Iran Part 3: Pedalling To Khuzestan [PHOTOS]

We’d heard that a series of dams were being constructed along the Karun. We hadn’t quite realised the extent of what this meant. No fewer than 3 major dams were already in existence on Iran’s longest river, including what the locals had told us was the biggest dam in the Middle East, and we heard of several more ongoing construction projects on the river’s tributaries.

The Karun swells

As we neared the confluence of the Karun and the Armand rivers, the prospect of paddling through hundreds of kilometres of politically sensitive building sites and manmade lakes was not one we were much looking forward to.

So we decided to continue by bicycle as far as Shushtar, the ancient summer capital of the pre-Islamic Sassanian Empire, a few kilometres below the last of the river’s dams.

The only problem with this plan was that we didn’t have any bicycles.

But this was Iran. And in Iran, anything is possible. (Especially if you’re a Farsi-speaking foreigner and you’re not afraid to roll the dice.)

Uber-friendly Esfahan cyclists
Cycling in Khuzestan
Cycle touring woes
Karun 4 Dam
Karun 4 Dam & water
Tunnel panorama in the Zagros
Spring flowers by Karun 3 lake
Springtime greenery in Khuzestan
Leon at Karun 3 Lake
Karun 3 dam (off limits)
Khuzestan mountain village
Izeh panorama
Cycling into Khuzestan's gas region
British-built houses in Naftsefid
Our hosts in Naftsefid
Courtyard in Naftsefid
Back on the road...
Filming gas craters in Khuzestan
Burning gas pipes
Photographing nomad camps
Bakhtiari nomad camp
Leaving the Zagros foothills
Sunset over the Karun

It turned out that Shushtar really was worth a visit, as you’ll see in next week’s pictures…

Camping equipment for this trip was kindly sponsored by Big Agnes. Our Iranian visas were procured with great efficiency courtesy of The Visa Machine. We’re also grateful to the folk at Lyon Outdoor for supplying Exped drybags and Aquapac waterproof camera cases wholesale for this journey.

7 Responses to “Iran Part 3: Pedalling To Khuzestan [PHOTOS]”

  1. Oliver

    Pretty interesting shots again! I’m flabbergasted to see the incredible diversity the landscape seem to offer and I really like those “tea ceremony invitations” you captured along the way, celebrating hospitality… 🙂
    Btw, are all these images taken using a GoPro?? I’m still not sure how “useful” it is for photos…

  2. Issa

    Good luck Tom.

    Hope to meet you one day 🙂

    A follower from Tehran

  3. Dave Baxter

    How did you manage to get bikes and panniers ?

    What did you do with them big back packs and boats and oars ?

    Enjoying the trip by the way, must help massively being able to speak the language.



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