The highest elevation fine-dining restaurant in Margallas ( PAKISTAN ) at 3900 feet, The Monal charms include fabulous views of the mountain range spreading over 12,605 hectares. Explore the hiking trail during the day and ride afternoon to experience best of Pakistani cuisine.
Oh, you wanted a table with a view? Ask the reservation, mountains covered in green & city view — a scene that comes standard at this mountain-top restaurant, accessible only by Pir-Sohawa road purposely built. Filling, a wide range of dishes but only the Kebabs & fresh fried fish are enough to satisfy after a long day of hiking. Your meal will be a pairing of locally sourced ingredients . Saturday & Sunday events sell out quickly, so book early!
Take a Car ride to the top of Margallas that homes to various species of wild life including rare Margalla leopard that some times come down nearby roads to see human for a delicious fresh meal for them ( its rare, avoid over thinking 🙂 ). Your ride passes through the forestry paved two-way road with 5-6 very sharp upward turns that keep your nerves high if driving. One side is the forest of Marghalla hills while the other gives you spectacular view of Islamabad city. Let it be a little scary to add some adventure to your ride.
Park the Car alongside road or ideally in some parking areas allocated to explore the jungle. Have wild-life photography but be careful to be exposed towards City view side as some spots have sudden steep hidden into the trees.
I parked the car to have some pictures but local passing by cab drivers kept galling me. Be aware of cab “Mehran” run by local drivers that can make upto 12 rounds in a day to earn maximum. They some time drive it like as being trained by Formula One, Michael Schumacher.
Hiking into the forest with million years old human foot prints
While on the ride, notice the direction boards says “walking Trail 2,3,5 etc”. These are walking or hiking trails run through Margalla forest. You can plan one of these like waking up early, go walking followed by Monal. Car parking is available nearby trails starting points.
As the walk starts into the forest, recall that these mountains formation extends from about 23.03 to 5.333 million years ago ( The Miocene geological epoch, wikipedia )
Trail 5 is the most popular amongst all trails because it is relatively simple, it is open and safe all year round. You could see streams and water springs along the way, but they only fill up during the rainy season – so bring your water bladder with you. Security troops have a huge presence all along the way, so there is no real danger of mugging. When it rains, the track becomes muddy and slippery. Recommend wearing proper hiking shoes.
About the Margallas
Familiar with Himalayas, Mount everest & Nanga Parbat ? The Margalla hills are the continuation of the Himalayan mountain range. The soil on the hill is fertile and completely covered with green trees, herbaceous plants and rocks. The forest on the hills is the natural habitat for a variety of animals and birds. The authorities have made possible for people to visit the forest, roam about safely, and explore the natural resort. For people who wants to experience hiking and overnight camping can come here as it is the safest place for the purpose.
Margalla Hills National Park, is located in the foothills of the Himalayan range. The topography is rugged, with numerous valleys and many steep and even precipitous slopes. The area is drained by the River Kurang and its tributaries, which flow into the River Soan. This park is the most accessible park in Pakistan due to its close proximity to the national capital, Islamabad. A visitor centre is planned for Daman-E-Koh, providing lounge accommodation and an information service. Lodges, camping grounds and picnic sites are also planned and the provision of a chair lift may be considered.
Being rich in Sinohimalayan fauna, some species (especially birds) of which are at the western extremity of their distribution. It is an extension of the Islamabad wildlife sanctuary, which includes the Shakar Parian Hills and the Rawal Lake. The park was setup to provide refugee to the Gray Goral, Barking deer and the Leopard. Protection to these animals have benefited other unusual and interesting smaller animal as well. Margalla Hills Park provides an excellent opportunity for bird watching.
Often, there are voices heard where visitor witness Asiatic leopard. WWF Pakistan claims the presence of Wild boar Golden Jackal, Rhesus Macaque and Leopard cats.
Tourism supportive policing
Afraid of hiking in forest ? Well, there is no need of it because tourism Police on horses is just introduced as ‘mounted patrol unit’ for the safety of the tourists.
Among 30 identified trails, tourism administration has developed six for hiking. Mounted patrol unit with policemen on horseback and its personnel can be seen patrolling. No harm to say ‘hello’ to them even if you do not have any complaint to made. Horses are trained for the purpose and can reach mountains in no time, of course with the policeman sitting on it 🙂
We wanted to increase our security surveillance, so that’s why we came up with the idea of introducing a trained horse mounted squad for Margalla Hills and recreational areas such as parks, ASP Beenish Uzair
Clean environment, nice ambiance, music, efficient staff, delicious variety of food, especially sugar free desserts, freshly fried fish and bbq served on table. Prior table booking is always a good choice. Sweat Lassi is served delicious and chilled. Average cost 15USD per head with all you can eat buffet.