pass through it.
The Lower Varzob River, which changes name to "Dushanbinka", flows into the wide plain in which Dushanbe is situated, and further to the west of the capital, into the Kofarnihon River. From its start to its exit into the plain, the Varzob Valley is 72km long. The drop in altitude from the beginning of the river to its mouth is about 1.5km. The flora of the Varzob River basin is rich and diverse. There are juniper, walnut, maple, apple, cherry-plum, and hawthorn trees, and shrubby arboreal vegetation.
Not far from Dushanbe, in Varzob valley is the Gusgarf Waterfall, the most beautiful in the Hissar range. A wild river breached a vertical rocky cliff many centuries ago and the water falls there from a height of 30m. A large volume of water cascades to the bottom and scatters into a myriad of droplets that cheerfully glitter in the sun. A footpath to the waterfall starts from the 21km marker in Varzob Valley. From here to the waterfall is a 2-3 hours walk (about 8km). April-May is the best time for a hike to the waterfall. At this time of year the mountain slopes are full of red tulips, and hawthorn and other plants are in blossom. Those who love the thrilling experience can test themselves in unusual water treatment. There is a fairly deep round pool here filled with ice-cold water, a fine spray from the waterfall and a current powerful enough to send one sprawling. Apart from the Gusgarf Waterfall the valleys of Siy-oma, Ojuk, Kondara, Maikhura and Tagob Rivers flowing into the Varzob River are also very popular. The unique beauty of these valleys is amazing. The slopes of the Ojuk Valley (25km from Dushanbe), stretching dozens of kilometres deep into the mountains to the north-east of Varzob, are covered with vines. There are also apple, cherry and plum trees, but the main attraction in this valley is the numerous sycamores, known by the local population as chanor. The valley obtained its name from the Ojuk tributary which flows into the Varzob River. Hiking afong the Ojuk Vaffey is a pfeasurabfe experience. The climate here is mild. The river has many ponds in which it is very pleasant to swim, and sandy beaches where you can sunbathe. Moving up along the valley it is possible to get to the Simiganj (Golden Treasure) village which is famous tor its grapes.
Kondara Valley (31km from Dushanbe) is a protected area, which preserves unique flora and fauna. In the valley, at the end of the Varzob Valley, are the Botani?al. Gardens of the Academy of Sciences of Tajikistan The Gardens were established in the late 1930s. The valley itself served as a giant natural laboratory for the Institute of Botany of the Academy of Sciences.
The Institute staff planted various species of trees bushes and herbs in this valley, and observed their acclimatization and growth in mountainous conditions. The gardens are not large, however, almost one tenth of the flower flora of the CIS countries is collected here. More than two dozen of them cannot be found anywhere else.
In the 1970s a large resort complex was opened here which included three big ten-, six- and four-storied pavilions. They contain everything necessary for useful treatment and a comfortable stay. This complex was designed by architects from France who were able to seamlessly fit it into the surrounding landscape. The buildings not only blend into the harmony of nature but also accentuate the background beauty of the peaks and the slopes against which they are located.
Khoja Obigarm resort
The main treatment at this resort is mineral water, which belongs to the brackish nitric-siliceous therms of suplhate-hydrocarbonate sodium-calcium composition with temperatures from 45-96ï¿½C, used for bathing. Each litre of water contains up to 0.5 gram of dissolved salts. Khoja Obigarm's hot mineral springs have been known for a long time. They come out of a fault zone and junctions of red granites. In the space of 400m there are almost 40 springs. Seven boreholes were drilled there. Water of a similar composition can only be found in Cha-monix, France.
This resort's other powerful treatment is a high-thermal (+92ï¿½C) aero-steam mixture containing radon. As early as the 1930s radon steam treatment went as follows: there was a hole in a ground next to a large stone which was covered above and had enough room tor one person. It was a kind of a cellar into which hot mineral water steam from the Earth's depths comes. Those who wish treatment undress and come down to the pit wearing a sheepskin coat. After several minutes in this sauna a patient comes out wrapping themselves up with quilts. Such a procedure is repeated 2-3 times a day. The treatment now happens under the observation of qualified medical staff. Gout, joint, muscle and peripheral nervous system diseases as well as gynaecological disorders are treated at the resort.
The area has a high-mountain climate which gives a moderately hot summer, and is snowy, but not intensely cold in winter. The dry air is an important factor in treatments. More than 30 species of herbs widely used in medicine grow in the resort area.
About 38km from Dushanbe the Varzob River is joined by one of its largest tributaries - the Tagob River. The Tagob River is formed through the joining of the Tuikutal and Varmanik Rivers. In the upper Tagob, at 2,200m above sea level, there is the hilly Safed-Dara Plateau (White Valley), Tajikistan's ski resort.
Since the 1970s skiers have come to this plateau. The Children Olympics downhill skiing school was organized here. A housing estate, including a four-story building (where the school and a hotel were situated), and many mobile homes which belonged to vaxiaus. organizations are here. Currently the whole infrastructure is in need of modernization or major repair.
The snow, which falls from early November and sometimes late October, remains on this plateau seven months a year. In winter the weather is often clear and calm with lots of sun. There are two cableways about 1 km long which skiers can use to get up to the top. It is always very crowded in ski season and during weekends and holidays. You can rent skis here. It is best to use a 4-whee/ drive car to get to the plateau.
After the Hushyori village, 42km from Dushanbe, there is a road on the left to the Khoja Obigarm resort (1,790-1,960m above sea-level). The resort cannot be seen from the highway; it is about a 6km climb to Khoja Obigarm.