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Trekking in the Mountains of Poetry

Trekking the majestic Caucasus mountains of the Republic of Georgia – horseback support hiking in Khevsureti and Tusheti National Park.

The Caucasus has always been a region of the World out of the ordinary. For millennia it has been a home to mountain clans and ancient peoples and to visit this area is an extraordinary ride out from mass tourism into a Eurasian Mosaic of cultures and genuine hospitality. Since the peaceful Rose Revolution in 2003, the Republic of Georgia has returned to the World map as a safe and fascinating new country to explore. It is a wonderful nation steeped in traditions and hospitality. Its unsung tradition of the country is its good-humored, hospitable people, whose dominion over their guests (and the constant poring of delicious wine) borders the compulsive. At a Georgian traditional dinner “Supra”, your soil and body will be toasted, fed, watered and made to sing and dance.

The Georgian Caucasus is truly a place where mountains meet heaven and it has been the inspiration for many of the local poets, such as Vazha Pshavela describing these Mountains which,

…bless the heavens with their gracefulness in cool breezes that swirl and moan around their peak.

Georgia’s unusually rich geographical diversity is well reflected in its variety of flora and fauna - and according to WWF: “Not a single country in Europe possesses such a rich flora and fauna as Georgia”.

This trip is an active hiking and horseback riding supported trip – linking two different and unique mountain areas together. Our journey starts in the capital of Tbilisi, founded more than 1500 years ago.

We then drive to the dramatic scenery of Khevsureti where we start our Trans - Caucasian Traverse to the even more inaccessible mountains valleys of the Tusheti Region. This hidden Caucasian “Shangri-La” is located behind silent mountains tops and defended from stone towers and has only had few recent visitors in recent years. Largely untouched by much of the 20th century, Tusheti is a huge draw to anyone wanting to find ancient culture and superb scenery and a perfect place for hiking and horse riding. A good place for visitors to listen to melancholic songs, recite poetry and sleep under the stars. For 5 days we will hike and horse ride from one historical village to another and camp or stay with the locals in their traditional houses.

We end the trip in the lowlands beneath the Tusheti heights – the provence of Khakheti, famed for being the birth place of wine making in the World. And of course we will taste the good drop from local wineries and drink wine out of goat horns after a great Caucasian wilderness experience.

Come join us – if you are ready for active holiday in the unknown Caucasus! We guarantee that you will be touched by the poetry of its people and landscapes!

Day to Day Itinerary:

Day 1: Tbilisi- Shatili. As the major route through the greater Caucasus, the Highway crosses important historical provinces of Georgia. On the drive North we pass through Mtskheta, the ancient capital of Georgia with its sacred 11th century Svetitskhoveli Cathedral and stunningly located Jvari Monastery. Further along the road we stop at the superb Ananuri church complex and fortress perched over the Zhinvali Lake. In the afternoon we drive further up the mountains to the high alpine grasslands to the small village of Shatili ( total driving time is 5 – 6 hours). Wilderness Camping

Day 2: Shatili - Mutso – Atsunta Pass. Early in the morning we will leave Shatili and make for the Atsunta Pass. En route we can take an optional side hike to Mutso, one of the most beautiful villages in Khevsureti, and one of the oldest. It is built up the side of a steep mountain, with a wide view, fortified to protect the townspeople from Dagestanians. Walking up to Mutso takes one hour r/t, and we’ll pass the ancient alkdamas grave site where people would go away from the village when they had plague. Many victorious battles against invaders were fought at Mutso, the last village in Khevsureti before we enter into the region of Tusheti.

Along our way we will find a nice spot to stop and enjoy lunch to refuel for our 4- 5 hours hike up to our campsite below Atsunta pass, where we set up a high mountain camp just before the pass. Far away from civilization, we eat our dinner under the stars and share stories with our guides around the campfire.

Wilderness camping

Day 3: Atsunta Pass- Kvakhidi, Tusheti territory. After the hiking of the previous day we will have a hearty breakfast to get ready to hike into Tusheti, Georgia’s other beautiful mountain region. We will cross the Atsunta Pass and hike down to into the Kvakhidi Valley. Here are the headwaters of the Alazani river, the longest river in Tusheti. Schools of trout swim in the blue green waters of this mountain river. In the Kvakhidi area there is a small Georgian military base protecting the borders, and it is a place where very few tourists go. On the way to Kvakhidi we will have to get on the horses to cross the river.

Wilderness Camping

Day 4: Kvakhidi - Girevi. Late morning we will leave the Kvakhidi camp site and walk down to the village of Girevi (4-5 Hours). Our hike will take us through Chontio, the first village in the Tusheti region. Nobody lives here anymore, because the living conditions are too harsh. Only horse keepers come here and they come only in the summer to stay for four months. On the way we will visit shepherds’ houses and we will have a chance to see how they make cheese. This remote area was once home to a group of orthodox monks, who lived and prayed here. They were kidnapped by Muslims and after several months the Georgian government brought them back. This day of our hiking is following the flat valley floor, an easy walk.

Wilderness Camping

Day 5: Girevi - Dartlo.

Our hiking journey today follows the banks of the rushing Pirikriti River We pass the stone villages of Parsma and Chesho, and after a half day of hiking, we arrive at Dartlo. Dartlo is mentioned in the old chronicles as one of most ancient villages in Georgia. In the village there are some wonderful stone towers, built for protection from outside enemy attacks and used as homes to live in during peaceful times. A family that owned a tower was considered a rich family. The Georgian King David the Builder used to pay many visits to this village, where he passed his time reading books and resting with the locals. Up on the steep mountainside, perched above Dartlo like an eagle’s nest, is Kvavlo. After taking pictures and relaxing a bit we will continue hiking towards beautiful Chigo. ( 5- 6 hours of hiking)

Dartlo Guesthouse

Day 6: Dartlo – Omalo. We hike from dartlo to Omalo (3 to 4 hours of hiking. The hike is relatively easy and surrounded with beautiful views. Overnight in Omalo guesthouse.

Day 7: Omalo – Laliskuri – Tbilisi. After breakfast we will board 4 wheel drive vehicles and drive 4 hours to Laliskuri, Vine region. We have lunch in Laliskuri and continue towards Tbilisi.

Price Per Person:

1590 USD (6 pax - 10 pax)

What’s Included?

· expert leadership, horse guides and kitchen personel

· all accommodations as noted

· meals as noted (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)

· ground transportation, included horses and minibuses

What’s not Included?

· International airfare

· insurance of any kind

· optional tipping to leader

· excess baggage charges

· cost of medical immunizations

· items of a personal nature (sodas, liquor, laundry, etc.)

· visa costs