In Search of the Asiatic Cheetah – Private Tour


  • Explore the Jangal-e Abr (cloud forest)
  • Search for cheetahs on foot in Khosh Yeylaq Conservation Area
  • Wander through the mudbrick village of Qale Bala
  • Safari for the Asiatic Cheetah in Khar Touran National Park

The Asiatic Cheetah also known as the Iranian cheetah, is a critically endangered subspecies of theses charismatic cats with only 40 said to be left in the wild.

Today the cheetah survives only in arid areas of east and central Iran in a number of protected zones. Cheetahs thrive in open land and semi desert areas.

The project “Conservation of the Asiatic Cheetah and its Associated Biota” was launched in 2001 by the Iranian Department of Environment (DoE) with the cooperation of the United Nations Development Program for Global Environment Facility.

Crooked Compass is acutely aware of the global environmental concerns and the need for sustainable protection of our fragile world. We passionately believe that responsible tourism can play a positive role in highlighting the plight of endangered species like Iran’s beloved cheetahs. We are proud to be part of this movement in bringing together interested individuals and activists and helping forge alliances between global environmental organisations and their Iranian counterparts.

Journey map

Fitness level



Day 1 - Arrival in Tehran

Welcome to Tehran! You will be met upon arrival and transferred to your hotel. The remainder of the day is yours at leisure.

Tehran , although it is a concrete jungle, there is a fascinating side to this hectic city. Expect bold fashion statements, a range of ethnic and international restaurants, chic cafes and plenty of museums and art galleries.

Tehran has incredibly impressive museums. (D)

Overnight at Ferdowsi Hotel or similar

Day 2 - Pardisan Park

Today you will start your day by visiting Pardisan Park, an educational, research and cultural centre, with the objective of environmental studies, this centre is a multipurpose project aimed at increasing public awareness about the natural environment. Several animals live in the park; including monkeys, rabbits, and the Pallas’s cats. You will meet the members of NGOs and experts on environmental issues in particular focusing on the Asiatic Cheetah. (B,L,D)

vernight at Ferdowsi Hotel or similar

Day 3 - Shahrud

Following breakfast, it is time to check out and drive to Shahrud (405 km).  Enjoy a walk through this small city which was on the famed Silk Road before enjoying a relaxed evening. (B,L,D)

Overnight Shahrud

Day 4 - Jangal-e Abr

After breakfast, drive to the Jangal-e Abr (Cloud Forest) which is one of the oldest and most beautiful forests in Iran. It is the continuum of northern forests in the south of the Alborz mountain range and continues to the Caspian Sea. It is called cloud forest because in most seasons it is covered by an ocean of clouds and fog. It is hard to believe whilst inside the thick forests, you are not far from Iran’s Central Desert. Jungles veiled in clouds provide you with a golden opportunity to enjoy nature at its best, explore, and learn about the fascinating ecosystem of this unique forest.

Enjoy a picnic lunch surrounded by raw nature before returning to Shahrud in the afternoon. (B,L,D)

Overnight Shahrud

Day 5 - Khosh Yeylaq Conservation Area

We drive to Khosh Yeylaq Conservation Area before spending the day walking through the area searching for cheetahs and taking in the natural beauty and keeping our eyes peeled for other wildlife. Return to Shahrud early in the evening. (B,L,D)

Overnight Shahrud

Day 6 - Qale Bala

A morning drive of 140 km to the south east of Shahrud takes you to Qale Bala village near Khar Touran National Park or Touran Wildlife Refuge. This a very untouched and traditional village due to its geographical location so close to the national park where eco tourism initiatives are now taking place. This village is built on top of a stone hill and the locals live in typical mud houses which gives the village a unique atmosphere. With the help of local women communities, the traditional handmade Gelim (carpet) and Taneh (hand towels) are still created in Qale Bala. Spend the night with a local family in their home. (B,L,D)

Overnight Local Homestay

Day 7 - Khar Touran National Park

Early this morning, you will start your expedition for the Asiatic Cheetah in Khar Touran National Park. Khar Turan National Park or Touran Wildlife Refuge is the second largest biosphere reserves of Iran. Khar Turan is home to one of the largest populations of the critically endangered Asiatic cheetah. There are said to be about 12-15 of these charismatic cats in the National Park area. In your search you will see the Iranian zebra and gazelles. Persian Zebra or Iranian Zebra, is one of the species of Asian Zebra, a large mammal which is part of the horse family. It is indigenous to the deserts of Iran, Syria, India and Tibet. The Persian Zebra is similar to a donkey but slightly larger in size. The Persian Zebra is now critically endangered, and the remaining numbers can now be found in two areas of Iran, including in Touran National Park. (B,L,D)

Overnight Local Homestay

Day 8 - Tehran

Today is a long drive day as you make your way back to Tehran (approx 560km). Upon arrival, check into your hotel. (B,L,D)

Overnight Airport Hotel

Day 9 - Departure from Tehran

Following breakfast, the day is yours at leisure until it is time to transfer to the airport for your onward flight. (B)

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What’s included

  • Arrival airport transfer
  • 8 nights accommodation
  • All meals while on tour
  • Transportation in a private vehicle
  • Services of an English speaking local guide
  • Iran entry permit
  • Sightseeing and entrance fees as per the itinerary
  • International and domestic flights not mentioned above
  • Visas
  • Travel and medical insurance
  • All services, meals other than those indicated above
  • Any changes to the proposed and confirmed program.
  • All items of a personal nature e.g. drinks, laundry, telephone calls, tips etc

**Please note that this tour can be organised on request for private departures.

* Pricing is subject to change at anytime until full payment has been received.

* A minimum of 2 adults is required to guarantee this departure.

A non-refundable deposit of $1000 AUD per person is required to secure your place. Final payment is due no later than 60 days prior to departure. Travel insurance is mandatory for travelling with Crooked Compass. For full terms and conditions, please click here.