Note: The information presented here is an abbreviated version of our formal General Information for this tour. Its purpose is solely to give readers a sense of what might be involved if they take this tour. Although we do our best to make sure what follows here is completely accurate, it should not be used as a replacement for the formal document which will be sent to all tour registrants, and whose contents supersedes any information contained here.
ENTERING GEORGIA: US Citizens need a passport valid on the date of arrival and containing at least one blank page for an entry stamp. A visa is not required for stays of 90 days or fewer.
Citizens of other countries may need a visa and should check their Georgian embassy.
COUNTRY INFORMATION: You can review the U.S. Department of State Country Specific Travel Information for Georgia at http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/country/georgia.html, and the CIA World Factbook background notes on Georgia at https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/gg.html .
PACE OF TOUR: This tour may require some physical effort and participants should have a reasonable degree of fitness and be prepared for some occasional discomfort. As we spend half of the tour in a mountainous region, some uphill walking is inevitable. How much we need to do will depend a lot on the weather conditions and the snow line and the effect that has on the birds we are looking for. None of the walks are in any way dangerous but we may find ourselves looking out across dramatic vistas from a great height. Some participants might find a lightweight, collapsible walking stick useful.
We could find ourselves walking over snow at some point although this will usually be small patches - we do not expect to spend long periods trekking across snow fields, and this has not actually happened in the last four years. We will however, be crossing a small scree slope and spending time standing on grassy slopes. There will be no rush on any of our walks, and there will be plenty of time for breaks. We may reach altitudes of 2500-3000m (8000-10,000 feet), although around 2100m (7000 feet) is more usual.
Mornings in Kazbegi will start around 06:30, with coffee and optional early birding, followed by a sit-down breakfast around 09:00. Then we will go out birding for the day, taking a packed lunch with us. We are usually back at the hotel in plenty of time for some relaxation before dinner at 19:30 or 20:00. A similar situation will prevail in Chachuna, with the exception that we may take advantage of the hot temperatures to have a sit down lunch in the ranch we stay at. There are four moderately long drives drives on this tour, from Tbilisi to Kazbegi and back, then from Tbilisi to Chachuna and back. These drives are broken by either a picnic lunch or lunch in a café, and there will be several birding stops along the way. On the drive to Chachuna, the last 20 miles are along a track, from which the birding can be excellent.
Updated: 07 January 2016