Vashlovani National Park established in 1935 is a very beautiful and spectacular place however compared to other national parks like Kazbegi and Svaneti it is less visited and less popular. Being less popular definitely does not make it less attractive. There is lot to see and do in the national Park which is huge and has several parts. In one part there are the mud volcanoes of Takhti Tepa, there is Pantishara gorge with so called Swallows’ city and the wall of seashells, Samukhe Valley with awesome gazels and Mijniskure with very good views on so called “Alesilebi” mountains and Alazani river.
"Alesilebi" mountains in Vashlovani National Park
Mud volcanoes in Vashlovani National Park
Wall of seashells in Vashlovani National Park
Rangers' chair in Mijniskure
How to get to Vashlovani National Park.
It is important to note that Vashlovani National Park is not an easy place to reach. One wishing to see the park should first travel to the town of Dedoplistskaro. Dedoplistskaro itself is easy to reach and you can use the google maps to reach the town which is located in the region of Kakheti, slightly more than two hours drive from Tbilisi.
To visit Protected areas of Vashlovani people should consider several issues:
- Entry to the protected area is not free. One willing to enter should head to the administration of Vashlovani protected areas and pay 5 gel per person plus 5 gel for a car.
- Do not forget to have your passports with you. In order to enter the park entry permission from the border police is necessary. In order to get the permission either you should email passport copies to the park administration in advance and they will send it to the border police of Dedoplistskaro or when you get to the administration of the protected areas, they can scan your passport and they will send it to the border police. Without the entry permission you will be denied access to certain areas of the park. You will have to pick the permission up yourself and you will be given the location of the border police at the administration of the park or you can write border police in google maps and easily reach it.
- In one of the parts of the national park live Caucasus’ gazels or more easily to explain smaller versions of African antilopes. These gazels are very much afraid of cars and drones so it is forbidden either to chase them with a car or film them with a drone. These animals nearly became extinct so they are protected and guarded by the rangers.
- The area of the park is semi-arid so there are really few water sources therefore you should get lot of water with you because of the high temperatures.
- The best periods to visit the park are spring and autumn. In the summertime it is extremely hot in there and in the winter there are temporary sheep farms located in the park and the shepherd dogs scare gazels out therefore it is not so easy to spot them in the winter.
- You will need a big 4WD car for sure because the road conditions are very bad in the park.
One of our company's 4wd cars
Very important – our recommendation is to take a local guide or a driver who will lead your way inside the park owing to the fact that without a local guide or a driver you might miss important viewpoints or sites in the park because of the few signs on the roads. Google maps does not work inside the park so use either Osmand maps or maps.me – however even these ones do not guarantee the proper way. In case if you decide to hire a driver or a guide Travelist Georgia team will always be ready to assist and will organize a safe trip for you with a comofrtable 4wd car and an English speaking guide.
What to see and do in Vashlovani National Park.
As it has already been mentioned the national park has several parts. Mud volcanoes of Takhti Tepa are in the different direction and Pantishara gorge, Samukhe valley and Mijniskure are in the different part.
You should dedicate one day to the Mud volcanoes and sites in Dedoplistskaro and one day to the other part of the protected area. So in order to see the park and surrounding area as well you should stay in Dedoplistskaro at least for two nights.
Our recommendation is to start the tour with Pantishara gorge where you can find the swallows’ city and the wall of seashells. You should get there via the Shiraqi valley.
From Pantishara gorge you will get to Samukhe valley which is the habitat for Caucasus’ gazels and if you are lucky you will get to see the gazels. The views in Samukhe valley are awesome and it really looks like African Savanna. On one side you see the beautiful mountains and on the other side you see the vast valley. While being in Samukhe valley be attentive to spot the gazels because they will not approach you, so you should observe them from the far. Note that while being in Samukhe valley your documents will be checked several times so always have your passports and the entry permission with you.
Horses in Samukhe valley
The last destination after visiting Samukhe valley is Mijniskure. Note that if the day is rainy avoid visiting Mijniskure because it will be very difficult to make the way back owing to the terrain. Before getting to Mijniskure you will enjoy several viewpoints and after getting there you will be able to have a rest near the beautiful Alazani river and enjoy the views.
The way back from Mijniskure to Dedoplistkaro will take around two and a half hours. Visits to Pantishara gorge, Samukhe valley, Mijniskure and the way back will take from eight to nine hours.
While visiting Vashlovani National Park you should either stay in the cottages of the protected area deep inside the park which you can reserve at the administration of the protected area or you can stay at one of the guesthouses in Dedoplistskaro. Inside the town there are two places that we recommend. One is Teo’s cottages and the other one is Savanna guesthouse. Both of them are good but we do cooperate more with Savanna guesthouse so if it is not available go for Teo’s cottages.
P.S. We hope that the tips provided by us will be useful and you will enjoy the trip. In case you would like us to plan the trip, you can always email us at [email protected] or contact us via whatsapp, viber +995 593 250 111.