This incredible horseback trek takes place in the Elbrus area far away from the touristic routes. We ride in some very deep canyon, on some long crest, over a high plateau from where we can admire the beautiful Elbrus. The landscapes are amazing opened, wild, mountainous with impressive cliffs and gorges. You have to be at ease at all paces and able to ride more than 8 hours in the saddle (we'll do ~7h in the saddle by day). The itinerary can be quite strenuous so a good riding level is compulsory.
This itinerary may change and is only given to give you an idea about this expedition. It often changes according to the mountains and weather conditions as well as the people we will meet or some new beautiful places we will discover. If you like the adventure
D1 : RUSSIA (4/9)
Pick up at the airport in Mineralnye Vody, Stavropol Kraï, Russia. Diner at a restaurant. Overnight in Nalchik in a hotel.
D2: NALSHIK-BALKAR VILLAGE
Visit of Nalchik. After lunch, visit of a handcraft workshop of north caucasian saddles and bridles according to the ancient traditions. Go to a Balkar village. Overnight in a family guesthouse.
D3 : HORSEBACK TREK : BALKAR VILLAGE- CAMP1
Start of the ride through the immensity of the northern Caucasus slopes on a majestic Kabardine horses. Theses horses are incredibly well trained and can cover more than 100km a day. They are quite tall but are very well balanced. They have a quick walk and a confortable gallop. Ride over the first mountains towards Elbrus. The relief is hilly which allows us to trot and gallop sometimes. By the evening we reach a Karbardin village. Arrival at the camp. Bivouac.
D4 : CAMP1-CAMP 2
Ride in the valley and then follow a crest reaching a high plateau (~3000m) in the afternoon. During the day, we may meet some shepherds. We trot and canter a bit. Bivouac.
D5 : CAMP 2 - SOMMER breeding camp
Ride down to the lower plateau and through gorges which lead us to the kabardine’s sommer camp. Bivouac at the horse summer camp.
D5 : CANYON
We ride in some impressive canyons. Bivouac at the breeding camp.
D7 : AROUND THE ELBROUZ
We start the day riding up. We reach a high plateau. The scenery today offers wild opened landscapes with the high summit background (peaks over 5000m). Trot and canter. We ride back to the same camp. Bivouac.
D8 : SOME CAVES
Visit some caves reachable only on foot / horseback. They are very wild and known only from the local shepherds. We take some small pathway carved in the mountains up and downs. In the evening, ride back to the summer camp. Bivouac.
D9 : SOMMER breeding camp - BALKAR VILLAGE
Ride down to the sinuous canyon which leads to the lowlands. Ride back to the first Balkar village and enjoy great hot showers… Overnight in a guesthouse.
D10 : BALKAR VILLAGE-VLADIKAVKAZ
Drive to Vladikavkaz where the atmosphere starts to slightly change from soviet to the colourful and energetic Tbilisi. Stroll around in Vladikavkaz, known before under Ordjonikidze, a strategic city. Overnight in a 3* stars hotel. Dinner in restaurant.
D11 : VLADIKAVKAZ-KAZBEG-ANANURI-TBILISI
Early wake up. Drive on the Darial gorge, the only and first passage through the Caucasus Mountain chain. It is a 212 km link. Drive through Kazbegi and Mount Kazbek. We can admire the Sameba monastery and if good condition the Kazbek summit. Then we continue to the Djvari pass. Drive by Gudauri ski resort and go to Ananuri fortress along the road Georgian Military Highway. Arrival to Tbilisi between 6 and 8 pm. Night in 3* hotel in the center of the old Tbilisi. Georgian dinner.
D12 : TBILISI
Free time in Tbilisi until the end of the afternoon. Free lunch.
Museums, galleries, cobbled streets, markets, exhibitions, churches… You can also book a thermal bath and enjoy the peeling and massages. In the evening we have a last dinner together. Overnight in the hotel.
D13 : Return
Transfer to the Tbilisi airport.
- Full board except the free meals (lunch D1, D12)
- Transportation in the itinerary.
- Accommodation: 2 nights in a 3* hotel in Russia (Nalshik and Vladikavkaz), 2 nights in a family guesthouse in Russia, 2 nights in 3* hotel in Tbilisi, camp (tent) all the trek (no comfort, no electricity, no running water).
- Single room extra charge of 60 euros / night, possible in hotel only. Lunch is often a picnic.
- Entrance fees in the program. (except during free time)
- French, English and German speaking guide.
- Airline ticket.
- Russian Visa
- Russian invitation (for visa) : 20 euros
- Airport transportation fee in Russia: The riders have to wait for at least 4 riders to be picked up at the airport. If less, they will be an additional fee as following:
a. 3 persons + 20 euros per person
b. 2 persons + 30 euros per person
c. 1 person + 60 euros per person
- Full Insurances.
- Alcoholic beverage in restaurant.