The mercury of the thermometer climbs as you advance on the road 91, after Minab, in a rather barren landscape, lined with rock formations reminiscent of those of the island of Queshm. A little more greenery on a small portion, with banana plantations (there ARE bananas made in Iran!), before finding more aridity, with villages that seem more distant from each other.
Nothing in the handbooks on this unknown and even advised against region, we rely on our local contacts for sites to visit. In search of a Ioverlander bivouac near the sea, we will finally end up on a desert path 100 kms before Jask, after dark. It has been a long time (since the Kaluts) that we didn’t last find ourselves so isolated, even if we are only 2 km from the nearest village.
Morning vision of a dromedary quietly crossing the « trail » in front of the truck, Loïc goes around between the rocky peaks to observe the beach and an extinct mud volcano (not terrible finally), then back on the asphalt.
300 km further, we will reach Darak Beach at the end of the day, just in time for a last swim at the foot of the sand dunes, in the waves at 30 ° C (not really refreshing) before sunset. Foreign tourists are not common here, so we inevitably attract the eyes of some locals, as relaxed as elsewhere in the country.
Before hitting the road again, we allow ourselves a stroll along the beach cluttered with various garbage, no area seems to be spared nowadays, the plastic waste is king. It is not really the case for the dunes in which we will make a small incursion (ouch, it burns!), before driving along Jask, Kereti, to finally arrive on the site of Tang Mud Volcano.
A gatehouse and deserted bungalows, but no barrier, so we can approach the flanks of the small hill. From the top, where there is still a puddle of soft, cooled clay, a trace of the old eruption (which apparently dates back to January), the view of the surrounding plain, covered with hardened and cracked gray mud, is impressive. Small fright for Maëlia (and me) who will get a little too close and get away with the leg covered with a beautiful clay mask!
We will drop the search of the Tang Mosque to continue to Konarak and its fishing port filled with traditional boats, which will be our stop for the night.
Clock calm and veryyyyy generous sun that will accompany us to Chabahar, « Free Zone » in which we will not linger, to have time to reach Beris the beautiful road that stretches between the sea, the dunes with ocher sand and the famous Martian Mountains, absolutely magnificent lunar landscape with rocks covered with rock balls that are reminiscent of tiramisu.
Oops, we had forgotten that Ramadan started 2 days ago, so no possibility of eating. Too bad, we improvise an umpteenth pasta/rice/tuna salad (this is the diet right now), before the photoshoot on the famous rock overlooking the sea and the small fishing port below. We are in the extreme south-east of the country, only 60 kilometers from Pakistan, but no border post here obviously.
We come back on our tracks, the landscape is even more beautiful on the way back with the sunlight on the decline.
It is at night that we will arrive at Nik Shahr, where we’ll find Ghafour, Hamid’s contact who will help us to cross the border to Zahedan. We will once again have the chance to experience the Iranian hospitality that is not lacking in any region, and even during Ramadan where the pace is different: dinner with local specialties, a large air-conditioned room just for us (considering the heat, we appreciate this night out of the truck), royal breakfast. We will learn more about the customs of Baluchistan, we admire the colorful outfits of women…and here I am, a few hours later, with my tailor-made Balochian outfit!
We would have gladly waited for the sun to drop a bit, but there is still a big chunk of road left to Iran Shahr that we hope to reach before dark. It is therefore under a good 40-45 ° C that we leave, to cross an always excellent road between the mountains to a small village after Iran Shahr, and where we can park near what we think is a mosque.
No mosque in fact, but a school/college, attended this Saturday morning by college girls, very nice, who invite us inside. Here we are on the front line of class photos, a small video interview with a smartphone (Loïc will even be allowed to enter the premises) and photos from above with the drone. We take out our little printer to leave them a memory a little less intangible of our passage.
4 hours drive later, and we finally reach Zahedan, where Hamid is waiting for us, the inevitable guide recommended by Ioverlander. The local government is anxious to give a good image of this province, sharing borders with Pakistan and Afghanistan, which is suffering from its distance from other major cities (which we feel through the deprivation and dirt, more present in certain places). And we understand that Hamid is an important link in the chain, taking care, among others, to welcome and help tourists leaving Iran or coming from Pakistan. We go along with the photos game and the small interview with Hamid’s boss, the local tourism minister, and Remy, a Swedish biker arriving from Pakistan, before being invited to dine at the hotel’s restaurant!