Caucasus Culture Trail

Georgia Georgia: (PR-LGTK)
URL: https://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/Asia_Georgia_Caucasus_Culture_Trail.aspx

Introduction
Georgia Georgia
The combination of untouched landscape with idyllic mountain meadows holding beautiful seas of flowers, rustic forests, and its fascinating history, makes Georgia an ideal equestrian country. Abandoned monasteries accessible only by horse or foot and remarkable archeological sites tell of a bygone era. Our rides follow a circular route in the southwest of Georgia. We ride deep into the hills, galloping across plateaus, and passing through small, sleepy villages.

You'll be staying in a mixture of accommodations from hotels to private guesthouses to camping to ensure you experience the best of Georgia! Meals are authentic cuisine, which is a blend of the many cultures that has helped shape this country today. The food will leave you satisfied after a long day's ride and mealtime is great to get to know your hosts and other riders.

This trail in the wonderful Caucasus is perfect for trail riders with a sense of adventure, which we find in this exciting and authentic country off the beaten tracks. Let the Georgian wind blow past on splendidly refreshing long gallop routes and learn something about the interesting history of the country in the gallop-free time.
 

Accomodation

Accommodations
This is a wilderness ride, so you will be staying in a mixture of hotels/guesthouses and camping.

Description
You will spend 3 nights in double rooms in hotels/ guesthouses with private bathrooms in Tbilisi, 2 nights in simple private accommodations with shared bathrooms, and 5 nights in 2-person tents. Be sure to bring a warm sleeping bag and ground mat for camping!
Wi-Fi is only available at the accommodation in Tbilisi.
Laundry can be done at some location.

Accommodation Itinerary - subject to changes based on availability
Night 1 & 2: Hotel in Tbsilisi
Night 3: Camping near Gudarekhi
Night 4: Guesthouse in Ivanovka
Night 5: Camping near Pitareti
Night 6: Guesthouse in Patara Dmanisi
Night 7: Camping near Ukangori
Night 8: Camping near St Tevdore
Night 9: Camping near Khrami river (possibility to swim in the river)
Night 10: Hotel in Tbsilisi

Room Occupancy
Single rooms/ tents available for 8 nights.


Meals
All meals are included except for lunches and dinners in Tbilisi. Therefore meals on Day 1 and lunch and dinner on Day 2 are not included.

We focus on Georgian dishes.

Limited wine selection and beer are served with lunch and dinner.

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

This trip includes some wine with dinner and can accommodate special dietary requests.

Riding

Riding Experience
Riders must be reasonably experienced and comfortable riding at all paces on spirited horses, at brisk gallops, and over challenging terrain. This means you can spread your arms at a gallop without being insecure. The horses are used to being ridden with a light contact with the mouth and light use of the leg. Riders should be comfortable in the saddle for several hours in an open environment. Small jumps are possible. 
You will enjoy your trip much more if you are fairly fit - both riding fit and with a reasonably good level of general fitness as there will be some short walking some days.
Please do not overestimate your abilities!

Pace & Riding Terrain
The trip includes 8 riding days with 5-7 hours in the saddle per day. Many opportunities for gallops. Challenging terrain.
The pace is moderate overall, with some good opportunities for a faster pace when the terrain allows. The route takes you through forests, up some quite steep mountain tracks, across open meadows and agricultural land. There are a few places where riders need to dismount to walk over rough ground and lead their horses.

Horses
Our 14 horses are all locally bred. They are mix of thoroughbreds, crossed with Arabs, Akhal-teke and local horses. They are generally between 14.2 and 16 hh, are responsive and forward going but also adaptable and well suited to the terrain

Tack
Russian military saddles are used. Saddle bags are provided and there are seat savers available for those who wish. The horses are mostly ridden in snaffle bits.

Itinerary

Sample Itinerary- subject to changes

Day 1 (Friday): Arrival
Arrival to Shota Rustaveli Tbilisi International Airport (TBS) and transfer to your hotel for the first night.
Meals included: Dinner
Overnight at a Hotel in Tbilisi


Day 2 (Saturday): Visit of Tbilisi (no riding)
After breakfast you will be collected from the hotel around 10-11:00am and taken to visit the historic old town of Tbilisi for some shopping & sightseeing. Own arrangements for lunch & dinner.
Meals included: Breakfast
Overnight at a Hotel in Tbilisi


Day 3 (Sunday): Jorjiashvili to Gudarekhi
After an early breakfast you will be collected from the hotel and driven (about 1 hour) to the village of Jorjiashvili to meet the horses and guides and prepare for the journey. Mount up and set off riding, heading first through lowlands and foothills forested with oak and hornbeam. Continue through valleys of wildflowers and open meadows, crossing the Algeti river then heading towards the small town of Tetri Tskharo (White Spring). Stop for a picnic lunch by the river Algeti and in the afternoon ride on, up into the hills to the village of Gudarekhi, where camp is set up. With its 16th century tower and a lovely view of the Algeti valley, this is a beautiful place.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight camping near Gudarekhi


Day 4 (Monday): Gudarekhi to Ivanovka
Breakfast in camp and then a chance to enjoy the scenery for an hour while camp is being packed up. Then, set off riding through beech forest to Gudarekhi Monastery. This wonderful 12th century monastery, with its beautiful multi-coloured stone bell tower, is now uninhabited. The main church still stands, surrounded by many ruins, and there is a wonderful mythical feel to this fairy-tale place. A picnic is laid out in the walnut groves surrounding the monastery and there is time to explore before lunch. In the afternoon, ride on, first through forests again and then through open grasslands where the shepherds bring their sheep for the summer. You may be lucky enough to meet the herds of sheep and cattle, with the drovers mounted on local ponies or donkeys and with a few pack animals carrying their supplies for the summer. The cow bells and the singing drovers are often heard across the valleys. Continue through ancient beech forests and meadows of wild flowers until you come to the village of Ivanovka.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at a guesthouse in Ivanovka


Day 5 (Tuesday): Ivanovka to Pitareti Monastery
Set off from Ivanovka riding through forested hills and pasture, before stopping for lunch near the village of Menkalisi. After lunch, the path climbs steeply uphill until the landscape opens up with wonderful views of the Southern Caucasian Mountains. Ride down from this ridge, through woods and crossing meadows of wild herbs until, across the valley, the tower of the 12th century Pitareti Monastery complex appears through the trees. Cross the small river and ride on to the monastery where camp is set up. This monastery was uninhabited for many years but a few monks have recently moved back. There are excellent carvings on the eastern façade and on the interior walls many of the frescoes remain intact. For the brave, there is a chance to wash in Pitareti mountain stream! Dinner and night in camp with an impressive view of the monastery complex.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight camping near Pitareti Monastery


Day 6 (Wednesday): Pitareti Monastery to Dmanisi
Breakfast and leave Pitareti. You will ride past a 7th century fort, restored during the 17th century, with secret tunnel which we might have time to explore! Crossing the Khrami river, ride along forest tracks and open pastures and stop for a picnic lunch near a spring close to the Azerbyjanian village of Darbasi. After lunch, ride through the forest and across vast meadows covered with cowslips and primroses in early spring, daisies in late spring and summer. There is some agriculture too in this area, fields of wheat, beans and maize, peppered with red poppies. In the distance, a fort and church are visible, set on a volcanic plateau at the junction between two rivers, almost an island and an ideal vantage point. This is the site of Dmanisi, once one of the most important of Georgian fortresses and towns. Ride down the ancient stone road to the bottom of the gorge, crossing the river Mashavera and continue to Patara Dmanisi, passing the walls of the old fortress. The night is spent in Dmanisi archaeological guest house with a stunning view of this important site. A chance for a shower before a traditional Georgian supper!
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Dmanisi archaeological guest house


Day 7 (Thursday): Dmanisi to Ukangori
After breakfast, you will have a chance to explore Patara Dmanisi, an archaeological site which has been excavated by a world renowned Georgian archaeologist. There is a medieval fortified town and a 6th century three-nave basilica. Close by, the oldest remains of Homo Erectus so far discovered in Europe were recently uncovered. They are estimated to be 1.7 million years old - in age second only to those found in Africa! The remains of H.sapiens (about 200,000 years old), Paleolithic artefacts, and woolly rhinoceros remains have also been found here.
Lunch back at the guesthouse then set off from Patara Dmanisi over hills and through forests carpeted with wild flowers. The afternoon’s ride is short and there will be plenty of time to explore before dinner and night in camp.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight camping near Ukangori


Day 8 (Friday): Ukangori to St Tevdore church
Breakfast and ride on from Ukangori through the woods to the Azeri shepherds summer pastures and on in the direction of Bolnisi Sioni. Riding through the forest you arrive near the small town of Poladauri where you stop for lunch. In the afternoon, we cross the river Poladauri and continue to St Tevdore church ruins, where camp will be set up.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight camping near St Tevdore church


Day 9 (Saturday): St Tevdore church to river Khrami
Set off riding from St Tevdore, riding through woods then acacia spinneys humming with bees and low woodland. Then the landscape opens out towards to the 12th century monastery of Tsugrugasheni and the 4th century church of Bolnisi Sioni, which is the oldest cathedral in Georgia. The church here is the only surviving example of the original three aisled basilica (without transepts) and there is a 12th century bell tower next to it. Lunch in the garden of Bolnisi Sioni and then ride on to cross the rivers Poladauri and Mashavera. The route then takes you into the hills, crossing plains of wheat until you reach the village of Didveli. From here it is a short ride down to the river Khrami where camp is set up, perfect for an evening swim!
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight camping near river Khrami


Day 10 (Sunday): Ride back to the Stables
Breakfast and set off riding. Cross the river Khrami then climb into the hills, crossing plains of wheat until you reach the village of Samshvilde. Stop to explore the ruins of Samshvilde town and fortress whose location, dominating the river Khrami gorge, shows its importance. After lunch, ride to Tsintskaro, then across the plains until you see the village of Jorjiashvili, in the valley below. Ride down the hill and across the river Algeti to the stables. Say farewell to the horses here and meet the car that will drive you back to Tbilisi. There will be a chance to visit a local spa in Tbilisi where you can enjoy a relaxing soak in sulphur baths with an eastern massage - a highly recommended optional extra! Own arrangements for a farewell party with a Georgian 'supra' or feast, sampling local cuisine and wine.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at a Hotel in Tbilisi


Day 11 (Monday): Departure
Breakfast and transfer to the airport for your flight home.
Meals included: Breakfast

Note: The above 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.


Rates and Dates for Caucasus Culture Trail

Rates include:

Accommodations, Most meals, 8 riding days with English-speaking guide & Transfers from/to Tbilisi airport

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescriptionEUR ~US$
    A
    202011-day trip, AP€2075$2345
The US Dollar Rate is Based on Exchange Rate of 1.13

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:



 DescriptionEUR~US$
2020 Transfers included from Tbilisi Airport 0 $0
2020 Single supplement (3 nights) 100 $115
2020 Small group supplement (2 pax), pp 510 $580
2020 Small group supplement (3 pax), pp 290 $330

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2020 06/05 - 06/15 11d / 10n 11-day trip, AP 4 /8 Expired
A 2020 06/26 - 07/06 11d / 10n 11-day trip, AP 4 /8 Expired
A 2020 08/28 - 09/07 11d / 10n 11-day trip, AP 4 /8 Reserve
A 2020 09/18 - 09/28 11d / 10n 11-day trip, AP 4 /8 Reserve
A 2020 10/09 - 10/19 11d / 10n 11-day trip, AP 4 /8 Reserve

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

Lunches and dinners in Tbilisi (meals on day 1 + lunch and dinner on day 2), Travel insurance, Entrance fees & Gratuities
Bring your own sleeping bag (warm) & ground mat!

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

Climate:
                                                    Kazreti area


Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average High Temperature (°F)

41

44

53

62

70

80

86

86

76

62

52

44

Average Low Temperature (°F)

26

28

35

44

51

59

65

66

57

47

37

29

Average High Temperature (°C)

5

7

12

17

21

27

30

30

24

17

11

7

Average Low Temperature (°C)

-3

-2

2

7

11

15

19

19

14

8

3

-2

Average Precipitation (days of rain)

4

5

6

8

11

9

5

5

5

6

5

4

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.

This riding tour is not offered during winter (November to March) because of the risk of snow.

What To Bring:
During the trek your main luggage will be transported by car. Please use bags or suitcases that are easy to handle. The horses are equipped with small saddle bags. In camp you will have sufficient water in canisters for hand/face wash. Additionally we recommend bringing wet wipes, etc.

What to Bring
- Helmet (mandatory)
- Breeches
- Riding boots and half chaps
- Riding gloves
- Rain jacket
- Warm clothes for the evening/nights. Depending on the time of the year it can get cold during the night (5°C)
- Possibly thermal wear for the nights
- Shirts (long-sleeve and short)
- Sleeping bag (warm) and ground mat
- 1-2 small drinking bottles to carry in the saddle bags
- Hip pocket for small things you might need during the ride
- Swimsuit
- Sunscreen
- Lip balm
- Mosquito repellent
- Sunglasses
- Toiletries
- Towels
- Ear plugs 
- Flashlight and spare batteries
- Camera, memory cards, and battery charger
- Personal first-aid-kit (for headaches, stomach pains, digestion problems, eye drops, etc.) ATTENTION! It is strictly prohibited to bring products that contain the ingredients codeine and tramadol as well as sleeping pills. Non-compliance leads to high fines and imprisonment. If, due to illness, you need to bring medication with these ingredients you will need a medical certificate confirming the need and the exact amount from your doctor.