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Tusheti Mountain Trails

Overview

These adventurous treks on horseback take you through the heart of the Tusheti national park in the Caucasus mountains and ride over passes 3,000m high. The scenery is spectacular and you will feel as though you are riding on top of the world. Drop down into flower-filled meadows and camp beside mo…

Highlights

  • Stunning mountain landscapes and glorious views
  • Remote camping far from the normal tourist trail
  • Pack horse supported with the whole herd coming along
  • Ride steep, narrow trails on sure-footed local horses
  • Learn about the local people and cultures

Essential Facts

  • 3 itineraries available
  • Max 8 riders per group
  • Average of 5 - 6 hours riding per day
  • Weight limit: 85kg / 187 lbs / 13 stone 5 lbs.
    more info One heavier rider can be accommodated - please enquire.

Description

These adventurous treks on horseback take you through the heart of the Tusheti national park in the Caucasus mountains and ride over passes 3,000m high. The scenery is spectacular and you will feel as though you are riding on top of the world. Drop down into flower-filled meadows and camp beside mountain streams. Meet local nomadic Tush people who spend their summers in the high mountains and their winters in the valleys.

These trails offer a fantastic insight into the Tush people and the Georgian culture. Paganism was still present in this region until the middle of the 20th century and many pagan altars remain. The locals still honour some of the divinities, such as Otchpintre (God of nature) and Elia (God of weather).

Your guide is French but has lived in Georgia for many years and speaks fantastic English. She lives as the Tush nomads do, spending her summers in the mountains and moving her horses to lower ground for the winter. She knows many of the families you will meet and can introduce you to their way of life. Her knowledge of the history and culture within the region is astounding and she will regale you with tales around the campfire.

The trails are not fast, as all your belongings and camp equipment and food are carried by the horses. This is an expedition into wild and remote areas where few people, never mind tourists, venture. You do not need to be a particularly skilled rider, but you do need to be in control, in balance and fit. Some of the paths are very steep and technically challenging, so this ride is not for those with a fear of heights, but you can certainly trust your horses to carry you safely. There are some sections where you have to dismount and lead your horse - mainly downhill, but occasionally on particularly technical uphill sections.

The itineraries are very similar, except that one is longer than the other so ventures deeper into the mountains - on this trail you cross additional high passes and so you need to be fitter and have prior mountain experience. In the autumn it is also possible to join the transhumance when the horses are moved from their summer pastures to their winter valleys - for this ride, you must be an experienced rider and there is no set itinerary so please contact the office if you require more information.

Cathy from Far and Ride has been lucky enough to ride here and will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Horses & Riding

Tack

Georgian saddles are simple affairs comprised of a solid wooden tree or frame, over which a cushion is strapped for comfort. Bridles have simple snaffles bits and many are made of rawhide.

Please note that you will be expected to groom and saddle your own horse on these rides.

Horses

Local mountain horses.

The horses are all born and raised in the mountains. An oddity of these rides in Georgia is that the whole herd accompanies each ride, so foals and youngsters will run alongside their mothers who may be loose or maybe carrying some packs/luggage. This enables the young horses to develop their knowledge and skills across the steep terrain so that when they become riding horses in later life they are already as nimble as mountain goats! It is a privilege to ride within the herd and watch the youngsters stretch their legs across the flower-filled meadows.

Riding

There are 3 itineraries:

  • Wild Tusheti is a trail ride
  • Tush Villages is a trail ride
  • Transhumance - Tusheti to Laliskuri is a trail ride

Ages

Due to the rustic nature of this trail, it is not suitable for children, however teenagers who are used to camping trails can be accommodated.

Health

You must be fit and healthy. You are riding at altitude and there are some long sections on foot as well.

Weight

85kg / 187 lbs / 13 stone 5 lbs. One heavier rider can be accommodated - please enquire.

Food & Accommodation

Food

All meals are included, except for alcoholic drinks on the final night, which is in a restaurant in Tbilisi (you can choose and buy your own).

Breakfast consists of bread, butter, eggs, cheese, jams, and honey with tea/coffee. Lunch is usually a picnic and will include bread, cheese and salads. Dinner will be Tush specialities which can be cooked over an open fire. They will be based around plenty of vegetables as well as pasta, rice and buckwheat. Chicken and fish may be possible on some days but they tend not to travel well on the pack horses.

At the start of the trail, you may enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables, such as delicious peaches and watermelons, ripe tomatoes and cucumbers, depending on the season. however, there is no way of replenishing stocks along the route, so the last few days will consist of pasta, cheese, rice and tinned products which can be easily preserved and carried on horseback. The same applies to the wine - Georgian wine is available, but once you have drunk what the horses have carried (in plastic containers), then there is no more wine until you return to civilisation - your guide tries to carry an adequate amount but it is not limitless.

Potatoes, cheese and occasionally meat can be bought from herdsmen/nomadic families if you come across them.

Accommodation

You stay in a hotel in the centre of Tbilisi at the start and end of the trail. Once leaving the city, you spend a night in a local house with a family, in two or three large rooms with up to six beds in each room.

Accommodation is rustic once you are on the trail! Some nights are in two-man tents with no facilities, others are in basic houses high in the mountains, with one toilet for the whole group and no showers. The ride is very remote and these are the best accommodation options available - you are well and truly off the beaten track. Each night camping will be close to a river so you can bathe/wash if the weather is appropriate, but we recommend taking plenty of wet wipes too.

Single accommodation is not an option on the trail as all belongings are carried by packhorses and there is limited space for extra tents. However, you can pay extra for a single room for the two nights in Tbilisi if you wish.

Itineraries

Wild Tusheti Basic / Tented accommodation.

Tush Villages Basic accommodation.

Transhumance - Tusheti to Laliskuri Tented accommodation.

Other Activities

There are many beautiful sights to see along the route, with remote villages, defensive towers and churches to visit.

This is primarily a riding trail, but non-riders who are fit and active walkers/hikers could join the trail on foot. There may be times when non-riders need to sit on a pack-horse to cross a river, but if you are fit for mountainous hiking then you could join as a non-rider.

Travel

There are relatively few direct flights to Tbilisi, with the most popular routes from Europe including a stop in Istanbul. Flights do tend to arrive very late at night or early in the morning, but you are collected from the airport and transferred straight to your hotel to rest. You may wish to add an extra night at the start to recover from the flight and explore the capital city.

Airport transfers are organised and included provided you arrive after midday on Day One and depart before 20:00 on the final day.

If you arrive earlier than this or depart later, then you will need to organise a taxi to take you to the hotel/airport for the first night. You can download an app called "Bolt" (similar to Uber) and book your taxi easily this way.

Testimonials

Isabel S., July 25, 2022

Exceptionally beautiful and well-organised trail through spectacular Caucasus scenery full of superlatives. In the national park, no day was like any other day, the camp sites were a dream and the little Tbilisi interlude after the trail was a perfect round-off. Favourite memory? The evenings with the group! Delicious food, laughed a lot and had enriching conversations with lots of interesting people. And crossing the high passes at >3000m! The high mountains offer a completely different scenery.


Nora W., July 25, 2022

Amazing trip across the most beautiful area of Georgia, I've never seen anything like that. Beautiful landscapes, completely remote, a time-out without electricity, water, internet, just in the nature, in the mountains, with the horses. Favourite memory? Crossing several mountain passes over 3000m, seeing eagles, vultures and bears.


Katrine K., Aug. 27, 2019

Interesting, challenging, fun, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.... Favourite memory? The last camp in the wild. Extremely serene and untouched, amazing view from both sides of tent. Quite a tough climb to get there. Felt completely at peace. Horses? Yes I rode the lead mare, the loveliest horse with extreme mountain skills. We were accompanied by her 3 month old foal - both lovely! Guides? Audrey is amazing. An inspiration for anyone thinking of following a dream.


Jennifer B., July 23, 2019

An excellent holiday - such an experience to go to remote mountains. Audrey is amazing the way she organises and masterminds the whole trip. We were so lucky to go.


Leah J., Sept. 24, 2018

I felt very privileged to be on this trip and to venture places you can only get to on horseback and in a fascinating part of the world. The scenery had an immensity to it that will stay with me for a long time. Favourite memory: Galloping across a meadow on what felt like the top of the world. Food: I still don't know where Audrey kept pulling out new ingredients from after so many days into the trip!


Itinerary & Pricing

Day 1 - Arrival in Tbilisi

Riding: No riding.

You will be met on arrival at Tbilisi airport and transferred to your hotel. Flights usually arrive late/midnight so you may wish to add an extra day/night to recover. We can book additional nights for you at the same hotel (please just ask).

Please note that transfers are only included if you arrive after midday on Day One or into the early hours of Day Two. If you arrive before midday (or very early in the morning on Day One) then you are advised to book a hotel night for the previous night so that you have somewhere to go on arrival. We can book the hotel for you, but you will need to organise a taxi to get yourself there on arrival. This can be done easily via the "Bolt" app (similar to Uber).

Day 2 - Tbilisi - Kakheti - Laliskhuri

Riding: No riding.

You will be collected from your hotel at 10:30am and driven to the Kakheti region. This historical region contains some interesting sites which you can stop and view en-route. Firstly you visit Shumta - there is Old Shumta (three churches from the 6th and 7th century) and New Shumta (a church and nunnery from the 16th century with well preserved frescoes). You visit New Shumta only and then continue by road to Telavi which is the main city within the Kakheti region. Here you have c. 1 hour to walk around the colourful market or perhaps visit the fortress of King Erekle II.

After a picnic lunch you are transferred to Tsinandali where you visit a historic winery which once belonged to the 19th century aristocratic poet, linguist and wine-maker Alexander Chavchavadze (1786-1846). You visit both the beautiful house and the gardens.

Your next stop is Gremi - once the capital of the Kingdom of Kakheti in the 16th and 17th centuries and a lively trading town on the Silk Road, it was destroyed by Persian armies in 1615. The town never regained its prosperity and the kings transferred their capital to Telavi in the mid 17th century.

Eventually you reach Laliskhuri, a small village at the foot of the Caucasus mountains. Here you are welcomed by a Tush family and spend the night in their home. Before/after dinner you will re-pack your belongings into waterproof sacks which can be carried by the pack horses - your remaining luggage will stay here for safe-keeping until you return from your riding trail.

Day 3 - Laliskhuri - Tusheti

Riding: 2 - 3 hours

After breakfast you set off in a 4WD vehicle into the Tusheti region but ascending the path which was carved into the rocks after the second world war. You drive over Abano Pass at 2,926m which marks the border between the Kakheti and Tusheti regions and offers  spectacular views across both. Eventually you reach Omalo, the main village with the Tusheti national park at 2,000m. Continue by road to Dotchu.

Your destination, Gogrulta, cannot be reached by car and so you meet the horses at Dotchu and unload the vehicles. After loading the pack horse, your back-up guide takes them steeply uphill to Gogrulta, whilst you ride for c. 2 hours on a longer route to get to know your horses. The view from the top is spectacular. Your accommodation for the night is a typical village house which has few comforts but is very authentic.

Day 4 - Gogrulta

Riding: 6 hours

Depending on the weather conditions, you either ride to the mountain village of Illiurta or to the lost villages, or up to a beautiful pass. If conditions are favourable, then you start by descending for 40 mins before climbing uphill to a beautiful crest from where you will get your first outstanding panoramic view of the region. Continue on foot for c. 1 hour downhill to cross the river and then ride back uphill through the lost villages of Tusheti until returning to Gogrulta for a second night.

Day 5 - Gogrulta - Gometsari

Riding: 6 hours

Leave Gogrulta behind and ride up another crest from where you have great views. You spend the whole day riding on the roof of the Caucasian range at 3,000m (highest point being 3,200m). Your camp location is decided on the day, depending on local weather conditions but will be at an elevation of c. 2,500m.

Day 6 - Gometsari - Zovata

Riding: 6 hours

You start the day on foot, descending for c. 30 minutes. Continue riding through Gometsari valley and then cross another pass into Zovata valley. Today you will need to mount and dismount many times for some technical sections.

Day 7 - Zovata - AZ Valley

Riding: 6 - 7 hours

Ride uphill more than 900m elevation to a pass which leads to the beautiful AZ valley. Ride alongside the river through some very wild landscapes. You may have to dismount a few times before reaching camp which is beside the river.

Day 8 - AZ Valley - Saidumlo

Riding: 6 hours

Ride up a third pass, ascending 800m. Once at the top you walk down through some beautiful gorges before riding down into the valley and setting up camp near Saidumlo.

Day 9 - Saidumlo - Pirikiti Valley

Riding: 6 - 7 hours

Ride to the Pirikiti valley which contains several Tush villages. The first inhabited one is Girevi. Visit Parsma and ride through Tchecho and set up camp between Parsma and Dartlo near the river. There are some difficult passages today, with some pathways carved into the rock alongside the ravine. You should have some previous mountain experience to complete this itinerary.

Day 10 - Pirikiti Valley - Omalo

Riding: 6 - 7 hours

Visit the village of Dartlo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and ride up the Mirgvella pass to Omalo, arriving late in the day. You can visit the fortress and some other places of interest. Spend the night in a traditional Tush house in Omalo. NB. Depending on weather conditions you may overnight in Omala, Shenako or Gogrulta.

Day 11 - Omalo - Laliskhuri

Riding: No riding.

Say your farewells before being transferred back downhill to Laliskhuri. You will welcome the shower and being reunited with your luggage and clean clothes!

If time allows you can visit the complex of Alaverdi - built on the site of Pagan worship, this cathedral was built in the 6th century and then re-built in the 11th century. It was the highest cathedral during the Soviet Union period and the architecture is typical of the region.

Dinner and overnight with the family in Laliskhuri again.

Day 12 - Laliskhuri - Tbilisi

Riding: No riding.

After breakfast you are driven back to Tbilisi, aiming to arrive in the early afternoon. You are then free to explore the city, which is surprisingly chic and interesting. Dinner is in a local restaurant where your guide will choose specialities for you to try. You can choose your own wine this evening from some wonderful Georgian vineyards. Overnight in a hotel.

Day 13 - Departure

Riding: 1 hours

You will be transferred to the airport for your flight home, which is likely to depart in the early hours. Transfers are included provided your flight departs before 8 pm. Many flights depart in the early hours (c. 3 am) and this is fine on Day 13, but you'd have to organise a taxi for the transfer if your flight departed in the early hours of Day 14.

NB. The itinerary may have to alter depending on mountain and weather conditions but always with your best interests at heart.

Accommodation

Two nights in a hotel in Tbilisi
Two nights in a guesthouse in Laliskhuri
Two nights in a typical house in Gogrulta
One night in a traditional house in Omalo
Five nights camping

Experience Intermediate / Experienced

You should be an intermediate rider who is balanced in the saddle and has some previous experience of riding in the mountains. There are some technical sections where paths are carved into rocks and you may need to mount/dismount many times. There are also sections of walking on foot each day so you need to be fit.

Minimum group size 4
Maximum group size 8
Departure windows

July 1, 2024 - July 13, 2024

July 19, 2024 - July 31, 2024

Aug. 2, 2024 - Aug. 14, 2024

Sept. 7, 2024 - Sept. 19, 2024

Pricing

2024
Sharing
£2080 $2635 €2465
Included 12 nights accommodation in shared rooms/tents, 7 days of riding, all meals, all drinks whilst on the trail & airport transfers on set days.
Not included Flights, travel insurance, drinks on the final night, transfers not on set days, tips & other personal expenses.

Extras

2024 - Extra hotel night in Tbilisi (shared) €100
Paid locally
If you wish to extend your stay before/after the ride - Twin/Double room. This cost is an approximate conversion from Georgian Lari, the local currency in which extra costs should be paid.
2024 - Extra hotel night in Tbilisi (single) €75 per night
Paid locally
If you wish to extend your stay before/after the ride - Single room. This cost is an approximate conversion from Georgian Lari, the local currency in which extra costs should be paid.
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding. All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.

Day 1 - Arrival in Tbilisi

Riding: No riding.

You will be met on arrival at Tbilisi airport and transferred to your hotel. Flights usually arrive late/midnight so you may wish to add an extra day/night to recover.

Please note that transfers are only included if you arrive after midday on Day One or into the early hours of Day Two. If you arrive before midday (or very early in the morning on Day One) then you are advised to book a hotel night for the previous night so that you have somewhere to go on arrival. We can book the hotel for you, but you will need to organise a taxi to get yourself there on arrival. This can be done easily via the "Bolt" app (similar to Uber).

Day 2 - Tbilisi - Laliskhuri

Riding: No riding.

You will be collected from your hotel at 10:30am and driven to the Kakheti region. This historical region contains some interesting sites which you can stop and view en-route. Firstly you visit Shumta - there is Old Shumta (three churches from the 6th and 7th century) and New Shumta (a church and nunnery from the 16th century with well preserved frescoes). You visit New Shumta only and then continue by road to Telavi which is the main city within the Kakheti region. Here you have c. 1 hour to walk around the colourful market or perhaps visit the fortress of King Erekle II.

After a picnic lunch you are transferred to Tsinandali where you visit a historic winery which once belonged to the 19th century aristocratic poet, linguist and wine-maker Alexander Chavchavadze (1786-1846). You visit both the beautiful house and the gardens.
You finish your sightseeing with a visit to Alaverdi cathedral. This cathedral for pagan worship was built in the 6th century and rebuilt in the 11th century. It was the highest cathedral during the Soviet period and the architecture of the edifice is typical of the region.
Eventually you reach Laliskhuri, a small village at the foot of the Caucasus mountains. Here you are welcomed by a Tush family and spend the night in their home. Before/after dinner you will re-pack your belongings into waterproof sacks which can be carried by the pack horses - your remaining luggage will stay here for safe-keeping until you return from your riding trail.

Please note: the toilet is a long-drop (hole) in the back garden. There is one (shared) bathroom with a hot shower. Rooms are dormitory style.

Day 3 - Laliskhuri - Tusheti

Riding: 1 - 2 hours

After breakfast you set off in a 4WD vehicle into the Tusheti region but ascending the path which was carved into the rocks after the second world war. You drive over Abano Pass at 2,926m which marks the border between the Kakheti and Tusheti regions and offers  spectacular views across both. Eventually you reach Omalo, the main village with the Tusheti national park at 2,000m. Continue by road to Dotchu.

Your destination, Gogrulta, cannot be reached by car and so you meet the horses at Dotchu and unload the vehicles. After loading the pack horse, your back-up guide takes them steeply uphill to Gogrulta, whilst you ride for c. 2 hours on a longer route to get to know your horses. The view from the top is spectacular. Your accommodation for the night is a typical village house which has few comforts but is very authentic (no electricity, no running water, no bathrooms - the toilet is a long drop (hole) which serves the very small village).

Day 4 - Gogrulta

Riding: 4 - 5 hours

Ride out from Gogrulta on a circular day ride which returns to the same village house. Depending on the weather and mountain conditions you either ride to a lost village or over a high pass to a mountain crest. 

Paganism was still present in the Caucasus region until the middle of the 20th century and many altars still remain in Tusheti, with some divinities such as Otchopintre (God of nature) and Elia (God of weather) still honoured.

Day 5 - Gogrulta

Riding: 6 - 7 hours

Another full day ride out from Gogrulta and returning to the same village house. Depending on weather conditions, today you ride to an amazing crest at 3200m high for spectacular views of the region. Return by the same route.

Day 6 - Gogrulta - Koklata - Jvarboseli

Riding: 5 - 7 hours

Ride up to a village called Iliurta, one of the few villages where a church has been built. Enter the Gometsari valley and ride up to Koklata which overs beautiful panoramic views of the valley. Overnight in a guesthouse with shared bathrooms and showers.

Day 7 - Koklata - Naraicho - Dartlo

Riding: 6 - 8 hours

Ride up to Naraicho pass for more stunning views. On the way up you'll pass a village where only two houses are still inhabited. The pass is at 3000m and you then drop downhill on foot as it's a difficult path (c. 1-2 hours on foot). Remount and ride to Dartlo, a village which has UNESCO World Heritage status. Your guesthouse has shared bathrooms and showers.

Day 8 - Dartlo - Shenako - Gogrulta/Omalo

Riding: 6 hours

Ride to the end of the valley, passing through several villages and discovering the last valley and the village of Shenako. Shenako is one of the few villages where a church has been built. Overnight in a guesthouse.

Day 9 - Gogrulta/Omalo - Laliskhuri

Riding: No riding.

Say your farewells before being transferred back downhill to Laliskhuri. You will welcome being reunited with your luggage and clean clothes!

Dinner and overnight with the family in Laliskhuri again (with one shared bathroom with shower, and a long-drop toilet in the back).

Day 10 - Laliskhuri - Tbilisi

Riding: No riding.

After breakfast you are driven back to Tbilisi, aiming to arrive in the early afternoon. You are then free to explore the city, which is surprisingly chic and interesting. Dinner is in a local restaurant where your guide will choose specialities for you to try. You can choose your own wine this evening from some wonderful Georgian vineyards. Overnight in a hotel.

Day 11 - Departure

Riding: No riding.

You will be transferred to the airport for your flight home, which is likely to depart in the early hours.

Accommodation

There is no camping on this ride and you have a solid roof over your head each night. However, the accommodation is basic and you will have shared/dorm rooms at most of the houses.

Experience Intermediate / Experienced

You need to be at least an intermediate rider with experience riding across technical terrain, particularly mountains. You need good balance. There are some opportunities to trot/canter on this trail but it is still a slow ride.

Minimum group size 4
Maximum group size 8
Departure windows

June 4, 2024 - June 14, 2024

June 16, 2024 - June 26, 2024

Sept. 22, 2024 - Oct. 2, 2024

Pricing

2024
Sharing
£1660 $2105 €1970
Included 10 nights accommodation in shared rooms, 5 days of riding, all meals, all drinks on the trail & transfers on set days.
Not included Flights, drinks on final night in Tbilisi, transfers not on set days, travel insurance, tips & other personal expenses.

Extras

2024 - Extra hotel night in Tbilisi (shared) €100 per night
Paid locally
If you wish to extend your stay before/after the ride - Twin/Double room. This cost is an approximate conversion from Georgian Lari, the local currency in which extra costs should be paid.
2024 - Extra hotel night in Tbilisi (single) €75 per night
Paid locally
If you wish to extend your stay before/after the ride - Single room. This cost is an approximate conversion from Georgian Lari, the local currency in which extra costs should be paid.
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding. All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.

Day 1 - Arrival

Riding: No riding.

Arrive in Tbilisi and transfer to your hotel to overnight. You may arrive very early in the morning on day two, or may arrive very early this morning and wish to add an extra night in the hotel so that you can rest as soon as you arrive. Extra hotel nights can be booked for you and you pay for them locally.

Day 2 - Tbilisi - Laliskhuri

Riding: No riding.

Meet in the hotel foyer at 10:30am for the drive to the Kakheti region - this region is full of places of interest and your guide has selected some to visit. You start by visiting Shumta - even though there is both an Old Shumta and New Shumta you will only have time to visit New Shumta which is a church and nunnery from the 16th century with well preserved frescoes.

Your continue your journey to Telavi, the main city in the Kakheti region and stop for up to an hour to stroll around and visit the market.

After a picnic lunch you head to Tsinandali, a village known for its historic winery which once belonged to the 19th century aristocratic poet, linguist and winemaker Alexander Chavchavadze (1786-1846). Visit the beautiful house and garden built in 1835. You finish your day by visiting Alaverdi cathedral which was first set up in the 6th century and then rebuilt in the 11th century. This was the highest cathedral during the Soviet period and the architecture of the edifice is typical of the region.

Finally you end at Laliskhuri, a small village located at the base of the Caucasus mountains. Here you overnight with a Tush family in their rustic guesthouse and prepare for the expedition ahead. You can leave spare luggage here too.

Day 3 - Laliskhuri - Tusheti - Omalo - Gogrulta

Riding: 1 hours

After breakfast you travel by 4x4 to the Tusheti region, following a path carved into the rocks which was built after the second world war. Drive over Abano pass at 2926m - this pass marks the border between the Tusheti and Kakheti regions and offers splendid panoramas. Reach Omalo, the main village of the Tusheti. From here you take a short ride to Gogrulta and overnight in a typical house with no electricity or running water.

Days 4 to 5 - Gogrulta

Riding: 6 - 8 hours

There are many riding possibilities from Gogrulta - depending on weather conditions you may ride over passes, crest mountains or drop down into the valleys to ride through Ivanuaurta villages, returning to the house in Gogrulta in the evening. There is c. 1-2 hours walking on foot and leading your horse, depending on which route is taken. It may be possible for some short trots and canters, as the pack horses will stay behind.

Gogrulta is located on top of a small summit which offers spectacular views. The accommodation is very typical with no comfort, but it's authentic!

Day 6 - Gogrulta - Koklata

Riding: 6 hours

Depart Gogrulta with the pack horses and ride through Iliurta and along the Gometsari valley. Ride through Djarboseli and up to Koklata where you'll see many defensive towers and pagan places of worship. Your transhumance has started!

Day 7 - Koklata - Naraicho Crest

Riding: 7 - 8 hours

Depending on the weather you ride up to the Naraicho pass (over 3000m) and continue on the very high crest. The ascent is long and impressive with amazing panorama's. Return to Koklata through Jvarboseli. There's c. 1 hour of walking on foot today.

Day 8 - Koklata - Omalo

Riding: 6 hours

Gather any horses from Koklata and move them to Omalo

Day 9 - Shenako - Diklo - Omalo

Riding: 6 - 8 hours

Ride up to the last village of Tusheti before the border zone - Shenako - also one of the few villages with a church. Visit the church and continue riding to Diklo to view the fortress before riding back to Omalo to overnight.

NB. If the weather forecast is bad you may have to miss this day and start the Transhumance early.

Days 10 to 11 - Transhumance

Riding: 5 - 13 hours

It takes 2 days to drive the horses down from the Tusheti mountains. You will have the whole herd with you - riding some of them and using the others as packhorses, which keeps the pace slow. The days could be tough.

Every year is different but you will spend at least one night camping on the journey before reaching Lalikshuri. Please note that camping on these nights is harsh - there will be no hot meals prepared and no "mess tent" to shelter in if the weather is poor. You will need a very warm sleeping bag as temperatures can drop to -6c at night and there may still be snow on the ground. You may start very early and finish very late to make the most of a good weather window of opportunity, so this ride is not for the fainthearted.

Upon arrival in Lalikshari you first sort the horses and then can enjoy a hot shower and meal where you started your adventure (and be reunited with your luggage)

Day 12 - Laliskhuri - Tbilisi

Riding: No riding.

Transfer back to Tbilisi, aiming to arrive in the early afternoon. You are then free to explore the city before dinner in a restaurant in the evening.

NB. If you have had to start the transhumance early to beat the weather then the additional day will be spent either riding in Kakheti or exploring Tbilisi.

Day 13 - Departure

Riding: No riding.

Your flight can leave very early this morning

Accommodation

First/last night in a 3/4 star hotel in Tbilisi in twin/double rooms.
Two nights in a rustic guesthouse in Laliskhuri with a shared bathroom.
Rest of the nights are either camping or staying in very simple rooms in houses in the Tusheti region - you will need a very warm sleeping bag.

Experience Experienced

You have to be a capable rider who is fit for some very long hours in the saddle and has mountain experience. You may be riding for up to 13 hours a day on the Transhumance days and weather conditions can be harsh. You will have to dismount and lead your horse over technical terrain and will be riding with a whole herd of horses.

Minimum group size 2
Maximum group size 8
Departure windows

Oct. 6, 2024 - Oct. 18, 2024

Pricing

2024
Rider, sharing
£2080 $2635 €2465
Included 12 nights accommodation (much of it camping), all meals, table wine/tchatcha during the trail (until stocks run out), transfers as described, 7 days riding
Not included Flights, insurance, drinks in restaurants, sleeping bag and mattress, personal expenses, tips

Extras

2024 - Single Supplement £34 $43 €40 per night
Paid to Far and Ride
Single rooms are only possible on the first and last night in Tbilisi. During the trail you must be prepared to share.
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding. All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.