Upper Svaneti Fundraising Trek
We are pleased to offer two fundraising tours in Svaneti this season. These tours are an important way for us to raise money for the local NGOs that are developing the trails in Armenia and Georgia. They also help to generate income for the local people along the trail in the areas that we have worked, demonstrating the benefits of sustainable tourism.
This trekking tour is focused on western Svaneti. The Transcauscasian Trail project has worked on the route from Chuberi to Mestia over the past few years to open up the area to hikers. From the deep forests of the Nakra and Neskra river valleys, we will trek over high passes with views of the mountain peaks of Laila, Ushba, Shdavler, Tsaghmil and the Enguri river gorge. We will stay with families in the villages along the way and have the opportunity to talk to them the history of the villages, their traditions, and about how life in Svaneti has changed over the years. We will also gain insight into the environmental and social issues facing the region.
After trekking to Mestia, we will make our way by car to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ushguli, and back down to Kutaisi via the villages of Lower Svaneti and Lentekhi by way of a little-used jeep track.
Your guides for the tours will be the same people who have been developing the trail in Svaneti over the past two years, so they have great insight into the project and strong connections with the local communities.
We are offering two sets of tour dates in fall 2018. This time of year often offers the best trekking weather of the season, with cooler days, clearer skies, and the bright colors of autumn.
Day 1: Transfer from Tbilisi/Kutaisi to Chuberi via Zugdidi, overnight with family
Day 2: Hike to Utviri Pass, camp in alpine meadow
Day 3: Hike to Nakra, overnight with family
Day 4: Hike on Mt. Tsalghmil, overnight in with family in Kichkhuldashi
Day 5: Hike to Etseri, overnight in Etseri
Day 6: Hike to Mt. Bak, descend to Becho valley, overnight in Mazeri
Day 7: Hike over Guli Pass to Mestia, overnight in Mestia
Day 8: Visit museums in Mestia-drive to Ushguli-overnight in Ushguli
Day 9: Morning hike, drive to Lower Svaneti via Koruldashi and Tsana
Day 10: Drive to Kutaisi/Tbilisi via Lentekhi
Dates for 2018:
September 16 – September 25
September 30 – October 9
Cost of tour: $2,100 (half of this amount is a donation that directly supports the work of the Transcaucasian Trail NGO of Georgia to develop and maintain the TCT, the other half covers the cost of food, lodging, guides, and transportation. Thank you for your support!)
For inquiries and reservations, please email [email protected]
You can read a write up about last year’s tour here.
Day 1: Transfer to from Tbilisi/Kutaisi to Chuberi (7hrs/4 hrs), overnight in guesthouse with family. We will meet in the morning in Tbilisi and make our way through west Georgia to Svaneti, stopping on the way for a meal and sightseeing in Samegrelo. We will make our way up the Enguri valley to the Neskra river, the first valley in Svaneti, where we will stay with a family in Chuberi. Optional pick up in Kutaisi city center possible at noon.
Day 2: We will hike east from Chuberi climbing above the valley to camp in an alpine meadow with views west into Abkhazia.
Day 3: Hike over Utviri Pass to Nakra valley, with views to the east across the Enguri valley and Svaneti with views of the Svaneti range and Laila (4,000m). We descend to Nakra, a charming logging village set in the forest, where will stay with a local family.
Day 4: We will have the opportunity to hike or ride horses on a side trail up the shoulder of Tsaghmil , before making our way to Kichkhuldashi, where we will stay the the Vibliani family, the last family living in the village.
Day 5: Hike to Etseri, with stops in Gheshderi and Pari. We will stop to talk to locals and have them show us the ancient churches they have protected for generations, including a spectacular fresco above the village of Pari.
Day 6: We will hike over Bak pass (optional side hike to the top of Mt. Bak) with views of Ushba (4,710m) before descending through beautiful alpine meadows and fir forests to Mazeri, overnight in family guesthouse (shared room).
Day 7: Hike Guli pass to Mestia, overnight at guesthouse. For our last big day of hiking, we make the climb over Guli pass. Now we are directly below the twin peaks of Ushba, and Tetnuldi (4,858m) comes into view. We descend to Mestia, famous for its dense collection of medieval towers.
Day 8: We visit the Svaneti museum in the morning to see the treasures of Svanetian culture, from prehistoric metalworking to fascinating medieval Christian art. In the afternoon we will visit the Mikhael Khergiani museum for an insight into the history of alpinism in Svaneti. In the evening we will drive to Ushguli, a UNESCO World Heritage site full of stunning defensive towers below the Shkhara (5,200m), the highest mountain in Georgia.
Day 9: From Ushguli we will have several options for morning hikes either to the Shkhara glacier or a nearby ridge, before making our way in the afternoon to villages of lower Svaneti via a rugged jeep track that winds under the slopes of Ailama (4,547 m) and through the village of Tsana. Overnight in guesthouse in the village of Mele.
Day 10: Transfer to Tbilisi (6 hours) or Kutaisi (3 hours). We leave at noon to drive back to Tbilisi. Those flying from Kutaisi can be dropped at the city center or airport as preferred (estimated time midday).
US $2100 per person
- Overnight in family guesthouse with beds (shared rooms)
- All meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner
- All transfers and services as detailed
- TCT team member guide & support driver / guide
- Items of personal nature e.g. phone calls
- Any visas
- International flights
- Tips to guesthouses and any other service
- Personal travel insurance
- Family guesthouses are simple and basic nature with shared bathroom facilities. Shared rooms maybe with more than two persons, with single beds.
- Meal requirements can be provided for, within reason considering the rural location
- Maximum group size 5
- Fitness – Inexperienced trekkers welcome if fit and accustomed to hill walking
- Tents and shared cooking equipment will be provided for 1 night of camping