Explorer, author, trail prospector & travel writer

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. 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…

    1. No, these were taken with a ‘real’ camera (it helps to be able to see what you’re shooting!)…

      1. Cheers Tom, good to know! I totally agree on the “see what you’re shooting” remark. So I probably need to keep searching for a decent “travel camera”…

        1. FWIW mine’s a Sony NEX7 🙂

  2. Good luck Tom.

    Hope to meet you one day 🙂

    A follower from Tehran

  3. 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.


    1. All will be revealed… in the forthcoming film 😉 (Sorry!)

Leave a Reply