Crystal clear water, clean air and hospitality: This is the Makran Coastal Highway (Jawad Khan)

Crystal clear water, clean air and hospitality: This is the Makran Coastal Highway

 

Pakistan has always been hailed as a paradise for adventurous souls. From the valleys and mountains of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to the deserts and beaches ofBalochistan, we have some of the most unique combinations of natural beauty in the world.

Yet, the more I travel across different regions of this beautiful country, the more I realise how little I, like many of us living in the cities, know about the gorgeous scenery and breathtaking views that exist all around us, just waiting to be explored.

This realisation hit me again on my recent trip to the Makran Coastal Highway and the Caribbean style Kund Malir beach that runs along with it. I’m sure you must have heard about the Makran Coastal Highway, but not many people have actually ventured to explore the place.

The reasons for this hesitation are obvious. Balochistan, where the coastal highway is located, doesn’t usually feature in the news positively. Secondly, the highway is located quite far away from the centre of Karachi – at a distance of 250 kilometres and a drive of four hours, to be precise. Hence, our main concerns were about safety and the reaction of the locals.

Preparation

Our first concern was the security issue. After all, we are all aware of the kidnappings and target killings that happen regularly in these areas. However, after a detailed discussion with a friend, who drives to Gawadar twice a month for his pharmaceutical distribution business and who happens to be a non-Baloch, I learned that the problem areas were deep into Balochistan and not around the coastal highway. In fact, as I later found out, the whole route up to Gawadar is under the surveillance of coast guards and the Pakistan army.

Journey

Our group consisted of 12 people, none of whom had ever been to the Makran Highway before, so the excitement was palpable. We kicked off our journey at around 4:30 a.m. The weather was absolutely stunning with light drizzle and a cool breeze. Around 2.5 hours into our journey, we finally hit the Makran Coastal Highway and the real fun started!

A stainless carpet-like road surrounded by mountains with camels sauntering on both sides of the track, the Makran Coastal Highway is sheer joy to drive on. It is not difficult to forget that you’re just a couple of hours away from Karachi. The freshness of the air, and the cleanliness of the environment, creates the setting for a long, in fact, a very long drive.

The Makran Coastal Highway – A driver’s dream. PHOTO: Jawad Khan

Other than the amazingly smooth road, the Makran Coastal Highway bears stunning natural rock formations on both sides and it’s a pleasure to watch these as you whiz by. For those who have seen the American Grand Canyon and the Egyptian Pyramids, you can form a rough sketch in your mind of the scenery.

Pakistan’s Grand Canyon. PHOTO: Jawad Khan

 

Our ride back home was equally enjoyable and thankfully, we were back in Karachi just as the sun was setting.

Recommendations

Since the journey is quite long and there are no shops after Zero Point (at the start of the Makran Coastal Highway), you should plan ahead and be well-equipped with all necessary arrangements.

Here are a few things I would recommend:

  1. Leave early, if possible, before dawn.
  2. Go on a Sunday – you’ll avoid much of the usual traffic.
  3. It would take a continuous drive of around four hours to reach the Kund Malir beach.
  4. Remember that the Kund Malir Beach is also known as Agor by the locals, so don’t get confused.
  5. Travel in a group of at least 8-10 people and take more than one well-maintained car.
  6. Fill up your fuel tank and make sure that the wheels are in good condition.
  7. Take water, snacks and other edibles with you.
  8. Keep a sleeping bag, picnic blanket or a small tent with you. There are only two huts at the beach but both are privately owned.
  9. Mobile signals recede as soon as you reach Zero Point so make any necessary calls before that.
  10. The last fuel pump is at Hub so keep an eye on your gauge and re-fill accordingly.

With a little planning and a craving for adventure, this trip will not be one you’ll forget soon!

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Published: 1499 days ago

Category: Articles