Rawanduz is situated in the northeast of Kurdistan close to the borders of Iran and Turkey. Hiking in the canyons of Rawanduz can’t fail to make any trekker happy with these lush green breath-taking views.
THINGS TO SEE IN RAWANDUZ
The famous Gali Ali Beg
The Gali Ali Beg waterfall is about 2 hour drive from Erbil. It’s located at the intersection of two rivers, the Rawandoz Sidakan. This mountain resort is pretty popular in the summer but we were there in November so there was only one guy running the cafe with his young sons keeping warm with a makeshift fire on a BBQ stand.
The water is pretty powerful coming down from the mountain, I got a little close and got soaked! We had chai with the family from the cafe and he would not take any money, we had to chase his young sons around to put it in his pocket. That’s Kurdish hospitality!
Fun fact: The Gali Ali Begis waterfall is featured on the 5,000 Iraqi Dinar note.
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Peer into the canyons of Rawanduz
The countryside as you head towards Rawanduz is pretty dramatic with snake-like rivers moving between the canyons. You are honestly spoilt for choice with viewpoints. The honey sellers were shivering away in the cold hoping to get a sale of their tasty natural products.
Check out Bekhal Waterfalls
Bekhal waterfalls is really a summer tourist resort to showcase one of the area’s great natural landmarks. Near the base of the mountain, you can find shops and food stalls. In the summer people can be seen paddling on the steps at the top of the waterfall, it didn’t have the same appeal in the low temperatures of November.
Go hiking in Rawanduz
We stopped off at the ski resort of Korek Mountain for a spot of lunch… yes, you guessed it, kebabs! It was nice and quiet owing to the fact that there was no snow on the mountain yet.
Rawanduz, about 10 km east of Bekhall waterfalls, is a town perched at the edge of a gorge overlooking the majestic mountains. We hiked for around 3 hours in total at the bottom of the canyon. It was a gentle hike apart from a steep slippy incline to cross. Unfortunately, due to the rain, we would’ve slid straight down into the gushing river below. It was at that point we decided to turn back to avoid any mishaps.
PLAN AHEAD FOR YOUR KURDISTAN TRIP
Where to stay in Rawanduz
There are 2 main resorts in Rawanduz which are Korek Mountain Resort and Pank Resort.
Currency in Kurdistan
The currency is Iraqi Dinar and I’d advise taking cash from the ATM before you leave Erbil, not many places will accept cards.
Best time to visit Kurdistan
Summer gets pretty hot. Expect temperatures to soar to 45-50 degrees between May to late September. The colder months are from November to March, serving up rain and some snow. In the mountains, the snowfall will be much heavier.
Is it safe to visit Kurdistan?
We need to realise that Kurdistan is a different ball game than Arab Iraq. The last bomb was over 5 years ago in Kurdistan and they are doing everything possible to prevent ISIS from entering their state which has a semi-autonomous parliament. The crime rate is very low in the country.
Useful links for your Erbil trip
- Find the best hotel deals in Rawanduz on Tripadvisor
- Check your airport transfer options from Erbil airport
It’s so nice to read a positive story from this region, instead of everything negative and scary in the news. Rawanduz looks so beautiful! I love hearing about the wonderful Kurdish hospitality 🙂
I this most people don’t realise the difference between Kurdistan and the rest of Iraq. Kurdistan have done everything they can to make this a safe place and wish for independence. The exchange money place in the bazaar in Erbil was just a guy on a stool with a pile of money, that’s how low a crime rate it is!
Wow that’s crazy, I would have never guessed there was such a low crime rate there!
What a beautiful region! I bet they have amazing hiking there as well.
The landscapes are breathtaking and dramatic. Definitely great hiking spots!
I’m so in awe of you for traveling to these places. I’m no hiker to be honest, but these views are stunning! I love that you also had a kebab here, why not?! It looks like a beautiful region of Iraq to visit.
It is a beautiful place and I’d love more people to see this pearl of the Middle East
Holy Smokes! Kurdistan??? I can’t believe that you went and your blog is about somewhere so exotic. I love the photos and thank you for reminding me that it is a safe place in the region, unlike many other places.
Ha ha… that’s what a lot of people have said. Kurdistan is very different to Arab Iraq, hope you visit some day to see how beautiful it is.
This place looks absolutely stunning! Although I can’t imagine hiking in that heat! I think I’d rather risk the rain and snow!
I enjoyed hiking with a light drizzle, not sure summer is the best time for it!
Loved reading this! I teach refugee students from Kurdistan in the United States and love learning about their culture. One was even our valedictorian last year! Great post!
What an interesting and fulfilling role you have, happy to hear one of your Kurdish students made it to valedictorian! Glad you liked the blog!