THE ZAGROS MOUNTAINS
Wildlife Botanical Tour Holiday of the Zagros Mountains in Iran with Greentours
Dionysia enthusiasts will already know that so many of this choice genus originate inIranand in particular the great arc of the Zagros Mountains that stretch from the Turkish border almost to thePersian Gulf. They provide splashes of intense colour that illuminate a mountainous landscape of astonishingly varied topography.
Pink Merenderas, pale Colchicums and vari-coloured Irises emerge from snow-melt below magnificent peaks and lower down mahogany and gold Fritillaria reuteri flower en-masse. Even within Iran the 'flower fields' near Chelgerd are famous and Tehranis regularly make the long journey to see the spectacle of kilometre after kilometre of wild Crown Imperials. Tight lemon-yellow cushions of Dionysia haussknecktii adorn limestone cliffs where Tulipas humilis, biflora and systola flower. Rare Primula gaubeana, pink Fritillaria gibbosa, the compact orange-yellow mounds of Dionysia zagrica, and the lovely scarlet form of Anemone biflora bloom amidst Shiraz's spectacular ridges. Semirom offers no less than three pink Dionysia species, rare iranshahrii and mozaffarianii, and lovely bryoides flowering above slopes dotted with fabulous almost black Iris lycotis. The latter will only be in flower if the season is a little early, if it is a little late then instead we can see the delicate beauty of Iris zagrica and Iris hymenospatha whose standards are shot through with palest ice-blue. Stunning cushions of Dionysia lamingtonii and large-flowered pink-purple archibaldii illuminate the fabulous Koohrang Valley. Though Dionysias inhabit the steepest of terrain we've already found 'by the road' or 'foot of the cliff' locations for a dozen or so species so photographing most of them will not require too much effort! One fabulous cliff is smattered with pink and yellow even to its base, not two but three species of Dionysia with rare lurorum and two newly discovered species, crista-galli and zschummelii – a truly special spot! There's Lammergeiers, White-cheeked Bulbuls and a variety of Wheatears in the high mountains and a wonderful array of wetland birds at beautiful Maharlu. Those interested in mammals should see Wolf, Striped Hyena and Goitred Gazelle. Iran's fabulous historical and architectural heritage cannot be ignored and by a happy co-incidence we are able to start the tour in the ancient majesty of Persepolis and finish amid the sparkling blue-tiled mosques and palaces of Isfahan.
Flowers, Birds, Mountain Landscapes and Cultural Sites.
Usually up to three or four miles in a day, optionally more. Though Dionysias grow mainly on cliffs the majority of species are readily accessible though some require an uphill walk, occasionally steep. The rest of the plantlife is easy to get to!
Included in the Price
All flights. All transport, meals and accommodation inIran. Services of your leaders. Please note: drinks, tips, Iranian Visas, and items of a personal nature including insurance, are not included.
The minimum is 5 and the maximum is 15.
We start with three nights at the three star Park e Saadi Hotel in Shiraz. This modern hotel is handily placed for some of the city’s best shopping in the marvellous Vakil Bazaar. In Semirom we’ll stay in suites, which in Iran means to stay in small guesthouses where we’ll have the chance to experience staying in Iranian homes. The showers and WCs are private in some or shared with another room in others. The Kino Hotel in Chelgerd is a lovely four-star hotel - a stark contrast to the nearby village! Spacious modern rooms overlook fruit orchards and over to the snowy mountains beyond. In Aligoudarz we’ll stay at the Government Tourist Inn. One of a chain of government sponsored hotels aimed at tourists and business travellers to less well-known parts of the country, this is a pleasant hotel with large rather basic rooms. We’ll finish at the modern and comfortable four star Setareh Hotel inIsfahan. All rooms on this tour have en suite facilities except some of the suite rooms in Semirom where you may have to share with one other room.
UK flights are from London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Edinburgh*, Birmingham* or Manchester* via Istanbul to Shiraz, returning from Isfahan via Istanbul to any of those UK Airports. Indirect routes from other regional UK Airports* are available.
*These routes may incur a supplement.
Variable. InShirazand Semirom the weather should be warm and often clear and sunny in the day and cool at night. Further northwest it will vary between cool and sometimes damp to warm and sunny - we might even have some snow in Chelgerd as this is a very high altitude area.
How to Book
Contact us to check there is availability for the number of places you require. Download a booking form or contact us and we will send one to you. Complete and send to us. You will receive confirmation of your place and then a detailed information pack will be dispatched to you about twelve weeks before departure. Flower, mammal and bird checklists are available.