I awoke with a jolt, the ferry pulling into the small harbour of Hormuz island, as the local Iranian passengers begin preparing to disembark, some unfurling umbrellas to fend off the scorching rays of the sun.
Within moments, the ferry is empty, the locals scrambling across the concrete jetty in search of shade. I grab my pack and the huge pop-up tent I had been gifted by an Iranian couchsurfer and follow Esme, my adventure buddy, into the small town of Hormuz.
The town is tiny, a collection of simple buildings and two or three shops selling basic supplies. We stock up on food and water and pull out a map; whilst the town is nice, this is not why we are here.
Hormuz island is a special place, this is a geological wonderland…
Soon, a local Hormuz man approaches and asks me and Esme if we need a ride. The roads are red, unpaved, similar to something out of Mad Max (the greatest movie of all time), and our new friend, Sajjad, leads us to his vehicle.
It is pimped out, we jump in and he smiles at me, speaking very little English, as I point at my map, showing him the place I think I want to go. We hit the road, red dust spewing into the air as we leave the small town and head out into the sun-scorched, rainbow landscapes of Hormuz.
It is the single most exhilarating drive of my life.
On all sides, mountains of red, purple, yellow and blue explode into the sky like impossible rocky mushrooms.
Bands of colour zig and zag in impossible patterns, local fishermen pull in their catch of the day as the sun bounces low over the water, sizzling sands beginning to cool as the heat of the day recedes.
Sajjad drops us in a spot I am not going to reveal and we follow a rocky track, our packs upon our backs until we reach a stunning golden beach of multicoloured sands.
Patches of silver sparkle like glitter as the waves rush in and I cannot help myself, I dump my stuff and run to the water, wading into the cool refreshing waves of the Persian Gulf.
I run back to Esme, spinning her around, her hijab flying free, there is nobody else on this beach, we have it all to ourselves.
The sun begins to set and I pitch the tent, gather firewood and build a small stone fireplace to block out the worst of the wind. We sit on the sand, sharing a bottle, and cook dinner with the use of sticks… which frequently catch fire.
The moon appears from behind a pillar of rock, illuminating the scene.
There is a purple tint to the air, the sky is an electric blue punctuated with pinpricks of light, a million stars.
A full moon, a perfect beach, a hot Iranian chick, dinner sizzling away, dazzling sands… It was all very romantic.
We sleep on the sand, a single sleeping bag thrown over the top of us.
The next day, the exploring begins….
The Island of Hormuz – A Backpacking Guide
It is possible to see much of the island of Hormuz in just one day by car but this is definitely not the way to go.
I strongly recommend bringing a tent to Hormuz island and camping for at least a few days; there are a few spots, some on the beaches and some in the valleys where you can camp out. I camped in Hormuz a week and could have easily stayed longer.
I heard that it was possible to stay in one of the local homes’s in Hormuz town but I was unable to investigate this further; possibly Sajjad could arrange this but I recommend camping – it’s the most incredible camping site in the world.
If you do camp; it is essential that you take all of your rubbish with you, this is a truly special place – do not trash it.
Hormuz island gets unbelievably hot during midday; this is a good time to either hole up in some shade or to pop into town to eat lunch; I only ever found one place called “Sofre khune Khale”, along the seafront, that serves food.
Ideally, the best time to visit Hormuz is in winter.
Whilst camping, be sure to have essential supplies – namely water! – with you; it really is a bitch to walk into Hormuz town to get stuff.
Walking into town can take a very long time and there is hardly any traffic at all; when you do see a vehicle it is very easy to hitch a ride but you can’t count on coming across one.
Sajjad is reliable and although he speaks very little English he knows Hormuz island well and is able to sort you out with anything you need. After spending five days on the beach I wanted a shower and he was good enough to let me use his home, he even cooked dinner for us. He helps out tourists in exchange for payment and charges fair rates, just be sure to agree on a price beforehand. You can reach him on +989175074432
Hormuz is an amazing place… I wish you luck on your backpacking adventure across Iran!
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