27 Jan Roadtrip In Pakistan: Karachi To Gwadar
by Mohammad Ibrahim Zeeshan from Pakistan
A warm sunset in Hub while on the way back from Gwadar by Mohammad Ibrahim Zeeshan
Pakistan has long been overlooked with negative views engulfing us. However, it is fascinating to see and discover the diversity and opportunities that this land offers. Recently, I went on a three-day trip from Karachi to Gwadar and I can, without doubt say that it will be the most eye-opening and memorable trip for years to come. Therefore, I thought that it would be great to share this fabulous part of Pakistan with you. The one-way trip is 650 km long and takes about 7 hours to cover.
The road near Kubd Malir by Mohammad Ibrahim Zeeshan
Karachi to Zero Point
Leaving Karachi on a fine morning, you head towards Hub. Hub is an emerging industrial centre of the country located just within the perimeters of Balochistan. Leaving the town of Hub, you pass the Sonmiani Ridges and Beaches on opposite sides. Approximately 90 km from Hub is where you reach the ‘Zero Point’ where you move onto the Makran Coastal Highway.
The Changragput Mud Volcano by Mohammad Ibrahim Zeeshan
Zero Point to Kund Malir
The landscape changes once on the Makran Coastal Highway. For half an hour or so, on both sides are vast flat lands with some instances of green, cultivated fields. However, soon the landscape becomes delightful and interesting as you leave the plains behind entering into the Makran Range. The first attraction is on the left side where there are various active Mud Volcanoes out of which the most prominent are; Chandragupt I and II.
Kund Malir Beach from the Coastal Highway by Mohammad Ibrahim Zeeshan
Travelling an extra hour, you reach the serene Kund Malir beach, a rising weekend destination for Karachiites. The sand at Kund Malir is extremely clean as compared to the beaches of Karachi and the greenish-blue sea shines in the sunlight all day long. A number of Dolphins can also be spotted here jumping out and diving back into the water.
The Princess of Hope carved by wind by Mohammad Ibrahim Zeeshan
Kund Malir to Ormara
The gradient of the road changes rising towards the highest point on the Coastal Highway, the Buzi Pass. Cruising through mountains on both sides of the road, it is a surreal experience. Sea and wind erosion have chiseled rocks into interesting and grotesque rock formations scattered across the area.
Natural Sphinx of Pakistan by Mohammad Ibrahim Zeeshan
One such example is the Princess of Hope, named by Angelina Jolie during her visit in 2002. However, the gradient becomes flatter nearing the town of Ormara. Ormara like other towns in the area is based on fishing. The hammerhead rock jutting into the sea is one of its salient features.
Ormara Seaside with the hammerhead in the backtop by Mohammad Ibrahim Zeeshan
Ormara to Gwadar
Ormara is about hafway on the Karachi to Gwadar journey. Therefore, it is a suitable place for a stopover for lunch or just for the purpose of breaking the journey. In between Ormara and Pasni lies the Buzi Makola Wildlife Sanctuary which is an inlet of the sea and a haven for migratory birds coming from Siberia in search of warm waters during winters.
A view of the city Pearl Continental Gwadar atop Koh-e-Batil by Mohammad Ibrahim Zeeshan
It is of particular interest to birdwatchers and photographers alike. Near Pasni, the area is again hilly all the way till Gwadar. Pasni is also second only to Gwadar in the fishing industry of Balochsitan.
A moonlight over the Arabian Sea by Mohammad Ibrahim Zeeshan
Right now is probably the best time to visit Gwadar and witness it in its developing stages and its relatively raw feel. There are various attractions in Gwadar such as the hammerhead, Omani Fort, boat-making yard and the Gwadar Port. Gwadar is unique in the sense that it has two large bays. The East Bay is where the Deep Sea Port is located. The city is exposed to the sea from three different directions thus, shaped like a neck. Gwadar also has two hills, the Koh-e-Mehdi and the Koh-e-Batil.
A view from the Cliff near Pishukan by Mohammad Ibrahim Zeeshan
Pishukan – Highlight of the Trip
Pishukan is a wonderful place which is unfortunately visited hardly by any tourists. It is located at about a half an hour drive from Gwadar and is a small town along the sea where the population depends on fishing. In the future, the Gwadar Jetty is planned to be shifted here. Driving to the top of the cliff near the coast is a majestic experience to say the least.
Dunes near Pishukan by Mohammad Ibrahim Zeeshan
The crystal clear waters and vibrant fishing boats make a sight to behold. On the other side of the road is a desert landscape with rippled, rolling sand dunes blowing over the tarmac. In addition, the track to Ganz village reveals mesmerizing cliffs and table-top mountains. Ganz village itself is fabled for the blonde hair, blue-eyed and fair complexioned people who are believed to be Portuguese descendants.
Seaside by Mohammad Ibrahim Zeeshan
Accommodation and Security
Many Karachiites used to visit Kund Malir but previously were unable to spend a night there due to the lack of accommodation services. However, now a 20-room hotel has been built by Dr. Naseer, an ex-DG Health. Rooms here cost around 3000 PKR (30 USD) .Whereas, in Gwadar there are various places for staying such as Pearl Continental Gwadar (run by Hashoo Group), Sadaf Hotel and Marjan Hotel. The security situation is stable contrary to popular belief about the area. The entire length of the highway is safeguarded by Pakistan Coastguards’ check posts and watchtowers. The fact that a restaurant in Ormara is run by a Pathan from Chaman reflects the safe and harmonious conditions that prevail within the region.