Long distance car route
DEDOPLISTSKARO – PATARA KVABEBI – KILAKUPRA – TAKHTI-TEPHA – DALI RESERVOIR – TARIBANA – VASHLOVANI NAT. PARK – DEDOPLISTSKARO
LENGTH: 112-190 KM. DURATION: 1-2 DAY
DIFFICULTY: MEDIUM. OFF-ROAD VEHICLE IS NEEDED!
This car route passes several border areas: Chatma, Kesamani and Pantishara sectors. To pass these areas, travelers will have to get special permits through the simple registration in – Vashlovani Visitor Centre (Add: Dedoplistskaro, #5 Baratashvili St; Mob: +995 577 10 18 49). It’s necessary to provide identification documents and vehicle licence. Permits and registration are free of charge (It’s also possible to rent equipments and a vehicle in here, if needed).
Route includes the southern part of Dedoplistskaro Municipality and its main advantage is its unusual and very distinguish landscapes, which are fully occupied with steppes, semi-deserts, badlands and arid light forest. Kilakupra and Takhti-tepha mud volcanoes makes special impression on visitors.
Day 1: The route starts in the center of Dedoplistskaro and in the begining goes along the way to Tbilisi, then turns to the left at village Tavtskaro. From here the landscape is slowly changing and the environment gets drier climate characteristics. The first sight is Patara Kvabebi, which was the caved monastery and a part of David-Gareji Monastery complex (VI-XVI cc). From here the route continues toward the river Lori, goes over the bridge and you will get in the Iory Floodplains. The dense shrubs, huge asp trees stand there and are always impressive to see, especially in spring, when the river is full of lots of birds. From here, the route goes to Kilakupra (Notice: Before visiting Kilakupra, visitors have to pass its turn and arrive at Chatmi border point, approx. in 2 km, where border-guards will check permits). Kilakupra is a strange hill on Khajari Valley, with plenty of mud volcano craters. From here one can see an extensive valley, where was a salty lake. After Kilakupra, the route goes to Takhti-tepha Natural Monument, which is very outstanding and spectacular wide valley of mud craters, from where constantly coming out water, oil, mud and gas mixture. After Takhti-tepha, route goes towards the Dali Reservoir. Here is also Chachuna Reserve, which basically covers the Lori river floodplains and is characterized with wide variety of biodiversity. In case you are planning to do 1 day trip, than from Dali Reservoir, you can continue the way forward and on the cross-road, turn on the route to Dedoplistskaro. If you are going to continue the trip, than you can camp near the reservoir, or spend the night in a nearby hotel of the hunting farm. The Dali Reservoir attracts many bank birds and amateur fishing is available too.
Day 2: The route goes along the road to Dedoplistskaro and then turns to the right, in the direction of Taribana Valley. There were vineyards on these places and along the road there are still remaining vineyard wire spirals, so drivers should be more careful. Soon, the route comes to Taribana Badlands, where visitors can enjoy with panoramic views at the beauty, created by nature. From here the route heads to Pantishara. Before approaching, travelers will pass two more border posts and then arrive at Pantishara Gorge, which is one of the most visited parts of the Vashlovani National Park. Here, is also arranged a wonderful picnic place, where travelers can rest and have lunch. If desired, you can take 3 km. hiking trail too. This trail goes deeply to the Bear Ravine and ends at the place, where scientists discovered the fossil bones of the southern elephant, which lived here million years age. One can observe shellfish fossils too, which confirms that these places once were covered by the sea.
From the Pantishara, the road goes towards the Vashlovani Basin, at ranger station, from where, the rarest pistachio and juniper light forests are visible. Uniqueness of these areas was the main reason for founding the Vashlovani Natural Reserve. From here the route continues through Shiraki Valley, towards Dedoplistskaro.