Georgia has rich and diverse geo-botanical location in Caucasus. Its contrasting natural conditions leading to an extremely high degree of divergence of plant communities within a comparatively small area. The landscape of the country ranges from desert and semi-desert vegetation to luxuriant Colchic forests of moist, subtropical climate and shigh-mountain plant communities. Considerable differences both in altitude and between the climates of East and West Georgia have blessed the country with a huge variety of plant life. All this is thanks to Black sea and GrateCaucasusRange. These two determine the climate and thus the floral carpet of Georgia. Black sea giving the abundance of moisture and CaucasusRange acting as a barrier from cold air masses of the north. The flora of the country includes about 4200 species of wild-flowering plant species, and over 8500 species of spore-bearing ones. The history of flora and especially the vegetation of Georgia is very ancient, with the earliest records of fossil flora dating from the Palaeozoic era. The best time for this tour is June – July
Day 1: Departure for Tbilisi Day 2: Tbilisi Tbilisi sightseeing tour. Day 3: Tbilisi – Gudauri We drive to Gudauri ski resort along the Georgian Military Highway. After checking in at the hotel we walk for 2-3 hours around CrossPass (2395 m) to see the plants grown in the area. Overnight in the hotel. Plants to see: Rhododendron luteum, Salix kazbekensis, Pyrethrum carneum, Polygonum carneum, Campanula ssp. Geranium ssp. Fritillaria lateriflora (in fruit), F. lutea (in fruit), Silene pygmea, Linum hypericifolium, Inula orientalis, Primula ssp. Day 4: Gudauri – Kazbegi – Gudauri Drive to the town of Kazbegi and then walk for 1.5 hour through beautiful valleys and woodlands to GergetiTrinityChurch located at 2170. Weather permitting you may catch a glimpse of one of the highest glaciers in the Caucasus – Mt.Kazbegi (5047m). Afterwards travel in Dariali gorge. Overnight in Gudauri. Plants to see: Primula algida, Swertia iberica, Daphne glomerata, Macrotomia echioides,Pulsatilla violacea (in fruit), Gentiana angulosa, G. jimilensis, Gentianella caucasea, Minuartia ssp., Vacinium vitis-idea, Betula raddeana Day 5: Gudauri – Truso Gorge – Gudauri We drive by minibuses along Tergi river through Truso gorge and then start our pleasant walk. We see beautiful alpine slopes, ancient towers and remote villages, inhabited only by a couple of families. Picnic lunch by the tiny blue lake. In the evening we return to Gudauri. Plants to see: Saxifraga cartilaginea, Saxifraga juniperifolia, Draba bryoides, Silene pygmaea, S. linariifolia, Linaria meyeri, Heracleum sosnowskyi, Campanula darialica, Campanula paradoxa, Juniperus ssp, Silene lacera. Day 6: Gudauri – Kutaisi In the morning we walk for 2-3 hours around Gudauri and then depart for Kutaisi (6 hours). Overnight in Kutaisi. Day 7: Kutaisi – Ushguli A 2-hour drive will bring us to Zugdidi where we change transport to continue to Svaneti – the region of the highest mountains. The drive to Ushguli is long (8 hours), but spectacular. We arrive in Ushguli (2200m) – the highest village in Europe and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Overnight in a family guesthouse. Day 8: Ushgili – ZagaroPass – Ushguli We drive to Zagaro pass (2600m) and then start our walk in the beautiful nature to observe different plants. Plants to see: Impatiens noli-tangere, Geum rivale, Lilium szovitsianum, Corydalis marshalliana, Paeonia steveniana, Pinus sosnowskyi,Alnus barbata, Acer ssp., Gadellia lactiflora, Campanula ssp., Betonica macrantha, Geranium ssp., Rhododendron caucasicum, Vaccinium myrtillus, Primula ssp., Delphinium flexuosum, Aconitum nasutum, A. orientale, Grossheimia macrocephala, Centaurea fisherii, Scabiosa caucasica, Gentiana ssp.,Aethyopappus pulcherimus, Dianthus crinitus, Sedum tenellum, Tripleurospermum transcaucasicum, Senecio ssp.
Day 9: Ushguli – Mestia Early in the morning we walk towards Shkhara Glacier (3-4 hours) and then depart for Mestia. Overnight in Mestia in a family guesthouse. Day 10: Mestia – Tbilisi In the morning we drive back to Tbilisi (10 hours). Overnight in the hotel. Day 11: Departure
May – June is the best time to see certain unique plants in the following areas:
Lagodekhi Natural Reserve near Telavi: full day tour or a 2-3 day tour with overnights in tents Hedera pastuchowii, Primula juliae, Gentiane lagodechiana, Galanthus lagodechiana
David Gareja semi-desert near Tbilisi: full day tour Iris iberica, Salvia garedji, Juno caucasica, Tulipe eichleri , Halimodendron halodendron.
Note: Prices include: - Inland transportation - Guide assistance at the airport (arrival, departure) - Excursions & entrance fees - Accommodation according to the program - Meals / full board - Visa support letter - mineral water(unlimited) - Alcohol drinks - wine (limited)