Very early on in the life of HunzaOnFoot, we realised that there are countless Shepherd huts all over the region in which we 'mostly' operate, called Gojal (otherwise known as upper Hunza). Having said that, this project is not limited to the Hunza/Gojal regions and is applicable throughout Pakistan.
These shepherd huts are very basic structures constructed with a combination of stone, wood and mud and are primarily used as emergency overnight shelters for shepherds in the region and have never been rented out to travellers. This is an opportunity that could initiate a new stream of revenue for these shepherds as well as offer the travellers that rent them, a unique off-grid cottage to stay in.
The locations that we pick for The Shepherds Inn are all very unique and off the beaten path. They are almost always in a cluster of 3 to 6 huts, all near potable water sources (from local glaciers) and never with any noise/waste pollution around them, making them the perfect destinations for adventure and eco-friendly tourism. The closest location to the main Karakoram Highway is about a two hour trek which ensures there will never be any vehicular or walk-in traffic and that is exactly how we want to keep these sites.
What we decided to do with these shepherd huts is convert them into basic, off-grid and self sustainable bed & breakfast style cottages with very minimum resources and a neighbouring hut that will be renovated to serve as a kitchen/dining/storage facility, both that can be sustained long-term via rental to tourism and small-sized retreats.
This is where we need your help!
With your help, we want to be able to collect enough materials and equipment by the beginning of August in order to install a basic solar power system (two panels at 100W + 150W = 250 Watts in total) that can supply enough power for a few LED light bulbs and charge smartphones, laptops and camera batteries.
Going off grid is without a doubt amazing; but as more and more photographers have started to visit this region again, what people like us don’t want is to run out of batteries in the middle of the journey. This is one reason why they prefer to stay close to/or inside towns that have power, unless they’re prepared to carry very heavy packs on their backs to sustain their photography throughout their time away.
Aside from the solar installation, we want to bring some other equipment that will not only make it easier/comfortable for tourists, but also make it easier for the shepherds that own these huts to rent them to other tourists. This equipment includes a basic kitchen inventory (cookware/utensils), basic bedding for overnight stays, a portable toilet (with biodegradable waste management) and a solar water heater for cooking and hygiene.
What we want to do at the end of the renovation is for travellers to make a booking, pick up their trail maps, hire porters to take their packs and just show up with their food supplies and personal equipment. Once we are done with this renovation, travellers will be able to stay at the Shepherd’s Inn on their own and feel right at home, in the middle of majestic landscapes fitting for a true retreat in the wild.
This project takes care of a few key issues: It provides tourists with more off-the-beaten-path locations and helps minimise at least some crowds in towns. It promotes the heritage and culture of places that not many people visit because there’s no place to stay. Staying away from large towns and hotels forces (local) tourists to connect with nature in a way they normally don’t, since they currently opt to drive from one location to the next.
The Shepherd’s Inn also creates a new stream of income for the local communities where these shepherd huts are located. It enables shepherds who own these huts an extra source of income from a place that has never given them any income.
Most importantly, the Shepherd’s Inn project has great environmental benefits as we shift towards clean (solar) energy, organic diets (through locally grown fruits and vegetables), zero plastics waste in and around the huts and using only biodegradable materials.
To go the extra mile, we even have our own portable toilets and all our waste goes straight into 5’ - 6’ waste holes away from the huts, that end up degrading into soil. If that isn’t green enough, we have even started sourcing biodegradable soaps for washing and cleaning so that no chemicals end up in the water streams or the land around us.
This takes care of all our renovation costs for one set of sleeping and kitchen huts; including waterproofing, solar panels and batteries, lighting, paint and paint supplies, bedding, shelving, screening, transport costs for the hut inventory and a stock that will last half a season for one shepherd hut. Donate us this amount and you will get one free week per year for you and your friends at any of our sites, for up to two years (based on hut size and availability at the time of reservations). We will even lead your tours into the destination and include your name in our marketing materials for the hut that you sponsored.
This helps us with all of our solar panels and batteries, lighting, bedding, transport cost of the related inventory of one set of two shepherd’s hut. Donate us this amount and you will get five days per year for you and your friends at any of our sites, for up to two years (based on hut size and availability at the time of reservations). We will even include your name in our marketing materials for the hut that you sponsored.
Depending upon the amount that you’re donating, your contribution helps us with our solar panels and batteries, lighting, paint and paint supplies, transport cost of the related inventory of one set of two shepherd’s hut. Donate us this amount and you will get three to four days per year for you and your friends at any of our sites, for up to two years (based on hut size and availability at the time of reservations). We will even include your name in our marketing materials for the hut that you sponsor.