Caucasus Ridges Expedition

Georgia Georgia: (IT-GECA03)
URL: https://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/Asia_Georgia_caucasus_ridges.aspx

Introduction
Georgia Georgia
Join this 10-day horse riding adventure via the ridges of Greater Caucasus and discover 3 different regions: Kazbegi, Khevsureti and Tusheti.

In the depths of the Caucasus, on the northern slops, behind high passes, lie 3 regions: Kazbegi, Khevsureti and Tusheti. These lands, cut off from the mainstream of civilization for centuries, are inhabited by brave highlanders living in stone towers and nested villages. In these regions, Christian religion is harmoniously combined with ancient pagan beliefs and rituals. There are lots of shrines and "holy places" scattered in the least inaccessible corners of the mountains. Suppressed by modern civilization, this interesting culture is gradually disappearing...

Accomodation

Accommodations
This is a wilderness ride, so you will be staying in a mixture of guesthouses and camps.
During the tour, all luggage will be loaded on pack horses and transferred to the overnight accommodation or campsite. We also have a support vehicle that will be following us.

Description
You will spend 3 nights in tents and 6 nights in guesthouses. Most of the guesthouses have Wi-Fi access and facilities are shared.

Accommodation Itinerary - subject to changes based on availability
Night 1: Guesthouse in Juta
Night 2: Guesthouse in Roshka
Night 3: Camp near Tanie Lake
Night 4: Guesthouse in Gudani
Night 5: Camp near Kopala Lake
Night 6: Camp near Alaznistavi
Night 7: Guesthouse in Baso
Night 8: Guesthouse in Dartlo
Night 9: Guesthouse in Omalo

Camping
We provide tents (2p or 3p MSR Elixir) and non-inflatable sleeping mats. You need to bring your own sleeping bags.
We carry a shower tent (cold water). Because our camps are set up in the wilderness, there are no washrooms and you will need to dig a hole in the ground.

Room Occupancy
In case solo riders are willing to share a room the single supplement can be waived. However, if nobody is able to room with you, the single supplement fee applies.



Meals
All meals are included from lunch on Day 1 to lunch on Day 10.

Alcoholic drinks are not included but you are welcome to bring your own.

Dietary Restrictions
We can cater to most dietary restrictions with prior notice.

This trip includes and can accommodate special dietary requests.

Riding

Riding Pace & Terrain
When riding through wheat fields and vineyards, the pace will be mostly at a trot, canter, and sometimes even gallop. As soon as we start ascending towards the mountains, the pace will be slower (mostly at a walk). The ride is not very challenging technically. In spite of altitude changes, river crossings and mountain paths it is designated for confident novice riders.
During the tour we’ll cross 12 passes (highest 3330m, lowest 2460m) and ride via 5 ridges into 3 different regions.


Horses
We use Tushetian Horses – a relatively small breed measuring between 140-150 cm. They are friendly, easy-going, surefooted, trustworthy, tamed and used to walk long distances and well adapted to the riding environment.

Itinerary

Sample Itinerary- subject to changes

Note: This itinerary is an example of the itinerary planned but it is only an example and may be changed at your guides discretion if they consider changes necessary due to weather or other local conditions. This tour is not recommended for travellers with fear of height, since it mainly runs along ranges and slopes with a height of 2 500-3 000 meters, offering views over the valleys with depth exceeding 1000 meters at times (sometimes from one side and other times from both sides).  

Note that it is sometimes possible to customize the program upon special request (price will be calculated accordingly).


Day 1: Arrival
After being picked up from Tbilisi during the morning (usually around 10am) you are transferred to Kazbegi. On the way, we will explore Ananuri fortress – a XVI-XVIII fortress with towers and churches, as well as an incredible view point over Jvari pass. We also stop for a visit of Gergeti trinity church and in the evening will get to our destination: the village of Juta, where we stay at a family-run guesthouse.
Meals included: Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Guesthouse in Juta

Day 2: Ride to Roshka
In the morning we set off from Juta. We start our ride via the trail that leads up to the Chaukhi rock climbers campsite. After passing the campsite, we will head further into the valley and start ascending to Chaukhi pass (3330m). From the pass we’ll have the view of our next 3 days’ route, as well as a great view over Abudelauri lakes. After a short break, we start descending on foot, leading our horsesfor about 3 km, until we reach Abudelauri lakes. From the lakes we’ll continue riding to our destination: Roshka.
Riding approx. 28 km (6 hrs)
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Guesthouse in Roshka

Day 3: Roshka to Tanie Lake
Today's route follows the Caucasus main divide range offering us stunning panoramic views. We follow paths that are cut through eroded and steep slope sections (not recommended for riders afraid of height). As we travel along the ridge, we go uphill, passing through several passes connecting different gorges. After Tanie pass, we descend onto the northern side, down to Tanie Lake, where we will camp.
Riding approx. 31 km (6 hrs)
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight camping near Tanie Lake

Day 4: Tanie Lake to Gudani
Our first kilometres will take us back to Tanie pass. From there, we start descending down to the village Ukankhadu, leading the horse on foot (6km). From the village we’ll continue riding on the dirt road connecting 5 small villages, until we reach our destination: Gudani.
Riding approx. 25 km (6 hrs)
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Guesthouse in Gudani

Day 5: Gudani to Kopala lake
Our trail leads us along the ridge of Gudani, towards Datvijvari pass. The whole ride is via the less steep ridges, adorned with alpine meadows until we reach Datvijvari pass. After our lunch break on the pass, we’ll continue riding via the ridge dividing Pshavi(south) and Pirikita Khevsureti (north) regions, with great views over both regions.
Our destination for today is Kopala lake – an alpine lake located at 2760m above sea level at the foot of Borbalo pass.
Riding approx. 32 km (7 hrs)
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight camping near Kopala Lake

Day 6: Kopala Lake to Alaznistavi
This morning, we are greeted by amazing views from our tents. We will start riding towards Borbalo pass (3030 m). There are hundreds of grazing animals on surrounding steppes: cows, horses, goats and sheep, while the horizon is spotted with white shepherds’ yurts and high summits far away.
Riding approx. 23 km (6 hrs)
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight camping near Alaznistavi

Day 7: Alaznistavi to Baso
We leave Alaznistavi and ride further towards the villages of Tusheti. After a couple of hours riding, we’ll get to Gometsari valley, go down the riverbank and take a break. Then, we start ascending Nakaicho pass to get to the day's destination: Baso village, in the Pirikiti valley.
Riding approx. 30 km (6 hrs)
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Guesthouse in Baso

Day 8: Baso to Dartlo
Today, we have a more relaxed morning as we need to cover less distance. The main goal of the day is to explore the villages in Pirikiti valley. First we visit village Parsma, then Dano, Kvavlo and finally we will reach our destination: village Dartlo, with its medieval architecture and defensive towers.
After arriving to Dartlo we’ll have some time to enjoy the village and relax.
Riding approx. 25 km (4 hrs)
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Guesthouse in Dartlo

Day 9: Dartlo to Omalo
On our last riding day we’ll cross one more pass at 2480m and explore more villages in the Chagma valley of Tusheti. Different architecture, different settlements,... At the end of the day we’ll reach Omlao – The centre of Tusheti.
Farewell dinner at the guesthouse.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Guesthouse in Omalo

Day 10: Departure
Early morning we’ll get into the 4x4 vans and start driving towards the lowlands of Kakheti – the main wine region of Georgia.  After 4 hours drive and crossing Abano pass (2840m), we’ll get to one of the small family winery for lunch and wine tasting.
After lunch we’ll need 2 more hours of driving to reach Tbilisi.
Meals included: Breakfast & Lunch



Non riders
Non riding companions are welcome to join this tour and will follow the riders in the support vehicle. Please inquire about rates (non riding activities not included).


Rates and Dates for Caucasus Ridges Expedition

Rates include:

Accommodations, All meals, Wine tasting on Day 10, Local transfers, Support vehicle and pack horses & 8 riding days with English speaking guide

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescription US$
    A
    202110-day trip, AP$2780
    • Single supplement (if required)$220
      Group discount, pp (6-9 pax)($700)
      Group discount, pp (10-12 pax)($935)
      Small group supplement, pp (2 pax only)$560
      Solo rider supplement, pp (1 pax only)$2935
Gratuity:
A 10% gratuity is added on your invoice.
%

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy
Gratuity: 10 %

Transfer and Other Charges:



 Description
2021 Group transfer from/to Tbilisi Airport available - inquire for rates
- to be paid locally
2021 Non-rider discount - please inquire

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2021 06/22 - 07/01 10d / 9n 10-day trip, AP 3 /12 Expired
A 2021 07/23 - 08/01 10d / 9n 10-day trip, AP 3 /12 Expired
A 2021 08/27 - 09/05 10d / 9n 10-day trip, AP 3 /12 Reserve

Dates Note: Departures can sometimes be confirmed with less than 3 pax (small group supplement applies)

Rates do not include:

Airport transfers, Alcoholic drinks & Gratuities

Other Info
Meeting: Tbilisi
Airport: Shota Rustaveli Tbilisi International Airport (TBS)
Transfer: Tbilisi Airport

Climate:
                                                    Stepantsminda area

Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average High Temperature (°F)

30

34

42

52

61

68

72

72

65

55

43

33

Average Low Temperature (°F)

13

15

22

32

39

45

51

50

42

34

25

17

Average High Temperature (°C)

-1

1

5

11

16

20

22

22

18

13

6

0

Average Low Temperature (°C)

-11

-10

-5

0

4

7

10

10

6

1

-4

-8

Average Precipitation (days of rain)

5

6

8

10

14

13

9

8

7

7

7

6

Source: NOAA


Seasons

Georgia can be divided into 2 distinct climate zones. The west of the country, along the coast features a humid Mediterranean climate, while the rest of the country, in the interior benefits from a dryer continental climate. The Caucasus Mountains allow to moderate the climate in the plains.
The mean annual precipitation varies from 300 to 600 mm in eastern Georgia.

Spring (April to May) is one of the best times to visit because it is usually dry and temperatures start warming up. However, you should keep in mind that nights can still be cold in the mountains.

Summer (June to August) in Georgia can be hot but there is generally a pleasant breeze in the mountains, preventing it from being unbearable. You should be aware that there are some risk of rain at the beginning of the season.

Autumn (September & October) is an amazing time to visit as you can still benefit from mild weather a few precipitations. Moreover, the fall colors are splendid in the mountains.

What To Bring:
During the trek your main luggage will be transported by pack horses. Please use bags or suitcases that are easy to handle. The horses that we ride are equipped with small saddle bags.

What to Bring
• Personal medication: ointment, blister plaster, anti-allergy, diarrhea, pain killer
• Flashlight / headlamp
• Water bottle
• Good Raingear
• Comfortable riding clothes for hot and cold weather.
• Trekking or hiking boots/shoes
• Sports shoes / flip-flops
• Sun hat, sunglasses, sun protection
• Mosquito repellent
• Sleeping bag/inflatable sleeping mat (we can give you foldable non-inflatable mat)
• Cushions for sitting outdoors

We also accept any kinds of horse riding and horse care equipment (used or new) that you do not wish to use anymore.