Tour Dates: Tuesday 9th – Wednesday 17th April 2024 (Tbilisi to Tbilisi)
Tour Price: £1,899pp plus flight
Estimated Flight Price: London to Tbilisi approx. £500 return
Deposit: £500 per person
Conservation Donation from Wise Birding: £100 – £150
Minimum Number: 6 people
Maximum Group Size: 7 people

Target Mammals: Lynx, Brown Bear, Wolf, Golden Jackal, East Caucasian Tur and possibilities for Jungle Cat too.
Birds: Caucasian Snowcock, Caucasian Black Grouse, Bearded Vulture, Great Rosefinch and Güldenstädt’s Redstart.

Tour Summary This new mammal focused holiday in Georgia where we will visit two very different parts of Georgia.
We will spend much of our time out very early morning and late evening to maximise our chances of success in seeing some of the toughest European mammals. The Eurasian Lynx is probably one of the toughest of all European mammals to see, but in the last few years Georgia’s Greater Caucasus Mountains have become quite a hotspot for sightings. In fact, as recently as April 2022 during one of Wise Birding’s Birding Tours to Georgia we had some fabulous views of Lynx! We have chosen early Spring because this is the key breeding period for Lynx when animals tend to be more active and it is also a great time to see Wolf and Bear too.

ACCOMMODATION: 8 nights in Georgia (4 nights in Kazbegi and 3 nights in Vashlovani NP area & 1 night Tbilisi)
Type: Medium quality hotels
Meals: Full board

DAY 1: Arrival Tbilisi
Most flights arrive into Tbilisi during the early morning, so we will have time for some coffee and breakfast and then make our journey north into the beautiful snow covered Caucasus Mountains. The journey time will be around 3 hours, depending on traffic around the city. Therefore we hope to arrive at our very comfortable family run hotel in time for lunch. We will then spend the afternoon watching from viewpoints to try and find our first mammals of the tour! Overnight Kazbegi

Gergetti Monastery in the dramatic Caucasus Mountains by Chris Townend

DAYS 2 – 4: Kazbegi Mountains
The Caucasus Mountains are simply stunning and our hotel is perfectly placed for both the scenery and the mammals. In the early Spring, our local guide has seen both Wolf and Lynx from the hotel car park!
We will spend each morning and evening scanning from specific viewpoints that give us a great panoramic view of the mountains and we will simply keep scanning the areas that we know our target species favour. During the quieter times of days for mammals, we may spend some time looking for speciality birds like the Great Rosefinch and Caucasians Grouse, but when it comes to the best times of day for mammals, we will ensure we are in position ready for another mammal scanning session. Whilst scanning for the rarer mammals species we are sure to see groups of the impressive East Caucasian Turs. Despite the snow being around at this time of year, it is not unusual to see Bears in April and Georgia has a very good population and so this will be another species we will be looking for whilst exploring the Kazbegi mountains. We have seen bears during both our birding tours during April, so we have a very good chance. Overnight Kazbegi

Days 5: Transfer to Vashlovani National Park
After a final morning of searching for Lynx, Bear and Wolf around Kazbegi, we will then make the long journey South East to Vashlovani National Park. The habitat in this part of Georgia is very different to the mountains of Kazbegi and it is more arid Stepe and mountains. Here we have chances for similar species as in Kazbegi, but we also have chances for new species like Golden Jackal and Jungle Cat. This area is far less visited and therefore an exciting chance to look for mammals in an area which is not particularly well explored by mammal watchers. Overnight near Dedoplistskharo

Male Great Rosefinch by Chris Townend

DAYS 6 – 7: Vashlovani NP and Chachuna Managed Reserve
Vashlovani National Park is located in the eastern part of Georgia, established in 1935 to preserve its unique forest habitat. The area has a very dry climate being only 150–50 meters above sea level. Chachuna Managed Reserve along with Iori Managed Reserve and Korugi Managed Reserve protects Iori river valley in Georgia from upstream to the border with Azerbaijan. It has a varied landscape combing floodplains and wetlands with arid and semi-arid landscapes. We will spend two days exploring these wild and relatively unexplored habitats for mammals. Our local guide has good contacts with the local researchers and rangers in this area and they will guide us to the best areas to search for mammals. We will also spend time out at night to increase our chances of connecting with the tougher species.  Overnight near Dedoplistskharo
DAY 8: Vashlovani NP and Chachuna Managed Reserve – Tbilisi
We will spend a final full morning exploring the areas that give us the best chance of connecting with mammals before taking the journey north to Tbilisi. The journey time is only around 3 hours and we will check into our Tbilisi hotel where we will enjoy an evading meal before our early flight the next morning.

DAY 9: Transfer to Tbilisi Airport
We will take an early morning transfer to the airport where the tour concludes.

Please note this is a flexible itinerary which may need to be adjusted slightly dependent on arrival / departure times, weather conditions and the most recent information from our local guides

Leaders: Wise Birding leader and local bird guide
Included in cost: All accommodation, all meals, ground transport incl. 4×4 where required, entrance fees and services of leaders
Not included in cost: International airfare, travel insurance, drinks other than water and any airport/visa fees
Accommodation: Clean and comfortable hotels in ensuite rooms
Single Supplement: £250
Transport: Minibus throughout tour
Difficulty: Moderate The majority of wildlife watching is done in close proximity to our vehicle, but there will be some short walks on steep mountain terrain to access vantage points.
Note: Snow in areas will make some walking more difficult.
Climate: Varied with cold temperatures (snow is expected) in the mountains. 
Tour Start Point: Shota Rustaveli Tbilisi airport, Georgia
Tour End Point: Shota Rustaveli Tbilisi airport, Georgia
Suggested Airlines: Lufthansa via Munich

Jungle Cat by Chris Townend