GEORGIA 2020

TUSHETI RIDE
(with homestays and guest houses)

Date: June 17- 27, 2020

Rate: € 2,050 based on 5-8 riders 

The Tusheti region is located in the Great Caucasus mountains in Georgia. The only access leading to this area is a pathway which had been built by the Soviets after the 2nd WW and goes over a pass at almost 3000m high.

The Tusheti is reachable by car from June to October and that is the reason why it remains a very secluded mountainous region and the inhabitants, the Tushs, still live with their old traditions and customs.

The scenery is spectacular and you will feel as though you are riding on top of the world. Drop down into flower-filled meadows in June and camp beside mountain streams. You will have the chance to meet local nomadic Tush people who spend their summers in the high mountains and their winters in the valleys.

We start this horseback trek in the heart of the National Park and more precisely in Gogrulta. Not reachable by car, this village remains a very traditional village, full of Tush atmosphere.
This trip offers some outstanding sceneries, a discovery of the beautiful secluded Tush villages and pagan places. We stay with Tush families away from the tourist trails and also stay in some of the best guesthouses offering incredible scenery. We dive deep into the Tush traditions and way of life, The horses are  local Caucasus Mountains bred horses who are well adapted to this region. 

Accommodation in in simple guest houses. The traditional guesthouses do not have running water and electricity. Accommodation is shared after Tbilisi.

Riding is not fast but there are opportunities for some trots and canters on most days where the terrain allows it. Riding skill can be average but you should be fit as there is also trekking on foot involved while leading your horse. 


ITINERARY

DAY 1 : Arrive TBILISI (17/6)

Arrival in Tbilisi
Transfer to your hotel located in the old city.

DAY 2 : TBILISI-KAKHETI-LALISKHURI (18/6)

Meeting point at 10.30 am at your hotel in Tbilissi.
We drive to the Kakheti region. This region is full of places of interest. They were selected to have an overview of the Georgian heritage (history, wine, religion, landscapes). We start with the visit to Shumta where we will visit a church and a nunnery which was built in the 16th century. The inside frescoes are quite well preserved.

Then we drive to Telavi, the main city in Kakheti:  40 minutes -1hour free time to stroll around.
Worth a glimpse : a colorful local market, fortress of the last king of Kakheti, Erekle II and the little alleys.

After a picnic lunch, we go to Tsinandali, a village known for the estate and its historic winery which once belonged to the 19th-century aristocratic poet, linguist and wine maker Alexander Chavchavadze (1786–1846). We visit the beautiful villa and garden dating back to 1835.
We finish our visit with Alaverdi cathedral. Built on a pagan worship, this cathedral had been set up in the 6th century and re-built in the 11th century. This was the highest cathedral during the Soviet Union period. The architecture of the edifice is typical of the region. Afterwards we proceed to Laliskhuri, a small village located at the foot of the Caucasian Mountains where you are welcomed by a Tush family for dinner and the overnight.

Accommodation: Guesthouse with shared bathrooms and hot showers. Outhouse loo

DAY 3 : LALISKHURI-TUSHETI (19/6)

After breakfast, we travel with a 4WD to the Tusheti region.
The path had been built after the second world war and carved in the rocks.We drive over the ‘Abano’ Pass which lies at 2926m high. The pass marks the border between the Tusheti and the Kakheti regions and offers some splendid panorama over them. We reach Omalo, the main village of the Tusheti, located in the heart of the Tusheti National Park at 2000m high.We then proceed to our final destination, Dotchu.
Gogrulta is not reachable by car, which means that we meet the horses here. We ride up to Gogrulta.
which takes 2-3 hours. While the packhorses are taking another shorter way, we get used to our horses on a longer and easy easier route for our introductory ride. Gogrulta is located at the top of a small summit which offers some spectacular views.
Accommodation is very typical and old-fashioned. It means absolutely no comfort but very authentic.

Accommodation : Traditional house. No bathrooms. Loo in the village (simple whole)

DAY 4 : GOGRULTA (20/6)

The paganism in the Caucasus Region was still present until the middle of the 20th century. Many altars remains in Tusheti and some of their divinities like Otchopintre (god of nature) or Elia (god of weather) are still honoured. Almost of the Tush people were living there all the year until this period. They started to leave Tusheti after the construction of the road.

Depending on the weather and mountain conditions, we will either ride to some secluded villages or up to a pass and ride along the crest of the mountain.

Around 4-5 hours ride.
Trot/canter, 1 possibility
Around 30min on foot
Accommodation : Traditional house. No bathrooms. Outhouse loo in the village 

DAY 5 : GOGRULTA (21/6)

Depending on the weather conditions we ride up to the amazing crest reaching 3200 m. 
This day trip offers incredible panoramas. We return the same way.

Around 7 hours ride.
Trot/canter not possible.
Around 1h-1h30 on foot
Accommodation : Traditional house. No bathrooms. Loo in the village (simple whole)

DAY 6 : GOGRULTA-KOKLATA-JVARBOSELI (22/6)

We ride up to a village called Iliurta, one of the few villages where a church has been built.
We enter the Gometsari valley and ride up to Koklata which offers some beautiful panoramas of the valley.

We overnight in a beautiful guesthouse with all conveniences down in the valley.

Around 6 hours ride.
Trot/canter, 1 possibility
Around 1h on foot.

Accommodation: guesthouse, double room, shared bathroom and hot shower.

DAY 7 : KOKLATA-NARAICHO-DARTLO (23/6)

We ride up to Naraicho pass which offers incredible view. While going up we see a village where only 2 houses are still inhabited.
The pass is about 3000m high. Then we plunge in the next Valley. We walk down for 1h-1H30.

We then ride to Dartlo, a village which is registered on the UNESCO heritage list.

Around 6-8 hours ride.
Trot/gallop not possible.
Around 1h30 on foot.(hard way)
Accommodation: guesthouse, double room, shared bathroom and hot shower.

DAY 8 : DARTLO-SHENAKO (24/6)

We ride up till the end of the valley, riding though several villages. we reach a pass and discover the last valley and 2 more villages.

We overnight in Shenako, one of the very few villages where a church had been built.

Around 6 hours ride
Trot/canter not possible.
Around 1H00 on foot
Accommodation: Guesthouse

DAY 9 : SHENAKO - OMALO (25/6)

We ride to Omalo and ride to the upper village and visit the fortress.
We spend our last night in a beautiful guesthouse located the lower part of Omalo

Around 5 hours ride.
Trot/canter possibilities.
1h00 on foot
Accommodation: Guesthouse, shared bathroom and hot shower.

DAY 10 : OMALO - LALISKHURI (26/6)

Drive back to Kakheti.
We reach Laliskhuri in the end of the afternoon. You will enjoy the shower!
We have dinner with the local people.

Accommodation: guesthouse with shared bathroom and hot shower

DAY 11 : LALISKHURI - TBILISI (27/6)

We drive back to Tbilisi. Lunch included.
We arrive in Tbilisi in the beginning of the afternoon. Free afternoon in Tbilisi.
Dinner in a restaurant.
Hotel 3/4* located in the very center of the old City

DAY 12 : Departure  (28/6)

Transfer to the airport.

Remarks:

The itinerary may change according to the mountains and weather conditions and during this season it is quite common to modify the itinerary because of the pathway/weather/ consequences of the winter.

If the riders arrival and departures are before or after the date (it means before midday the first day and after 8pm the last day, there is an extra fee for the taxi transfer to airport : 20 euros one way)

The luggage will be carried in some precarious conditions. We are also not responsible for some damages which can occur

At Laliskhuri, we will give you 2 waterproof bags in which you should arrange your belongings. You can leave the rest of your unneeded luggage there. The weigh should also be reasonable. Our horse should carry everything.

During the trek we have to be self sufficient as once the Kakheti region is left we cannot find any provisions.

We are cooking every day, typical Georgian food and Tush specialities. Our food is coming from the local production and is organic.

During the trek, the way down has to be walked on foot.

We will go in a very secluded area and especially the first part of the trek. Good physical
and mental condition is required. A travel health insurance is required to cover any
accident, medical assistance and mountain rescue.

Mountain experience is also recommended as some trails can sometimes be challenging. 

The horse trek is mainly done slowly because of the difference in altitude and the type of soil

ATTENTION : all products derived from Codeine molecules are strictly forbidden in Georgia