Guest post by: Anya Sapharova

Mountains mesmerize. Mountains make you stronger. Mountains are irreplaceable. Georgia’s natural treasure in the face of Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park represents a big portion of protected territories in the country.

The area is under government’s protection and the administrative center altogether with guides, tour operators, and rangers create all conditions for those whose choice falls upon extreme camping in the woods. If you plan going to Borjomi-Kharagauli Park you had better be prepared both physically and mentally as long as you have to walk a lot and in some places – no exaggerating, you are just climbing up the mountain, like a hobbit but, please, don’t get scared as long as this is just a warning!

Before going to Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park it is better to plan your trip thoughtfully.

Borjomi

Borjomi

It is highly recommended to spend a night or two in the city of Borjomi in order to look for attractions and drink mineral medicinal water. Analyze what the weather is going to be and only then think of spending a night or two in the Park itself. If the forecast shows rainy weather it is better to postpone camping plans as soil is really slippery in some places and you will find yourself in a problematic and unpleasant situations , like, soaking in mud or even landslide can ruin the spirit of camping if the rain paralyzes you.

Let’s get closer to the camping itself.

First of all you have to go the Administrative Center which is 1 km away from the city of Borjomi. You don’t pay for entrance but don’t forget to bring your passport as you have to leave it there. Administrators will ask for your contact number and the number of nights you are going to spend there. In case you do not come back on the exact date, they will start looking for you in the forest. After you register there and take the special paper which can be checked by rangers in the Park later, you can choose the route and the places you would like to see in there. You can take up the 15 km route to Lomis Mta (The Lion’s Mountain) or Chitakhevi Shelter. You will be told by a nice administrator at the Tourist Center how to get to the destination, so, no worries, it is impossible to get lost in Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park. You can either rent a tent and sleeping bags or pay the rent for the cottages situated high in the mountains. Both options are nice and it is up to the preference of the hikers what to take up.

Before your journey begins keep in mind that the route starts in Likani settlement. It is 5 km away from the Administrative Center. The route to Lomis Mta is 15 km and to Chitakhevi Settlement 12 km. You can catch taxi to get to the entrance of the park that may cost about 7 GEL.

Borjomula river

Borjomula river

So, the journey begins with the path that goes straight into the gorge. The road looks amazing as you are right at the mountain foot with the cool river on your left. This place is a real paradise for eco-tourism lovers. It is possible to see a deer or extraordinary birds on your way. Mostly you are going up high into the mountain and have to reach its top and only then your real journey begins.

The main thing to remember – don’t take heavy bags. It is more advisable to take really light backpacks with several liters of water. Good thing is that you can go up to the camping sights on horses, just inform the administrators about your choice one day earlier.

On your way pay attention to Alpine meadows, colorful flowers and myriads of butterflies – they are everywhere like in Disney cartoons!

When you get to your destination it might already be dusk. Lots of novices get scared by the wood thickness and mist density but there is nothing to be afraid of – the place is absolutely safe even though sometimes you may hear wolves howling at night. It is also recommended to buy a map at the Tourist Center so that you have an idea which direction you are going to.

Another option to roam through the National Park is to take up another route. All in all there are 9 paths. Lomis Mta – the tourist destination mentioned earlier counts as the first path. You climb to the altitude of 2198 meters. Pictures taken from there are picturesque and really unique – most people have seen those views just in wild nature documentaries or on the postcards.

There are one-day routes that do not require additional fees. It is route number 6. Some claim, it is difficult indeed while others prefer it to others as it is not that steep and difficult. The route runs from Likani settlement to Kvabiskhevi settlement and is 13 km long. If you do not plan staying overnight in the park it is recommended to take up the route number 6.

Those, who are short of time, can take up the symbolic route number 7 that is just 3 km long. It starts near the office and ends there as well.

Hiking in Borjomi (Georgia)

No matter which route you take up you will be astonished by Georgia’s pristine forests, crystal clear springs, abundance of flora and fauna, interesting routes, mighty mountains, and clean air.

Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park is an amazing place that people like to explore all year long. It is no just summer season that may interest tourists. The Park strikes with its beauty throughout the year and is famous for its seasonal tours. It is absolutely safe to travel there alone but it is a great place to spend some days with your family or friends.

In summer the temperature may go up to 30 degrees above Celsius but stay vigilant – it drops to 10 degrees as night covers the sky. Try to pack your bag wisely and this will help you to enjoy every single minute spent in the Park in peace and unprecedented Georgian natural beauty.