Kayak trip to Georgia

In May 2016 we are organizing kayak trip to one of the most unique countries on Earth – land of endless wonders, unspoiled by modern tourism and still retaining its authentic character – Georgia. It lies at the Eastern end of the Black Sea, with Turkey and Armenia to the South, Azerbaijan to the East, and Russia to the North. It is a mountainous country, the northern border of which passes along the Big Caucasian ridge, and Southern border — across Small Caucasus Mountains. The country’s history is a long list of rises and downfalls of empires, intrusions of external enemies, violence and wars. But at the same time Georgia has a huge cultural heritage and enormous potential for kayakers.

Adventure:

This is going to be 2 weeks long adventure to some of the best rivers of Caucasus Mountains. This trip is not going to be only a kayak adventure; Georgia has so many unique and spectacular things to offer that we will also get to see the historical and cultural side of this amazing country. There is something about this land that makes you feel as if time has stood still. The people of Georgia are a race apart – the pace of life is different there, they have their own language and traditions, their own architectural styles and amazing legends about their land and nature. Georgia claims to be the birthplace of wine, and this is a place where guests are considered blessings and hospitality is the very stuff of life.

Rivers:
Our trip will take place in 3 different regions of Georgia:

Javakheti:

Javakheti is the first region of our trip – a land of forested mountains and steep river valleys, gushing rivers and clear lakes. The region is dotted with castles and fortresses from different periods – a legacy of frequent invasions thanks to its geographic location – but the jewel in the crown of this fascinating region is surely the cave town of Vardzia. Vardzia is a huge cave complex that once consisted of some 3000 caves and could house around 50,000 people. It was built during the reign of Queen Tamar in 12th century. Vardzia is a place of wonders – artfully carved caves connected by long tunnels, all   hewn by hand over 800 years ago.

Paravani river – the first river in our list. Steep and continues class IV whitewater. Paddling section is about 10km with about 20 cumecs of volume.

Mtkvari river – the main river of Georgia. This river used to be one of the most visited rivers in Soviet Union times. Great paddling section starts from town of Vardzia. Big volume class III in spectacular canyon. The take-out is right at the confluence of the Mtkvari and Paravani rivers where Khertvisi Fortress (10th century) stands. This fortress had a vital role in the defense of the region since it stands above the confluence of two main rivers or the region. Yet today the fortress still stands defiantly on its rocky promontory with its towers and secret tunnels and is now rather more welcoming of visitors.

Lower Svaneti:

Svaneti is a landscape of high snow-capped peaks, forested hills and spectacular valleys. Winding roads lead to hidden villages dotted with mediaeval watchtowers. The highest peaks of the Greater Caucasus tower at over 4000m, breath-taking views, pristine mountains, deep gorges, gushing rivers.

Rioni river – legendary river of Georgia. There are many different sections on Rioni river from class II to class V sections. The most interesting part of the river is the upper gorge which is about 15km long section with steep and continues whitewater.

Tskhenistskhali river – another great big volume (50-60 cumecs) river in this region. 15km long canyon with lots of class IV+ V+ rapids.

Kheledura river – right tributary of Tskhenistskhali river. Short section (about 7km) but steep and continues whitewater class IV with about 20-25 cumecs of volume.

Upper Svaneti:

Upper Svaneti is a UNESCO World Heritage Site!

Mestia is the administrative centre of Svaneti and a good place to become acquainted with the unique culture of the region. One of the typical Svanetian watchtower houses is open to the public, while the Museum of History & Ethnography has an excellent exhibition on Svanetian life as well as a superb treasury of mediaeval icons and processional crosses.

Ushguli – built at an astonishing 2400m above sea-level, Ushguli is the highest permanent settlement in Europe and one of the most scenic spots in Georgia. The village’s many mediaeval watchtowers are set against a background of alpine meadows, above which the great peak of Mt. Shkhara towers at a height of 5068m – the highest in Georgia. The 12th century Lamaria church set against the backdrop of this snow-capped giant is a sight you will remember for the rest of your life.

Mestiachala and Tsaneri rivers – two small rivers flowing through Mestia. Beautiful canyons and continues class II-IV whitewater.

Mulkhura river – right tributary of Inguri river starting from the confluence of Mestiachala and Tsaneri rivers. One of the most interesting rivers for kayaking in the region. The river cuts two very deep canyons and creates great section of class III-V whitewater; the section is about 12km long and requires some rope work and difficult scouting.

Inguri river – the most powerful river in Georgia; this river might be the most difficult river in whole Caucasus Mountains. There are many different sections on Inguri river from whitewater class II up to whitewater class VI++ for adrenaline maniacs. There are many sections to explore and all of them are hidden in very deep and spectacular canyons. There are many places for real whitewater heroes, because the lower part of the river has never been done before…

Nenskra river – the right tributary of Inguri river. Probably one of the most beautiful rivers of Svaneti region. There are 2 interesting sections with lots of class IV – IV+ rapids.

Difficulty:
Difficulty of whole trip is class IV+. But keep in mind that we are going there in the end of May when water level starts to rise. Anyway there are many other options what to paddle if the rivers from our list will be too high and too difficult.

Requirements to participants:
Great eskimo-roll and whitewater experience of class IV+ and higher.

Logistic:
– Meeting at the Tbilisi airport in Georgia.

– Driving/paddling/camping/swimming/singing/making BBQ/having fun on the river.

– Flying home from Tbilisi airport.

Equipment:
You have to come with your own paddling gear + kayak and paddles as well as your own camping gear.

Camp equipment:
We will cook on the gas stoves and sleep in the tents. There are many cheap campgrounds and hostels and small local restaurants in Georgia and sometimes we will use this options too.

Dates:

  • 30th of April – 9th of May 2016
    *Take an account that first and last days are arrival and departure days.

Team:
The group will consist of 5 people + 1 guide. Maximum amount of groups 2. We don’t know at the moment who will come on this trip, but 100% this will be super international group of people which makes this trip even more interesting.

Price:
will be confirmed…

The price includes:

  • transfer from the airport to the river and back
  • transfers during 14 days
  • guide and safety kayaker on the river
  • trip organization
  • meals during the trip
  • camping equipment (tarps, cooking pots, stoves)
  • camping fees
  • permit to the border zone

Price does not include – air fare(flight), medical insurance, alcoholic beverages during the trips

Visa:
No visa required

Weather:
In West Georgia the dominant subtropical climate features high humidity and heavy precipitation, while East Georgia has a more continental and drier climate. The alpine zone begins at about 2,100 meters; above 3,600 meters snow and ice are present year-round. The average summer temperature is around +22 +24.

See all photos