Moola Chotok, Kuzdar
Situated some 530 kms from Karachi lies the Moola Chotok oasis, in the Khuzdar District of Balochistan, surrounded by mountains and desert. To reach this secret paradise from Karachi, take the paved and unpaved Quetta Highway to Khuzdar, and then continue on in 4x4s until the base of a hill. From there, a ten-minute hike into a maze of canyons with clean spring water finally reveals the natural pool of the springs. Swim in the pool, slide down the rocky slopes and play under the refreshing water falls. Many tour operators in Karachi provide tours for a 2-day trip to Moola Chotok.
Keejar Lake is known among local tourists as a picnic spot for swimming, boating, fishing and simply relaxing in peace, away from the city sounds. It’s located 122 km away from Karachi, in the Thatta district. Kheenjar is the second-largest freshwater lake in Pakistan, and a major source of drinking water for the cities of Thatta and Karachi. The waters and the surrounding wetland areas provide sanctuary to wildlife including flamingos, ducks, herons, egrets, cormorants, ibises, gulls and many other birds. There is also the shrine of the fabled Noori Jam, a fisherwoman lover of Prince Jam, built right in the middle of the lake.
Hala is in the heart of Sindh, located 168 kilometers from Karachi. It’s famous for its unadulterated local culture and has been a center of Suharwardi Sufism since the 16th century. It is home to the mausoleum of Makhdum Nuh, a Sufi saint, which attracts many devotees. Local bazaars are also very popular for shopping for the beautifully unique crafts.
If you are looking for cold temperatures near Karachi then head over to Gorakh Hills for a weekend getaway. The hill station is at 1,734 m in the Kirthar mountains, 423 kms from Karachi. It’s a prime tourist spot because of its natural beauty and expansive views. Many tours are conducted from Karachi to the station with camping, BBQs and bonfires, too.
Bhit Shah is a small town in Sindh. It is very well known in Pakistan as the home of one of the most revered Sufi poets, mystics and saints, Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai, who is one of the greatest Muslim Sindhi poets. His poetry has been translated into many languages, is composed into music and is often compared with Persian poet Rumi in its spirituality. The poet’s tomb regularly hosts nights of music and poetry, so the town is an important and popular cultural destination. Bhit Shah is around 200 kms from Karachi city.
Hingol National Park/Kund Malir Beach
Hingol National Park and nearby Kund Malir beach are further interesting options for a weekend getaway. The area is spread over 6,100 square kilometres of arid, subtropical rocky and mountainous terrain. Large areas of land are also covered in drift sand, marking the area as coastal semi-desert. The park area also includes the Hungol River and much flora and fauna. The Sindh Ibex, Chinkara gazelle, Indian fox, and jungle cat are some of the many mammals, birds, reptiles and creatures to be found here. There is also a mud volcano and the famous Princess of Hope rock formation. Once done with exploring the park, visitors can head on to the pristine Kund Malir beach to refresh and rest.
For those looking for some serious adventure, Astola Island is the best option. It may be far away from Karachi, off the Pasni coast, but it’s worth the effort of getting there. The island is uninhabited, and its precious marine and wildlife remain unexploited. The endangered green turtle and the hornbill turtle lay their eggs on the beach of Astola, and many birds also call it home. It has recently gained some fame for its remarkable scuba diving. Most of the island is rocky, but there is plenty of exotic white sand on which to camp and spend the night.