The beautiful Bavanat region, 230km northeast of Shiraz, encompasses a 20km-long walnut-growing valley between the Zagros Mountains in the south and the arid deserts to the north. The main town is Suryan, aka Bavanat, but most visitors head for Shah Hamzeh Bazm (or just Bazm) 18km further east. The mountains near Bazm are home to Khamseh nomads, a confederation of five groups of Arabic, Turkish and Farsi-speaking people. From about April until October they pitch their tents in the hills and survive with few of the ‘luxuries’ you might see in the tents of Qashqa’i nomads north of Shiraz.
An enterprising resident of the village, Abbas Barzegar, who is himself part Khamseh, has opened a museum dedicated to rural life and his family runs one of the best homestays in central Iran. They also offer a number of tours.