Note: The information presented here is an abbreviated version of our formal General Information for Tours to Georgia: The High Caucasus. 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 on blank page. A visa is not required for stays of less than 360 days.
Citizens of other countries may need a visa and should check with their Georgian embassy or consulate.
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 Guyana at https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/gg.html .
PACE OF TOUR: This tour will require some physical effort and participants should have a reasonable degree of fitness and be prepared for some occasional discomfort. As we spend most of the tour in a mountainous region, some uphill walking is inevitable. How much we need to do depend on the weather conditions and/or 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 metal walking pole useful.
We can expect to walk over snow at some point although this will usually be small patches - we do not expect to spend long periods trekking across snow fields. On all walks there will be no rush and there will be plenty of time for breaks.
HEALTH: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all travelers be up to date on routine vaccinations. These include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot.
They further recommend that most travelers have protection against Hepatitis A.
Please contact your doctor well in advance of your tour’s departure as some medications must be initiated weeks before the period of possible exposure.
The most current information about travelers’ health recommendations for Georgia can be found on the CDC’s Travel Health website at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/georgia .
Altitude: We may reach altitudes of 9-10,000 feet. The accommodation at Kazbegi is around 6,500 feet.
Miscellaneous: Tap water is basically safe to drink but to be safe drink bottled water, which along with soft drinks and beer, is widely available. Upset stomachs are possible in Georgia, although unlikely. We suggest bringing anti-diarrhoea medicine such as Imodium or Arret. Make sure you bring a good sun-screen and also sunglasses to protect you not only from the sun but also from possible snow glare.
Smoking: Smoking is prohibited in the vehicles or when the group is gathered for meals, checklists, etc. If you are sharing a room with a non-smoker, please do not smoke in the room. If you smoke in the field, do so well away and downwind from the group. If any location where the group is gathered has a stricter policy than the WINGS policy, that stricter policy will prevail.
Note: Smoking is an extremely common habit in Georgia and we are sure to find ourselves on some occasions in the presence of local people who will be smoking. A dislike of smoking is sometimes regarded as a western affectation.
Food Allergies / Requirements: We cannot guarantee that all food allergies can be accommodated at every destination. Participants with significant food allergies or special dietary requirements should bring appropriate foods with them for those times when their needs cannot be met. Announced meal times are always approximate depending on how the day unfolds. Participants who need to eat according to a fixed schedule should bring supplemental food. Please contact the WINGS office if you have any questions.
ACCOMMODATION: In Kazbegi we will be staying in a modern new hotel. Each room has its own facilities including a bathroom, and the hotel is kept very warm. In Tbilisi we stay in a modern hotel. At Chachuna we stay in some cottages which have en suite facilities for each room. However please note that the electricity here is from a generator and is not available all the time.
Note that if we have a large number of singles on this tour, single accommodation may not be possible.
CLIMATE: The first part of the tour is spent at Kazbegi in the mountains. Here we can expect some snow, low cloud and possibly rain at times, so you need to take suitable clothing such as waterproof jackets, woolly hats and gloves. When we leave Kazbegi we travel to the south-east corner of Georgia and will experience an improvement in the weather; and can expect much warmer temperatures and possibly strong sun.
FOOD: The food of Georgia is similar to that of Turkey and although meat does feature in most main meals, these are usually served with a variety of vegetable dishes. The hotel at Kazbegi makes an effort at providing vegetarian meals and these are usually good, although simple. In Tblisi we visit a traditional Georgian restaurant. Here there will be an opportunity to sample the famous Georgian wines.
Drinks: Bottled water, a soft drink or a beer will be provided at lunch and dinner and bottld water will be available on our vehicle during the day. Bottled water for use in your room at night is the responsibility of the individual tour participants.
TRANSPORT: Transportation is in four-wheel drive vehicles. There are a few long drives to and from Kazbegi but these are broken by stops for birdwatching. Participants should be able to ride in any seat in our vehicles and we will try to rotate the seating each day.
Updated: September 2014