Explore The Alien World
Hello friends. Hope you are all doing well. I would like to share with you all a really amazing place in Georgia. This place is actually known for its rafting and some amazing natural beauty that it offers. The Vashlovani Protected Areas is located at a distance of 130 kilometers from Tbilisi and about 500 kilometers from Batumi. This place is accessible through minivans also known as mashruthkas in local language. These minivans will depart from the prominent bus stations in Georgia such as the Didube Bus Station, Orthachala Bus Station and Vukzali Bus Station. You can even find these mashruthkas from other important cities like Kutaisi, Gori, Bakuriani, Borjomi, etc.
Vashlovani State Natural Reserve is a natural reserve located in the eastern part of Georgia. It was first established in 1935 to preserve the unique forests which are found in this region. In the later part of the 20th century the area enclosed by the natural reserve was increased to 8480 hectares. The region experiences a dry climate located just at an altitude of 50 to 150 meters above sea level. The national park is famous for its unique landscape. It has an amazing landscape of desert and semi-desert steppe vegetation and deciduous forests. The Vashlovani Protected Areas is the home to the famous "Sharp Walls" which denotes the beautiful cliffs of the canyons. There are also some unique trees that grows very well in this region, they also include pistachio and juniper trees. There are some animals which are distinct to this region unlike other regions in Georgia. Animals found in this area include Leopards, Striped Hyena, Brown Bear, Wolf, Lynx, Wild Boar. There are also some rare species of birds that are found in this region which includes vulture of different varieties such as griffon vulture, black vulture, Egyptian vulture, little bastard and the rare black stork. There is an important river flowing through the Vashlovani Protected Areas which is called as Alazani that runs along the eastern part of the National Park. This water source offers tourists to go for an amazing boating. There are also different trails to explore this area which I will mention below.
The first route that is offered to the tourist to explore the region is called as Takhti Tefa. The total length of the route is 450 kilometers out of which 3 kilometers is covered on foot. The entire time required to complete the trail will be about a day. You have to leave from Tbilisi early in the morning generally in minivan or your personal vehicle. The route for this region lies through the Kakheti region where you would finally get down at Vashlovani. The route begins from the town's administrative centre. Here the tourists would be briefed about the territory of the park and the safety measures to follow. Next the visitors of the place should pass through the registration control. After this you may get a chance to see some of the following places such as Takhti Tefa mud volcanoes which a prominent thing to see in this area. This amazing natural structure is not located within the territory of the park but its located near the Dali mountain. This amazing natural structure is well known for its therapeutic property and it also gives you a feeling that you are somewhere in a foreign planet. Dali reservoir is another thing which attracts you with its amazing natural beauty. There can also be seen ruins of an old fortress called Khornabuji Fortress. This concludes the trail where you can spend some time and turn back once you are exhausted.
This route also takes about 1 day to complete during which you would travel a distance of 590 kilometres out of which 6 kilometers will be covered by food. You should leave from Tbilisi in the morning to reach Vashlovani early. Just like above you will first have to reach the town's administrative centre where you will be informed about the safety measures. Then you should pass through the registration control. Then you will pass through a salt water lake called Kochebi to reach Minjis Kure which is an awesome spot for fishing. The visitors can even spend their time fishing in the large Alazani river. From here you will travel to Dedoplistskharo where you will find an open air cage for gazelles. This is built on the Moedani area in this protected area. After having some fun here you may return back to Tbilisi.
This route is called as Eagle Canyon Trail which takes about one day to complete. The entire trail covers about 350 kilometres out of which 6 kilometres you will travel on foot. You should depart from Tbilisi in the morning to reach Vashlovani early. You will be first visiting the ancient fortress of Khornabuji which is a big fortified city during the 3rd and 4th centuries as I said above. Now it's time to reach the administrative centre of the town to get a briefing about the territory, safety measures and to pass the registration control. You will now follow a foot path that leads to the western slope of the valley where you can have an amazing view of the entire Vashlovani Protected Areas. At a distance you can see griffon vultures. Eagle's canyon is well known for the different kinds of birds found there. You will also get a special binocular to have a look at the birds. After having a look at all these lovely birds you can return back to Tbilisi.
This route is called as the Vashlovani route and it would take two days to complete the trail. The total length of the route is 550 kilometres out of which 5 kilometres will be covered on foot. The first you will have to depart from Tbilisi early in the morning to reach Vashlovani in time. Just like the above cases you will start from the administration centre doing all the necessary formalities. In this trail you can see the Takhti tefa mud volcanoes which is situated near the Dali Mountains which does not lies within the territory of the area. After this you can visit the Dali reservoir and the ancient fortress of Khornabuji. You may enjoy your day in the open air and at the end of the day you must return back to the bungalows near the visitor's center to stay for the night. The next morning after having breakfast you will depart from the bungalow and leave to visit the Datvikhevi Gorge. Here you can gaze at the natures beauty and have some fun with your friends in the open air. In this place you can see some sea shells embedded in the mountain rocks which supports the fact that the place was submerged in sea during the ancient times. There are also some hardened elephant bones that existed millions of years ago. If you are lucky enough you can come across the trails of bear, wolf, wild pig and lynx. After spending some time here you can visit the Pantishara gorge enjoy a scenic beauty again followed by a visit to Saint Elia Church. After a spiritual ending you can return back to Tbilisi.
This route is quite amazing as this is a rafting route along the Alazani river. Visitors have to leave Tbilisi in the morning to reach Vashlovani. In the Administrative Centre you will be briefed just like the above cases and you should pass through the registration control. You will first pass through the Saint Elia Mountain followed by the salt water lake called Kochora through the Shikara valley down to Alazani valley. You will move to Sabatlo village and rafting starts from the Alazani river. You can see some beautiful meadows during rafting which ends in a picnic area and parkground. The travelers continue the route by car and finally reach Dedoplistkaro through the Takhistskali river. The entire route for the trail is one and half days and the entire length is about 200 kilometers. This route will be more thrilling than the others however it is advisable to try all the routes.
There are some special conditions for the visitors who visit the Vashlovani Protected areas. The most important things I've mentioned here.
- You can visit the protected areas only in groups. The minimum number of people per group is six and the maximum number is twelve.
- During your visit you are prohibited to carry with you any weapons that may cause harm to other people or animals.
- It is strictly prohibited to collect plants, rock materials or other fossils from the area.
- You are prohibited to cause any kind of harm to any animals within the reserve area.
- You should not climb trees, rocks, caves or stand at the edge of gorges during your trip.
- You are prohibited to light fire except in the places especially alotted for them.
- During your visit to Vashlovani Protected Areas you are supposed to carry your passport or other ID cards with you.
- You are advice to dress in way that is suitable for high regions with a hat, boot and raincoat.
- It will take up to 2 hours to reach Vashlovani Protected Areas from Tbilisi by car.
This place is really awesome and a must view place to visit in Georgia. I will assure you that you will gain a remarkable experience that you can't never forget in your life. Please feel free to mention your comments and suggestions below. Thanks for reading and till I write my next article about something interesting keep smiling and cheers!