Afghanistan's first national park, the lapis-blue lakes of Band-e Amir, deep in the Koh-e Baba mountains, glitter like jewels against their dusty surrounds. The most accessible is Band-e Haibat – the suitably named Dam of Awe.
Over the millennia, sulphur deposits have formed huge curtain walls that contain the waters of the lakes. These natural dams stand over 10m tall, and must be Afghanistan's greatest natural wonder. Indeed, locals credit the creation of the lakes to miracles performed by the Prophet Mohammed's son-in-law Ali, and pilgrims visit to enjoy the water's reputed healing powers. There is a small mosque dedicated to Ali on the shore of Band-e Haibat.