A Mammal-watching trip to Iran with Greentours. Asiatic Cheetah, Sand Cat, Caracal and Asiatic Black Bear.
The stark beauty of the mountains and lakes and the wonderfully hospitable people of Iran are well-known to travelers, but few yet realise that Iran is a country blessed with a diverse and, in protected areas, a healthy large (and small) mammal population.
Predators need prey so it is no surprise that to see creatures such Asiatic Cheetah or Wolf we need to go to regions rich in such animals. Fortunately the large protected areas of Iran still offer such bounty with in places abundant Ibex, Wild Sheep and smaller prey such as Jirds and Cape Hares. The Asiatic Cheetah is fortunately still to be found in wild areas of the Kavir National Park and we’ve a good chance of seeing this rare cat with the help of local rangers. Cheetahs range across open Artemisia steppe cut by chains of low rocky hills; the landscape providing us with many vantage points and the Cheetah with little cover! This is also a great area for Houbara Bustard and Crowned Sandgrouse. The beautiful Sand Cat is also found here but we have a better chance to find this elusive feline in the arid environs of Abbas Abad where our local guides have been very successful in finding this gorgeous cat. Caracals are also found in these places, indeed in the salt flats of the Bahram Goor they are rather common and we can expect to see these animals there every day (at least every night). This is a beautiful landscape where salt lakes and flat plains are cut by steep hills of elegant beauty. Herds of Onager rage across the flats, the males indeed kicking up a big head of steam, and Chinkara Gazelle and Larestan Red Sheep are also frequently encountered. Rueppell’s Fox, Wild Cat and Striped Hyena are found here and on the open rocky hillsides we’ll look for that rarest of foxes, the lovely mask-faced Blandford’s Fox. Wolves inhabit Bahram Goor in good numbers as well – it is a truly rich mammal-watching area. Not so very far from the ancient mud citadel of Bam lies the Pistacia atlantica forests of the Zaryab Wildlife Refuge on the southern slopes of the immense Kuh-e Hazar mountain range. Here the Asiatic Black Bear reaches its westernmost limit. It is also the haunt of Leopard, thriving here because numbers of Ibex are so high. Wild Cats will be sought and again we’ve a great chance of finding Wolf.
We also offer a short extension to the land of Arab Dhows and the sultry Persian Gulf Coast. Vividly coloured mountains, semi-deserts and palmeries are home to Indian Grey Mongoose and abundant Eagles – Imperial, Spotted and Steppe are common. On the magical 'Sinbad-the-Sailor' island of Hormoz Goitred Gazelle graze amid the lurid landscapes whilst offshore Swift and Lesser Crested Terns fish over lively pods of Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphins. In Hara National Park we'll encounter the rare Black Finless Porpoise and the even rarer Dugong, as well as Sea Snakes and Crab Plovers.
Mammals. Also Birds and Reptiles.
Phil Benstead, and Nahid Ahmadi
Variable, usually three or four miles in a day, but sometimes more. We’ll be actively searching for mammals early to mid-morning, evening, and after dark each day so nights can be a little short. There will be siesta time available in the afternoon though!
Included in the Price
All flights. All transport, meals and accommodation in Iran. Services of your leaders. Please note: drinks, tips, Iranian Visas, and items of a personal nature including insurance, are not included.
The minimum is 4 and the maximum is 10.
In Tehran, Bandar Abbas and in Kavir National Park we’ll be staying in reasonable to good standard hotels with en-suite facilities. Elsewhere we’ll stay in a mixture of local houses and ranger stations where both accommodation and facilities may or may not be shared.
UK flights are from London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Edinburgh*, Birmingham* or Manchester* via Istanbul to Tehran, returning from Bandar Abbas via Istanbul to any of those UK Airports. Indirect routes from other regional UK Airports* are available.
*These routes may incur a supplement.
Variable. In most areas the daytime temperatures will vary between really quite warm and rather cool, only down in Bandar Abbas will it be uniformly hot. The same applies to early mornings and nights where temperatures can be really very cool – but again pretty hot still on the Persian Gulf Coast.
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. Mammal and bird checklists are available.