Khar Turan National Park: Introduction
Khar Turan National Park is located in the southeast of Shahrud Town in Semnan Province close to the Sabzevar Town in Razavi Khorasan Province at the eastern edge of the Central Desert of Iran, and consists of three regions of the protected area, wildlife sanctuaries, and the National park in the east. The National park covers 8 percent, the wildlife sanctuaries cover 17 percent and the protected area covers 75 percent of this property. The vast and rich Khar Turan National Park is titled as the “Africa of Iran” and is a vast plain with historical constructions and 4000 –year-old oases located among three mountain ranges with over 2000 meter peaks. With an area of 1,470, 640 hectares the Biosphere Reserve of Khar Turan is the largest biosphere in Iran and the largest one in the world after the Serengeti Geographical Region in Africa located in Tanzania. This national park is also the second largest protected area of Iran after the Naybandan Wildlife Sanctuary in Tabas and is one of the top destinations for nature and wildlife lovers, as this is a perfect natural attraction for exploring and studying the nature of Iran. The department of Environment of Iran started managing and observing the Khar Turan as a valuable and important protected area in 1972 and in 1975 a part of this region got registered as a wildlife sanctuary and during the same year, Khar Turan got titled as biosphere reserve by the UNESCO and then in 2002 some other parts boosted as a national park.
The Fauna of Khar Turan National Park
Most importantly, Khar Turan National Park is known to be home to Asiatic cheetah, and also Khar Turan is one of the best places for seeing Persian onager or Persian zebra, which is a very unique specie. Today Persian onager is only available in Khar Turan Region and the Bahram Gur Protected Area in Fars province, however in the past this specie was notable in most of Iran and neighboring countries. In general, 41 species of mammals, 167 species of birds, 42 types of reptiles, 2 types of amphibian, and 72 types of snakes, are identified by the Department of Environment of Iran in Khar Turan. 63 species of snakes of Khar Turan are terrestrials and 9 other types are natrix. The most significant animals living in this region include goitered gazelle, chinkara, caracal, bustard bird, laughing dove, Eurasian eagle-owl, cobra, Greek tortoise, etc.
The Flora of Khar Turan National Park
The flora and vegetation of Khar Turan National Park is not rich as its fauna as it has a asemi-arid climate, however it has its own diversity. Zygophyllum, mugworts, alhagi, milkvetch, and tamarisk which are mainly grown in desert lands are the most significant plant species of Khar Turan National Park.
The villages around the Khar Turan Region
There are also some historical and picturesque villages in this area like the Ghale Bala Village which is known for its stepped architecture as its houses are located on the foothills of a mountain. The required water of this village is supplied from a historical Qanat and its old plane trees has doubled the beauty of the village. Reza Abad is another village of Khar Turan region which is home to nomads of eastern Iran, where they set up their black tents and visitors can get familiar with their rich culture.
Visiting Khar Turan National Park
As mentioned above, Khar Turan National Park has such a rich flora and fauna that has caused it to be known as the Africa of Iran and is an untouched amazing destination for the wildlife lovers and is also one of the most important national parks of Iran. Before planning your trip to this area especially as a foreign traveler in Iran you need to receive a licence from the authorities, that we can help you in receiving this license. For more information about visiting Khar Turan National Park feel free to contact us.