• TREK FROM SHATILI TO OMALO

    VIA ATSUNTA PASS

    A hiker climbs the shale switchback trail to Atsunta Pass on the Shatili Omalo trek, with the layered mountains of Khevsureti behind
  • SHATILI TO OMALO

    GEORGIA

    A hiker climbs the shale switchback trail to Atsunta Pass on the Shatili Omalo trek, with the layered mountains of Khevsureti behind

TREKKING FROM SHATILI TO OMALO VIA ATSUNTA PASS

The Shatili to Omalo trek is a 5 day hike in Georgia, connecting the regions of Khevsureti and Tusheti via the Atsunta Pass. It traverses remote mountain regions and passes through unique Tushetian villages, with historic sites and spectacular scenery along the way. Guesthouses are available in the villages, but to complete this trek you need to camp for a minimum of two nights.

In this guide we’ll cover everything you need to know about the Shatili to Omalo trek (or vice versa). This includes a detailed outline of the route with trekking distances and times, camping and accommodation options, packing lists, transport info, and more. We’ve also provided a map and our GPX track download to help you find your way.

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SHATILI TO OMALO TREK QUICK FACTS

            • Distance | 74 km
            • Duration | 5 days
            • Start/End | Shatili (Khevsureti) / Omalo (Tusheti) or vice versa
            • Min Elevation | 1400 m (Shatili)
            • Max Elevation | 3518 m (Atsunta Pass)
            • Total Ascent | 3889 m
            • Total Descent | 3178 m
            • Hiking Season | July – August (possibly mid-June to mid-September)
            • River Crossings | 3 x river crossings on Day 3 (potentially fast flowing
              with high water level)
            • Water Sources | Streams and Springs, Taps in Villages/Guesthouses
            • Other | Passport (or Georgian ID) Required for Border Control

SHATILI TO OMALO TREK QUICK FACTS

Distance
74 km

Duration
5 days

Start/End
Shatili (Khevsureti)/
Omalo (Tusheti)
or vice versa

Min Elevation
1400 m (Shatili)

Max Elevation
3518 m (Atsunta Pass)

Total Ascent
3889 m

Total Descent
3178 m

Hiking Season
July – August
(poss. mid-Jun to mid-Sept)

River Crossings
3 x river crossings on Day 3 (potentially fast flowing with high water level)

Water Sources
Streams and Springs
Taps in Guesthouses/Villages

Other
Passport (or Georgian ID)
Required for Border Control

 


WATCH OUR FILM

Watch the behind the scenes version of our Shatili to Omalo hike on Instagram stories

Watch the behind the scenes
version of our Shatili to Omalo
trek on Instagram stories 

SHATILI TO OMALO HIKING MAP

SHATILI TO OMALO

HIKING MAP

Use the map below to help guide you from Shatili to Omalo via the Atsunta Pass (or vice versa). Tap the menu button at the top left for more details, to toggle layers on and off, and switch between satellite and terrain view.

To use an offline version of this map, download our KML file for use with Maps.me (iOS/Android), or the GPX file for use with other offline mapping apps such as Gaia (iOS/Android) or OsmAnd Maps (iOS/Android). See the expandable box below for tips on using these apps. 


To save this map to use online on desktop or mobile just tap the star symbol at the top. When you open Google Maps on your phone, navigate to ‘Saved’ at the bottom, then swipe along to ‘Maps’ at the top. You’ll find this map in your list of maps.

On desktop, click the three lines at the top left, select ‘Your Places’, then ‘Maps’. Click the map, then scroll down and select ‘Open in My Maps’ to access the interactive version.

Alternatively, just tap the rectangle symbol at the top right of the map in this blog post to view the My Maps version larger on desktop.

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to view this version of the map offline, but we’ve provided a download for a similar version for offline use.


MAPS.ME

Maps.me is our go-to offline mapping app. We find it straightforward to use for planning routes in advance, as well as navigating on the trail. It doesn’t drain our phone battery, and it’s quick and easy to save and organise ‘bookmarks’. There are many trails already marked on Maps.me, plus you can download and import a KML track of your route to the app. 

To use Maps.me, first download the app (iOS/Android). Hover over the region or country that you want to visit and the app will prompt you to download this map. Once downloaded, it can be viewed offline. 

You can tap anywhere and save it as a ‘bookmark’ by tapping the star symbol at the bottom. Hit ‘Edit Bookmark’ to personalise the bookmark colour, organise your bookmarks into different folders, and rename them. 

You can navigate easily or plan routes in advance by tapping your start point and selecting ‘route from’, then tapping your end point and selecting ‘route to’. Tap the car, walking, or cycling symbol at the top of the screen to indicate your mode of travel. If you want to plot a different route to the one suggested by Maps.me, just tap a third (or fourth, fifth, etc.) bookmark between the start and end points and select ‘add stop’. 

Maps.me shows the distance and travel time, plus elevation profiles for hiking trails. Note that the estimated time isn’t always reliable, but we’ve always found the distance and elevation gain/loss to be largely accurate. It only shows very basic contour lines.

You can track your progress on the trail using GPS. The arrow shows your direction of travel. Tap the compass at the top right of the screen to keep the map in a fixed position (the arrow will rotate). Alternatively, tap the arrow at the bottom right of the screen to rotate the map in the direction of travel (the arrow will stay in a fixed position).

GAIA

Gaia (iOS/Android) is another offline mapping app that is very useful. It shows the contours in much more detail than Maps.me, as long as you have previously viewed the section of map online. With a paid membership you can download various maps in advance for offline use. The app has existing OpenStreetMap trails marked and you can import GPX tracks and view them offline. You can also create new routes online yourself and export them as GPX or KML files. You can navigate easily on the trail using the arrow that shows your GPS location. Unlike with Maps.me, it isn’t possible to quickly check distances between two points (or at least we haven’t figured out a way to do it). There are a lot of useful features in the free version and even more benefits if you have a paid annual membership, so if you spend a lot of time outdoors it is worthwhile learning how to use the app to its full advantage. 

In our experience, Gaia drains your phone battery much quicker than Maps.me, even in flight mode, so it’s best to shut down the app completely each time you finish using it. 

OSMAND MAPS

OsmAnd Maps (iOS/Android) is another great offline mapping app with lots of useful features. In our opinion, it’s not as intuitive as Maps.me, and it has so many features that it can be a bit overwhelming at first. Like Gaia, we recommend checking out the written and video tutorials on the OsmAnd website to learn how to fully use the app. The benefits of the app include being able to plot routes in advance and save them as GPX tracks, and to view detailed elevation and terrain information, including surface types. You can also import GPX tracks. One downside is that the free version does not include contour lines, but these can be added via a paid plugin.


SHATILI TO OMALO OR OMALO TO SHATILI?

Most people start this 5 day trek in Tusheti, hiking from Omalo to Shatili, but there is no reason why it can’t be done the opposite way. Starting in Shatili made more sense for our overall Georgia trekking plans, so we opted to begin on the Khevsureti side. If you’re in the same boat and starting at one place makes more sense than the other, then go for it. If your starting point is flexible, we’ve added some thoughts and considerations below to help you decide which direction works best for you.

ELEVATION GAIN

Trekking from Omalo to Shatili involves a more gradual elevation gain. You’ll spend 3 – 4 days climbing towards Atsunta Pass (3518 m), which is beneficial if you aren’t acclimatised already. It also eases you into the trek more gently, which is good if you aren’t used to multi-day hikes or haven’t done one in a while. Trekking from Shatili to Omalo requires a big climb (about 2000 metres) over the first two days. This is manageable if you’re already in decent shape and acclimatised, but may prove more difficult if you’re starting your Georgia trekking adventures from scratch.

Descending into Tusheti from Atsunta Pass on the Shatili to Omalo trek, a hiker carefully negotiates the sandy shale covered slope

Descending into Tusheti after crossing Atsunta Pass



Descending into Tusheti from Atsunta Pass on the Shatili to Omalo trek, a hiker carefully negotiates the sandy shale covered slope

Descending into Tusheti from Atsunta Pass



CAMPING, GUESTHOUSES AND BAG WEIGHT

Whichever way you do it, the Shatili to Omalo trek requires a minimum of 2 nights camping, between Shatili and Girevi. You can choose to camp or stay in guesthouses for the other two nights, between Girevi and Omalo. This means carrying enough food to cover at least 3 x lunches, 2 x dinners, and 2 x breakfasts for the camping days. If you start in Shatili, you’ll be eating all of this food over the first two days, and making your bag lighter in the process. But if you start in Omalo, you’ll be carrying most of this food for 3 days before consuming it. There are no suitable shops in Dartlo/Girevi, so you need to bring food from Omalo. You could however take a packed lunch from Girevi for Day 3. 

RIVER CROSSINGS

There are 3 river crossings between the Kvakhidi meadow camp and upper camp below Atsunta Pass. Depending on the water levels, one or two of these can be a little tricky. Crossing them can be time and energy consuming. If approaching from Shatili, you’ll cross these early on Day 3, when water levels are generally lower. The pass will already be behind you and you will be descending towards Girevi village where guesthouses await – the easiest approach in our opinion. If you’re trekking from Omalo, you’ll either have to hike quite far on Day 3, from Girevi to upper camp (crossing the rivers towards the end of the day), or tackle the river crossings on the morning of Day 4 when you still have the ascent to Atsunta Pass ahead of you.

A hiker crossing the tributary of the Kvakhidistskali River between Atsunta Pass and Kvakhidi Meadows on the Shatili to Omalo trek in Georgia

Crossing the tributary of the Kvakhidistskali River between Atsunta Pass and Kvakhidi Meadows



A hiker crossing the tributary of the Kvakhidistskali River between Atsunta Pass and Kvakhidi Meadows on the Shatili to Omalo trek in Georgia

Crossing the tributary of the Kvakhidistskali
between Atsunta Pass and Kvakhidi Meadows



ATSUNTA PASS AND THE FOREST DESCENT

In our opinion, it’s easier to descend from Atsunta Pass on the Tusheti side, trekking towards Omalo. The Khevsureti side has a short but steep switchback section just below the pass, with some drop offs at the edge of the switchbacks. The trail is in good condition, but it’s made up of small loose shale which can be unstable underfoot. Personally, I feel more comfortable ascending on this type of trail rather than descending (although Del wasn’t bothered by it). The Tusheti side isn’t as steep, has no drop offs, and has softer shale that’s easy to sink your feet into.

The steep forest section between the Khonistskali River and Khidotani border guards’ camp is also trickier to descend than ascend due to the steep muddy trail, some sections of which have fallen away a little. In wet conditions, this trail will be slippery, and it’s easier to climb up than down.

Taking these two sections into account, if you tend to be a bit more hesitant on steep trails with unstable footing, you might want to consider starting in Shatili.

WALKING TOWARDS OR AWAY FROM ‘CIVILISATION’

The classic Shatili to Omalo hike involves about 3 days of fairly remote trekking on trail, and 2 days of mostly road walking through villages. Starting in Shatili, you’ll spend your trek gradually getting closer to ‘civilisation’, with the village of Omalo feeling like a pretty bustling town in comparison to the places visited in the days before. Starting in Omalo, you’ll slowly leave ‘civilisation’ behind, each day getting more quiet and remote until you reach Mutso. In this regard, we don’t really have a preference, but it may be something you want to consider.

Girevi Tower Shatili Omalo Trek Georgia

The tower above Girevi. Between here and Khonischala 34 km away, there are no villages, only shepherd and border guard camps



A tall defence tower rises from the rocky slope above the village of Girevi on the Shatili to Omalo trek in Georgia

The tower above Girevi. Between here and
Khonischala 34 km away, there are no villages,
only shepherd and border guard camps



ROAD WALKING

Speaking of road walking, the start and end points of this trek involve walking on the road, regardless of which direction you choose. We don’t particularly enjoy hiking on roads, so for us the last two days of our trek, walking on road between Parsma and Omalo, were definitely less enjoyable than the first three days. Having walked through beautiful and remote landscapes, it was a bit of a disappointing end (although we did love the villages). I imagine that if we’d started in Omalo, with the Tusheti scenery all new and exciting for us, these road walking sections might have been more interesting.

At the Shatili end, we chose to take a car as far as Mutso and start our trek near there, instead of walking 13 km on the road with many more kilometres and a big climb still ahead. Had we ended in Shatili, I think this final section of rough road would have been a more enjoyable end than the road into Omalo, as it’s pretty scenic and still feels fairly remote. 

TRANSPORT CONSIDERATIONS

You may want to factor in the ease of transport connections to/from Omalo and Shatili when deciding which direction to trek. If you’re relying on public/shared transport, note that there are only 2 marshrutkas a week between Shatili and Tbilisi. On the other hand, Omalo has daily shared jeeps plying the route between Telavi (or Alvani) and Tusheti.

See More From Georgia

A hiker climbs the shale switchback trail to Atsunta Pass on the Shatili Omalo trek, with the layered mountains of Khevsureti behind
A hiker descends the switchback ridgeline trail from Chaukhi Pass to Abudelauri Lakes on the Juta to Roshka trek in Georgia
Snow capped Mt. Kazbek shining bright at sunrise, as seen from the town of Kazbegi (Stepantsminda) in northern Georgia
The settlement of Abano in Truso Valley, with the old monastery on the right and Zakagori Fortress seen behind
One of the best views of Gergeti Trinity Church, seen from the hiking trail to Gergeti Glacier and Mt. Kazbek
Hikers descend from the viewpoint at Kojori Fortress in Georgia
A UAZ Buhanka campervan parked at the side of a grassy track to Levani's Lake on the expansive Javakheti Plateau
A person walks beneath the huge dusty sky looking at the seemingly endless hazy view at Takhti-Tepha Mud Volcanoes in the Vashlovani Protected Area
Two people watch something in the distance from outside a parked 4x4 vehicle in the hills of Racha, Georgia.
A hiker climbs the shale switchback trail to Atsunta Pass on the Shatili Omalo trek, with the layered mountains of Khevsureti behind
A hiker descends the switchback ridgeline trail from Chaukhi Pass to Abudelauri Lakes on the Juta to Roshka trek in Georgia
Snow capped Mt. Kazbek shining bright at sunrise, as seen from the town of Kazbegi (Stepantsminda) in northern Georgia
The settlement of Abano in Truso Valley, with the old monastery on the right and Zakagori Fortress seen behind
One of the best views of Gergeti Trinity Church, seen from the hiking trail to Gergeti Glacier and Mt. Kazbek
Hikers descend from the viewpoint at Kojori Fortress in Georgia
A UAZ Buhanka campervan parked at the side of a grassy track to Levani's Lake on the expansive Javakheti Plateau
A person walks beneath the huge dusty sky looking at the seemingly endless hazy view at Takhti-Tepha Mud Volcanoes in the Vashlovani Protected Area
Two people watch something in the distance from outside a parked 4x4 vehicle in the hills of Racha, Georgia.

SHATILI TO OMALO TREK BREAKDOWN

We’ve broken down the Shatili to Omalo trek into separate days and hiking sections below.

We’ve also given approximate timings and distances for each, as well as approximate figures for elevation gain and loss. The total daily figures for elevation gain and loss are based on our exact recorded route using Garmin and may not be 100% accurate, but they are a good guide of what to expect. The elevation gain and loss figures for each hiking section are more general and largely based on mapping apps (hence the difference from our recorded total daily figures).

The timings are based around average hiking speeds. If you’re a fast hiker it may take you less time, and conversely, if you’re a slow hiker it may take you longer. Our personal hiking time was longer because we were carrying heavy packs, and stopped to film, drone, and photograph a lot.

ELEVATION PROFILE AND 3D ROUTE MAP VIDEO

Shatili to Omalo Elevation Profile

The elevation profile of the trek, starting here at the border guards’ post near Mutso and finishing in the village of Upper Omalo



DAY 1 | MUTSO KHIDOTANI RIDGE

8.2 km | + 1280 m / – 260 m | 4 – 6 hours

DAY 1

MUTSO
KHIDOTANI RIDGE

8.2 km

+ 1280 m / – 260 m

4 – 6 hours

On Day 1 you can visit historic Mutso before continuing up the Khonistskali river valley. A steep 900 metre ascent brings you up to the Khidotani Ridge, a wonderful spot to camp. Keep your passport handy as you’ll need to register and show it twice today. There is a spring water tap just before you start the big climb, and you can get more water near the border guards’ post to see you through until the following morning.

Note that we took a taxi (100 GEL/1 hour) from Shatili to Mutso (12 km) and started trekking from the border guards’ post, 600 metres beyond the fortress. We stopped at Anatoli ‘House of the Dead’ on the way. Allow at least 1 hour to hike up to Mutso fortress, look around, and get back down again. It is of course possible to walk along the road instead, but this turns an 8 km day into a 20 km day, with a tiring 900 metre ascent towards the end.

The historic Khevsur settlement of Mutso, perched on a rocky outcrop high above the Khonistskali at the start of the Shatili to Omalo trek in Georgia

The historic Khevsur settlement of Mutso, perched on a rocky outcrop high above the Khonistskali



The historic Khevsur settlement of Mutso, perched on a rocky outcrop high above the Khonistskali at the start of the Shatili to Omalo trek in Georgia

The historic Khevsur settlement of Mutso, perched
on a rocky outcrop high above the Khonistskali



BORDER GUARDS’ POST STEEP FOREST SECTION | 4 km | + 260 m | 1.5 – 2 hours

BORDER GUARDS’ POST
 STEEP FOREST SECTION

4 km | + 260 m

1.5 – 2 hours

It takes about 20 minutes to complete the trekking registration with the border guards. After checking your passport, they will give you a registration paper which you need to show a couple more times along the way, so keep it safe and dry. 

From the border guards’ post the trail climbs a little, then heads back down to the river. After crossing the wooden bridge you can take the road up and over the small hill to Khonischala village, or follow the trail. The trail crosses a landslide section above the river which possibly looks worse than it is, but either way we opted for the road in the end.

There are a few houses in the riverside Khonischala (including one guesthouse). This is the last village you will come across until Girevi on Day 3. Cross the bridge just after the village and walk up the left side of the valley. After about 1.1 km you’ll cross another wooden bridge back to the right side of the valley. Keep walking alongside the river. You’ll reach a grassy area marked with an official brown camping sign. This makes a good rest/lunch spot. There’s a spring water tap 150 metres away, hidden from view below the track. Find it using the exact location marker on our map or any OSM app, and make sure you fill up enough for the 2 – 3 hour climb to the ridge.

The trail passes through the village of Khonischala and follows the Khonistskali River on the Shatili Omalo trek in northern Georgia

The trail passes through the village of Khonischala and follows the Khonistskali before climbing steeply to the ridge



The trail passes through the village of Khonischala and follows the Khonistskali River on the Shatili Omalo trek in northern Georgia

The trail passes through the village of
Khonischala and follows the Khonistskali
before climbing steeply to the ridge



STEEP FOREST SECTION UPPER BORDER GUARDS’ POST | 2.4 km | + 690 m | 2 – 3 hours

STEEP FOREST SECTION
UPPER BORDER GUARDS’ POST

2.4 km | + 690 m

2 – 3 hours

From the spring water tap by the river, start the uphill climb to the top of Khidotani Ridge. The trail ranges from steady to steep, with switchbacks on a stony trail for much of the way. It isn’t very shaded, but the views are impressive. Higher up you enter the forest, where the trail becomes more muddy, with some steep sections and some parts where the trail has fallen away. As you exit the forest, there’s a shepherd’s hut and from here it’s not far to the top.

Above the tree line you’ll soon come to the border guards’ camp. Make the short detour away from the trail to show them your passport and registration paper.

Fill up enough water here to see you through tonight’s camp and the morning. Note that the spring marked on Maps.me (42.552945, 45.214699) was dry when we trekked in July. The next reliable spring is around 2.5 km beyond the camp spots on the ridge.

The river and valley floor falls away as a hker climbs the steep trail up to Khidotani Ridge on the Shatili Omalo trek in Georgia

The river and valley floor falls away rapidly on the steep climb up to Khidotani Ridge



The river and valley floor falls away as a hker climbs the steep trail up to Khidotani Ridge on the Shatili Omalo trek in Georgia

The river and valley floor falls away rapidly
on the steep climb up to Khidotani Ridge



UPPER BORDER GUARDS’ POST KHIDOTANI RIDGE CAMP | 1.8 km | + 200 m |  45 – 60 minutes

UPPER BORDER GUARDS’ POST
KHIDOTANI RIDGE CAMP

1.8 km | + 200 m

45 – 60 minutes

From the border guards’ camp it’s a fairly short climb up and then around the hillside towards the ridge. There are some (mostly) flat areas to camp, with wonderful views of snow capped mountains and the surrounding valleys. If it’s too exposed here, there are a few slightly more sheltered spots further on, plus a suitable area about 15 – 20 minutes before the ridge (where we camped). Another option is to continue for around 4 km to the spring below Atsunta Pass, an area that is commonly used for camping. We’ve marked all of these possible camp spots on the map. 

A hiker climbs the gradual track on the wide and grassy Khidotani Ridge on the Shatili Omalo trek in Georgia

The Khidotani Ridge is wide and grassy, with no shortage of places to pitch a tent



A hiker climbs the gradual track on the wide and grassy Khidotani Ridge on the Shatili Omalo trek in Georgia

The Khidotani Ridge is wide and grassy,
with no shortage of places to pitch a tent



DAY 2 | KHIDOTANI RIDGE → ATSUNTA PASS → VALLEY CAMP

9.2 km | + 987 m / – 966 m | 4 – 6 hours

DAY 2

KHIDOTANI RIDGE
→ ATSUNTA PASS
→ VALLEY CAMP

9.2 km

+ 987 m / – 966 m

4 – 6 hours

Day 2 starts with a fairly easy trail followed by an increasingly steep ascent to Atsunta Pass. The descent from the pass isn’t too bad (in the right weather), and you can end the day camping at a beautiful riverside spot in remote Tusheti.

KHIDOTANI RIDGE SECOND SPRING (BELOW ATSUNTA PASS) | 4 km | + 270 m |  1.5 – 2 hours

KHIDOTANI RIDGE
→ SECOND SPRING
(BELOW ATSUNTA PASS)

4 km | + 270 m

1.5 – 2 hours

The trail climbs steadily along the Khidotani Ridge before curving around the hillside to the left.  From here to the foot of the climb to Atsunta Pass, there’s a bit of up, down, and flat. The pass is visible up ahead – try to spot the pole in a little dip. It looks pretty daunting, but don’t worry, the trail becomes more apparent the closer you get.

The first stream where you can fill up some (refreshingly cold) water runs down the hillside about 2.5 km from the ridge camp. From here, the easy path continues around the hillside to the second stream where you’ll find a makeshift tap under a slab of rock. Fill up enough water to get you up and over the pass. The next source is about 3 hours walk away.

SECOND SPRING ATSUNTA PASS | 1.7 km | + 550 m |  1.5 – 2 hours

SECOND SPRING
→ ATSUNTA PASS

1.7 km | + 550 m

1.5 – 2 hours

From the second spring the last push to the pass begins. It’s a fairly steady trail initially, with some switchbacks and a few steep sections, but nothing too bad. The final ascent to Atsunta Pass is on loose shale and the trail here is very steep in parts. There are switchbacks almost all the way to the top, with the trail going very close to the edge at some points.

A hiker climbs the shale switchback trail to Atsunta Pass on the Shatili Omalo trek, with the layered mountains of Khevsureti behind

Climbing towards Atsunta Pass with Khidotani Ridge and the mountains of Khevsureti behind



A hiker climbs the shale switchback trail to Atsunta Pass on the Shatili Omalo trek, with the layered mountains of Khevsureti behind

Climbing towards Atsunta Pass with Khidotani
Ridge and the mountains of Khevsureti behind



Atsunta Pass itself is quite narrow, with the trail more or less curving over the top and starting down the other side. The pass is marked by a few tall metal arrow poles. There is little shelter from the wind, but the views are spectacular. For even better views, hike up a few metres further to the viewpoint above.

The view of the mountains and valleys of Tusheti from Atsunta Pass on the Shatili Omalo trek

The view of Tusheti from Atsunta Pass; the trail descends across the shale slope ahead before continuing down through the river valley



The view of the mountains and valleys of Tusheti from Atsunta Pass on the Shatili Omalo trek

The view of Tusheti from Atsunta Pass; the trail
descends across the shale slope ahead before
continuing down through the river valley



ATSUNTA PASS → STREAM | 1.4 km | – 380 m |  30 – 45 minutes

ATSUNTA PASS
→ STREAM

1.4 km | – 380 m

30 – 45 minutes

The descent from Atsunta Pass is a bit steep initially, but it soon flattens out as it curves around the hillside. It becomes steeper again but a series of switchbacks make the going relatively straightforward, and it’s quite easy underfoot with sandy shale to sink your heels into. When the shale section comes to an end, you reach the stream.

STREAM → VALLEY CAMP | 2.1 km | – 480 m |  45 – 60 minutes

STREAM →
VALLEY CAMP

2.1 km | – 480 m
45 – 60 minutes

From the stream it’s a straightforward descent on rolling grassy hillsides, and the trail passes over a few more streams where you can top up water.

The upper campsite marked on Maps.me and other OSM apps isn’t really all that suitable, as it’s very stony and on too much of a slope (in our opinion). If you want to camp closer to the pass, we’d recommend filling up at the stream at the bottom of the shale descent, then finding a spot not long after, where the gently sloping hillside looked more suitable for pitching a tent.

From the (stony) camping spot marked on Maps.me, the trail continues down more rolling grassy hills, past a shepherd’s camp, and on to a lovely spot between two streams.

You can cross the stream beside the trail (no bridge) to a spacious patch of grass on the other side. Otherwise, there’s room for one or two tents beside the trail. The surrounding mountains are spectacular and this feels like a beautifully secluded spot.

It’s possible to continue to camp at Kvakhidi Meadows (see Day 3), but this is a quieter, cleaner, and more scenic camp spot.

Camping next to the trail; the grassy area in the background lies across the stream and has space for more tents



Camping next to the trail; the grassy area
in the background lies across the stream
and has space for more tents



DAY 3 | VALLEY CAMP → GIREVI

19 km | + 587 m / – 1192 m | 6 – 8 hours

DAY 3

VALLEY CAMP
→ GIREVI

19 km

+ 587 m / – 1192 m

6 – 8 hours

Day 3 is a fairly long day at 19 km, with a number of stream and river crossings which can slow things down if the water level is high. Keep some water sandals handy to avoid getting wet boots. You may also encounter territorial sheepdogs, so beware. Towards the end of the day you’ll see your first Tushetian Tower, and you can enjoy a home cooked meal, shower, and proper bed in Girevi.

VALLEY CAMP → KVAKHIDI MEADOW CAMP | 5 km | – 250 m |  1.5 – 2.5 hours (2 x river crossings)

VALLEY CAMP →
KVAKHIDI MEADOW CAMP

5 km | – 250 m

1.5 – 2.5 hours

(2 x river crossings)

After leaving the camp you immediately need to cross a stream/river. Chances are you can hop across on stones without getting your feet wet. The trail rolls around the hillside and down to another river crossing. This one is bigger, faster flowing, and worth changing into sandals for. Unless there’s been a lot of rain, this river shouldn’t be too difficult to cross in July/August. The water came to just below our knees at its deepest point. Ford the river opposite the rock with the ‘Exit Shatili’ sign painted on it. 

A tributary of the Kvakhidistskali river with 'Shatili' painted on a rock next to it

You have to cross the tributary of the Kvakhidistskali here; water levels can vary depending on season, weather, and time of day



A tributary of the Kvakhidistskali river with 'Shatili' painted on a rock next to it

You have to get across this tributary of the
Kvakhidistskali here; water levels can vary
depending on season, weather, and time of day



From here the trail leads up a little, past a shepherd’s hut, and then right next to the Kvakhidistskali River for a while. Watch out for the flock and sheepdogs in this vicinity. Leaving the river for a bit, the trail climbs up, around, and down, back to the river again. At this point it’s usual to cross the river again, but in our experience fording this one is not so easy. We found it pretty dangerous, despite the water levels at the previous crossing being easily manageable.

There is a rock on the other side with ‘Omalo’ painted on it, and both the GPX track and Maps.me routes that we were following crossed here. We hunted around for a bit, looking up and down the river for a safer spot, but nowhere looked good. In the end we just had to go for it, using our hiking poles to steady us. It’s about 6 – 8 metres wide, and at the time we crossed, it was fast flowing, up to our crotches, and completely opaque. We had to feel around with our feet to avoid stumbling on stones and being swept away, which wasn’t easy given how strong the current was and how heavy Del’s bag was (approx 25 kg).

The wide, deep, and fast flowing Kvakhidistskali River on the Shatili Omalo trek in Georgia

The classic route crosses the Kvakhidistskali here; in mid-July 2020 there was no bridge and the water was uncomfortably deep and fast flowing



The wide, deep, and fast flowing Kvakhidistskali River on the Shatili Omalo trek in Georgia

The classic route crosses the Kvakhidistskali here;
in mid-July 2020 there was no bridge and the
water was uncomfortably deep and fast flowing



If the water levels are low, this river may be no problem to cross at all. But if it looks dangerous, another option might be to stick to the left bank. Since our own trek, we’ve heard that some hikers do this instead of crossing. There did appear to be a trail of sorts when we later looked back from the bridge at Kvakhidi Meadows. Although we can’t say for sure what the terrain would be like, it definitely appeared to be steeper with some gullies and potential landslide areas to cross. One final point to note – as we were trekking during an unusually quiet time we hardly saw anyone, but during a normal trekking season there may be shepherds with horses who might help you cross.

Assuming you do cross the river here, you’ll come to another smaller stream/river very soon after. In our experience it was deep enough to go over the top of your boots, so just leave your sandals on if you changed into them for the previous crossing. From here, follow the rolling hillside trail all the way to the Kvakhidi Meadows. First you’ll reach a flat area looking down over the main shepherds’ camp. This is used as a camping area and is a nicer spot to pitch up than the shepherds’ camp itself. There is another stream below, but it was easily crossed in boots when we trekked.

A wide valley view looking down on Kvakhidi Meadows and the Kvakhidistskali River from the Shatili Omalo trail

Looking back down on Kvakhidi Meadows from the east while on the trail to Girevi; the classic route traverses the rolling hillsides on the southern side (left) of the valley, while the other possible route negotiates the steeper northern side of the valley (right) and avoids the river crossing



A wide valley view looking down on Kvakhidi Meadows and the Kvakhidistskali River from the Shatili Omalo trail

Looking back down on Kvakhidi Meadows
from the east while on the trail to Girevi



There are a number of shepherds who have camps here, some reportedly selling snacks and basic hot food like khachapuri during the tourist season (although there was nobody around when we passed through). It’s not our idea of a nice camp spot, and we’d definitely suggest pitching up either above the camp or pushing on closer to Atsunta Pass if you’re coming from Omalo.

KVAKHIDI MEADOW CAMP → GIREVI | 14 km | + 140 / – 525 m | 4.5 – 5.5 hours

KVAKHIDI MEADOW CAMP
→ GIREVI

14 km | +140 / – 525 m

4.5 – 5.5 hours

Follow the river from the shepherds’ camp until it bends. Here you’ll find the bridge to cross back to the left side of the valley. The trail climbs the hillside for about 15 – 20 minutes. Once you reach the high point the trail undulates around the hillside for a while, then descends back to the river. At this point you’ll find another ‘interesting’ section of trail which may or may not be submerged under water. You’ll spot a trail marker painted on a big rock. Hug the rockface, inching your way around, stepping in the river if the water’s high, and up some stone steps on the other side.

A hiker climbs over the rocky trail next to a fast flowing river on the Shatili Omalo trek in Georgia

Back at the river, the trail skirts the water’s edge and climbs rough steps in the rocky surface



A hiker climbs over the rocky trail next to a fast flowing river on the Shatili Omalo trek in Georgia

At the river, the trail skirts the water’s edge
and climbs rough steps in the rocky surface



There’s a fair bit of up and down for the next 2 km, but it soon evens out and becomes easier to walk on until the final descent into Girevi. Around 4 km from Girevi you’ll get your first sight of a Tushetian Tower, along with the ruins of the abandoned village of Chontio. Be careful over the final few kilometres as there are some sections where the trail has fallen away and you have to step gingerly across what’s left of it. Girevi doesn’t reveal itself until the last minute, when you round a corner with a distinctive pointy tower and get your first view of a Tushetian village proper.

Register/check-in at the border guards’ camp down by the river in Girevi, then head to a guesthouse. If you prefer to camp, there are better spots along the riverbank by Parsma, another 30-40 minutes along the trail.

For a guesthouse, Shio’s Stonehouse is an excellent choice. It is run by the friendly Ira who serves up good food, including homemade shoti bread and veggies from the garden. The upstairs veranda is the perfect chillout spot, with lovely views over the village and back towards the tower. She sells Snickers and it’s possible to eat a meal here even if you’re camping. Her husband is one of the border guards.

A view of the village of Girevi at dusk, seen from the west on the trail from Shatili to Omalo

Girevi at dusk, from the trail above the village



A view of the village of Girevi at dusk, seen from the west on the trail from Shatili to Omalo

Girevi at dusk, from the trail above the village



DAY 4 | GIREVI → DARTLO

14 km | + 106 m / – 328 m | 3 – 5 hours

DAY 4

GIREVI →
DARTLO

14 km

+ 106 m / – 328 m

3 – 5 hours

Day 4 is the easiest day, almost entirely on road and without too much elevation gain or loss. The views are good enough to distract you from the less interesting trail. You can reach Dartlo by lunchtime or early afternoon and still have time to explore Kvavlo on the hillside above, or just wander this beautiful village.

Note that it’s possible to hike an alternative route which is almost entirely on trail. This trail leads from Parsma to Ghele Meadow via Nakaicho Pass and the connecting ridge. However, it skips Dartlo, widely regarded as the most scenic of all Tusheti villages.

GIREVI → PARSMA | 2 km | – 50 m | 30 – 40 minutes

GIREVI
PARSMA

2 km | – 50 m

30 – 40 mins

From Girevi, head towards the river and follow the trail over rocks and boulders right next to the water, all the way to Parsma. It’s an easy half hour walk or so, after which the road starts. At Parsma, you can climb up to the old village for a closer look at the towers, or just carry on the road alongside the river. There are a couple of guesthouses/cafes by the roadside. If you plan to camp here, there are loads of good camping spots near the riverbank.

A hiker scrambles along the rocky riverside trail near Girevi on the Shatili Omalo trek in Georgia

After leaving Girevi, the first section of trail is a fun scramble along the rocky riverside



A hiker scrambles along the rocky riverside trail near Girevi on the Shatili Omalo trek in Georgia

After leaving Girevi, the first section of trail
is a fun scramble along the rocky riverside



It’s at Parsma that you can cross the (re-built in October 2020) Parsma Bridge and hike up to Nakaicho Pass (sometimes called Nakle-Kholi Pass) and along the ridge trail to Ghele Meadow. Although a more scenic route by far, it is much more challenging given the 950 metre ascent from the river to the pass. It would probably be easier to tackle this route in the opposite direction. Check out our Tusheti to Pankisi hiking guide for a trail description of the Nakaicho Pass to Ghele meadow section (coming soon). We’ve marked this alternative route on our map for your reference (download GPX/KML).

Trekking signposts on the Shatili Omalo trek in Georgia

Trekking signposts at Parsma lay out the possible routes; the red arrow pointing towards Nakaicho Pass indicates that it’s a difficult trail



Trekking signposts on the Shatili Omalo trek in Georgia

Trekking signposts at Parsma lay out the possible
routes; the red arrow pointing towards Nakaicho
Pass indicates that it’s a difficult trail



PARSMA → DARTLO | 12 km | – 200 m |  2.5 – 4 hours

PARSMA
DARTLO

14 km | – 200 m

2.5 – 4 hours

From Parsma there’s a jeep road all the way to Dartlo. It’s an easy walk along the riverside through the beautiful Pirikitis Valley, with dramatic mountains rising either side. Ruined Tushetian defence towers dot the hilltops here and there, and you’ll pass some small settlements along the way. There are plenty of small streams along the way where it’s possible to fill up water. About 7 km beyond Parsma, look for the bridge further upstream to save getting your feet wet at the ford where the cars go through. There is a painted sign on a rock directing you to it.

Approaching Dartlo you’ll find some newer built guesthouses to the left, and the older (mostly renovated) homes straight ahead. The stone and wood houses stretch up the hillside, with narrow paths winding between them and numerous impressive towers. Some good options for a guesthouse are the riverside Samtsikhe at the bottom of the hill (incorrect location on Maps.me FYI), and the homely Hotel Dartlo at the very top. We can testify to Marika’s wonderful cooking at Hotel Dartlo!

A view from the west of the stone and wood houses of the Tushetian village of Dartlo, a stop off on the Shatili Omalo trek in Georgia

The first view of Dartlo as you approach from the west



A view from the west of the stone and wood houses of the Tushetian village of Dartlo, a stop off on the Shatili Omalo trek in Georgia

First view of Dartlo approaching from the west



DARTLO → KVAVLO → DARTLO | 3.5 km | +/- 300 m |  2 hours

DARTLO
→ KVAVLO
→ DARTLO

3.5 km | +/- 300 m

2 hours

From Dartlo you can take an optional hike up the hill to Kvavlo, home to an impressive tower, an old (mostly abandoned) village, and even a guesthouse! The path starts right next to Hotel Dartlo, switching back up the hill through some pretty overgrown sections. It takes about 1 hour to climb to the tower, and 30 minutes to get back down. Take some cash and you can have a drink up top at the lovely Hotel Kvavlo, accessible only on foot or horseback.

The impressive old defence tower at Kvavlo with its equally impressive mountain backdrop, high above the village of Dartlo in Tusheti, Georgia

The impressive old tower at Kvavlo with its equally impressive mountain backdrop



The impressive old defence tower at Kvavlo with its equally impressive mountain backdrop, high above the village of Dartlo in Tusheti, Georgia

The impressive old tower at Kvavlo with
its equally impressive mountain backdrop



DAY 5 | DARTLO → UPPER OMALO

11 km | + 667 m / – 384 m | 3 – 5 hours

DAY 5

DARTLO
→ OMALO

11 km

+ 667 m / – 384 m

3 – 5 hours

The last day is spent mostly walking on the road but is less easy going than the previous day. This is due to the 500 metre ascent to Ghele Meadow, the descent on forest trail to rejoin the road, and the subsequent climb to Omalo. You can fill up water at streams along the way.

Note that it is possible to take an alternative route from Dartlo to Diklo via Chigho (6 – 8 hours), then from Diklo to Omalo via Shenako the following day. This route isn’t marked on Maps.me, but it is on the printed Geoland map of the area and is waymarked. It mixes trail and road walking.

DARTLO → GHELE MEADOW | 6.8 km | + 500 m |  2 – 3 hours

DARTLO
GHELE MEADOW

6.8 km | + 500 m

2 – 3 hours

From the bottom of the village, head over the wooden bridge below Samtsikhe Guesthouse, then cross over the car bridge and start climbing. The road is cut through the forested hillside with limited views but more shade than the day before. Streams tumble down and across the road at a couple of points. It’s a pretty steady uphill walk all the way to Ghele Meadow, a nice spot for lunch.

If you decide to cross the bridge at Parsma and hike along the ridge from Nakaicho Pass, this is where you’ll end up. This is also where you could start a longer trek to Borbalo Pass and Khevsureti, or to Pankisi Valley.

The traditional Tushetian village of Dartlo seen from the east

Looking back to enjoy the view of Dartlo from the west before crossing the bridge and heading to Omalo



The traditional Tushetian village of Dartlo seen from the east

Looking back to enjoy the view of Dartlo
from the west before crossing the bridge
and heading to Omalo



GHELE MEADOW → OMALO | 4.2 km | – 300 m / + 100 m |  1 – 2 hours

GHELE MEADOW
→ OMALO

4.2 km
– 300 m / + 100 m

1 – 2 hours

The trail leaves the road shortly after Ghele Meadow. It descends through a nice pine forest to rejoin the road, where a signpost directs you up a steep forest trail to join the road yet again for the final climb to Upper Omalo. Turn onto the trail to the right before reaching the top of the road and follow it around the hillside to the left. You’ll be greeted with a wonderful view of Keselo Fortress as you round the final corner and make your grand entrance into Omalo.

If you want to continue to Lower Omalo, avoid the road by following the signposts and taking the trail that heads down from the centre of the village. In our opinion Upper Omalo is a nicer place to stay, with numerous guesthouses, the wonderful O’Dila wine bar, and the scenic backdrop of the Keselo towers.

The Keselo towers on a rocky outcrop directly above the village of Upper Omalo, the start or end point for the Shatili Omalo trek in Georgia

The reconstructed Keselo Fortress sits on a rocky outcrop directly above the village of Upper Omalo



The Keselo towers on a rocky outcrop directly above the village of Upper Omalo, the start or end point for the Shatili Omalo trek in Georgia

The reconstructed Keselo Fortress sits on an
outcrop just above the village of Upper Omalo



WHEN TO TREK FROM SHATILI TO OMALO

Tusheti is completely cut off in winter, as is Shatili in Upper Khevsureti. The roads to each normally open sometime around mid-June, and close around October. Atsunta Pass is usually still covered in snow until July, and the border guards are unlikely to allow you to trek if conditions aren’t safe.

This makes July and August the ideal trekking season for the Shatili to Omalo (or Omalo to Shatili) trek. In June and September water levels are likely to be much higher, making the river crossings difficult, or indeed dangerous. The pass is also much harder to cross in snowy or icy conditions. So, even if the road is open, it isn’t recommended to trek outside of July and August unless you are experienced and fully kitted out for more challenging conditions.

SHATILI TO OMALO TREK PRACTICALITIES

The 5 day Shatili to Omalo trek through the remote Caucasus Mountains requires careful preparation and planning. It’s not the kind of thing you can decide to do last minute. We’ve covered a few important trek practicalities below.

FOOD

You’ll need to pack food for a minimum of 2 nights’ camping. Note that there is only a very basic shop in Shatili, and a better (but still limited) shop at Hostel Tishe in Lower Omalo. It is much easier to stock up beforehand in Tbilisi or Telavi, depending on your direction of travel.

For the remainder of the trek you have the option of eating at guesthouses, and it’s possible to do so even if you aren’t staying. They can also provide you with a packed lunch on request.

Outside of the villages there are no shops or services, although during the main tourist trekking season the shepherds at Kvakhidi Meadow usually sell some khachapuri and other such snacks. There is also a khachapuri stall at Mutso. Neither were open when we trekked, but it was an abnormal time.

Shelves stocked with a variety of food, drinks, and snacks at Hostel Tishe in Lower Omalo, Tusheti, Georgia

Inside the shop at Hostel Tishe in Lower Omalo



Shelves stocked with a variety of food, drinks, and snacks at Hostel Tishe in Lower Omalo, Tusheti, Georgia

The Hostel Tishe shop in Lower Omalo



PHONE RECEPTION AND WIFI

Roughly speaking, there is no phone reception between Anatoli ‘House of the Dead’ and Girevi – a 3 day stretch. There is WIFI available in all of the main villages, although access will depend on your guesthouse of choice.

MONEY

You must pay for everything in cash and there is no ATM in Shatili or Tusheti. Be sure to bring enough money from the lowlands to cover your entire trip.

MAPS AND NAVIGATION

You can buy Geoland trekking maps of the area in their shop in Tbilisi (maps 1 and 2). You can also follow the trail using GPS on your phone with Maps.me or another offline mapping app like Gaia or OsmAnd (see map section above). Remember to download the relevant map beforehand and switch to flight mode to conserve battery. You can set this blog post to read offline also, and download our GPX/KML files.

RENT CAMPING GEAR

There is nowhere to rent camping gear in Tusheti or Shatili. As such, it’s best to arrange gear rental in Tbilisi. MPLUS (Mogzauri) have everything you need.

WEATHER FORECASTS

Yr.no is the best weather app (iOS/Android) we know of, covering remote areas like Khidotani Ridge, Atsunta Pass, Girevi, etc. It doesn’t work offline, but it is very useful for checking the weather in advance. If you have a Garmin InReach like us, you can get weather reports at any location.

TRAVEL INSURANCE FOR HIKING AT ALTITUDE

It’s important to note that most travel insurance providers will only cover hiking up to a certain altitude as standard (often 2500 m or 3000 m). In order to be covered for hiking above this, you will probably need to add on an ‘activity pack’ or such like. The highest point on the Shatili to Omalo trek is around 3500 m, so make sure you check in advance whether your travel insurance policy covers you or not.

Whether you are currently in your home country or are already travelling, two travel insurance policy providers that can cover for hiking above 3000 m are World Nomads (for residents of 140+ countries) and True Traveller (for UK and EEA residents only). We have purchased travel insurance policies from both of these companies in the past. We have found their policies to be comprehensive, and their online claims and extension processes straightforward.

If you still need to organise your travel insurance, we’d suggest getting a quote from each to see which suits you best.

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SHATILI TO OMALO TREK PACKING LIST

You’ll need camping gear, all weather clothing, food, and various other items to make your trek run smoothly and safely. We’ve compiled some packing lists and more info below.

ALL WEATHER CLOTHING

Make sure you pack clothing for all weather eventualities. The weather can be very unpredictable, change quickly, and vary greatly between lower and higher altitudes. You need waterproofs and layers (including a base layer, mid layer, and insulating layer). Ideally your base layers should be made from merino wool or sweat-wicking material. Avoid jeans or any cotton materials – if they get wet they are heavy, take forever to dry, and you’ll get cold easily. A hat, gloves and sunglasses are also recommended.

Make sure you have proper footwear (ideally hiking boots) that are broken in already. It’s a good idea to pack a pair of water sandals too for the river crossings and wearing around camp/homestays. You may want microspikes if there’s a chance of snow on Atsunta Pass (although the border guards are unlikely to let you continue if the conditions at the pass are too dangerous).

Merino T-Shirts x 2
His/Hers

Merino Thermal Baselayer
His/Hers

Merino Thermal Leggings
His/Hers

Merino Underwear
His/Hers

Sports Bra x 2

Fleece
His/Hers

Down Jacket
His/Hers

Rain Jacket/Shell
His/Hers

Waterproof Trousers
His/Hers

Quick Drying Hiking Trousers
(preferably with zip-off shorts)
His/Hers

Trousers to wear around camp/guesthouses
(Lightweight, similar to above)

Trekking Socks x 2
His/Hers

Warm Socks for night x 1

Buff

Gloves
Liner & Waterproof Outer

Sun Hat

Warm Hat

Sunglasses

Hiking Boots
His/Hers

Waterproof sandals for evening/river crossings

Bandana
Soak it in the river and tie it round your neck or wrists to keep you cool

Belt
You might lose weight on the trek!


CAMPING EQUIPMENT

As a minimum you’ll need a tent, sleeping mat, and sleeping bag. We always like to have a pillow and sleeping bag liner too. You’ll also need a small stove, gas canister and cooking supplies.

HIKING GEAR

General hiking gear is required for the Shatili to Omalo trek. This includes a backpack, hiking poles (for river crossings and steep descents), a refillable water bottle and/or water bladder, a water purification method (optional – some people drink straight from the springs/streams) a headtorch, rubbish bags for carrying out all your waste, and a toilet trowel (for digging a hole and burying human waste).

50-70L Backpack + rain cover

Hiking Poles

Water Bladder/Water Bottle

Water Purifier (eg. Steripen, purification tablets, LifeStraw, etc.)

First Aid Kit

Penknife

Maps (offline GPS + paper)

Rubbish Bag(s)

Headtorch

Suncream

Basic Toiletries

Toilet Paper

Toilet Trowel 

Hand Sanitiser


FOOD

You’ll need plenty of snacks to keep you going, plus food for at least 2 x breakfasts, 3 x lunches, and 2 x dinners when camping. You need to carry all of your waste out with you, so it’s best to avoid excess packaging like tins, cans, bottles, jars, etc.

Pack food that is high in calories but low in weight, and make sure you have a good mix of proteins and carbohydrates. If you can, bring dehydrated meals from home. This is by far the easiest option (Firepot are our favourite, but others include Mountain House and Good To-Go).

As previously mentioned, it’s best to stock up in Tbilisi or other big cities. The selection in the small shops in Omalo and (especially) Shatili is very limited – think chocolate bars, packets of biscuits, tinned goods, pasta, porridge, and so on.

Store bread in a cloth bag (available to buy at Zero Effect in Tbilisi), and wrap cheese in muslin/gauze (you can buy a big enough roll at pharmacies in Georgia) to keep it fresh.

A couple of well stocked and centrally located supermarkets in Tbilisi are Carrefour (near Orbeliani Square and the flower market), and Goodwill (in the basement of Galleria Mall at Liberty Square).

SNACKS

Pre-made Trail Mix
(eg. nuts, raisins, M&Ms)

Churchkhela
(traditional Georgian snack of nuts on a string dipped in grape juice)

Tklapi
(Georgian fruit leather)

Trekking Bars
(available in Tbilisi supermarkets: Goodwill, Carrefour, etc.)

Snickers
(widely available)


BREAKFAST

Pre-mixed Muesli
(eg. oats + cinnamon + almonds + flax seeds + desiccated coconut – buy in Tbilisi) 

Porridge
(widely available)

Powdered Milk
(available in Carrefour, Tbilisi)

Honey
(small sachets available in Goodwill, Tbilisi)

Extra Toppings
(eg. chia seeds + goji berries + dried fruit + walnuts – buy in Tbilisi)

Coffee
(instant or use an
X-Brew + real coffee)


LUNCH

Hard cheese
(wrapped in muslin)

Bread
(stored in cloth bag)

Nutella/Peanut Butter
(carry in reusable secure plastic container)

Olive Oil
(carry in reusable secure plastic container)

Savoury Biscuits
(widely available)

Cured Meats
(available in bigger towns and cities)


DINNER

Dehydrated Meals
(bring from home)

‘Yelli’ Meals
(available to buy in Carrefour)

Pasta + Tomato Sauce + Cheese + Cured Meat
(small cartons of sauce available in Carrefour)

Pre-mixed ingredients portioned in ziploc bags
(bring dehydrated veggies from home as limited options available in Tbilisi).

Suggested ingredients: 

Buckwheat/Bulgar Wheat + Spices + Stock Cube + Dehydrated Veggies + Parmesan + Olive Oil + Seeds/Nuts + Dried Apricots + Cured Meat


ELECTRONICS

You’ll need a power bank and cables for charging your phone, camera batteries, etc. Remember to pack an adapter if you want to charge at guesthouses. Note that they all run off solar power and your electrical gear can take a while to charge. We also carry our own small solar panel which comes in very handy. And in case of emergencies, we have a satellite communication device, the Garmin InReach.

SHATILI TO OMALO TREK ACCOMMODATION

Guesthouse accommodation is available in Shatili and Omalo, and also in a few villages between such as Dartlo, Parsma, Girevi, and Khonischala. Guesthouses charge around 60 – 70 GEL per person for dinner, bed & breakfast. It’s also possible to get a packed lunch (often referred to as a ‘lunch box’), or indeed no meals at all (but with nowhere else to eat, it makes sense to always include the meals in your stay). Some places offer rooms with private bathrooms, but most have shared facilities. Guesthouses provide bedding and towels. The food (in our experience) is very good, and often accompanied by a welcome jug of homemade wine!

A person sits reading on the spacious wooden veranda upstairs at Shio's Stonehouse in Girevi

Enjoying a bit of rest and relaxation at the wonderful Shio’s Stonehouse guesthouse in Girevi



A person sits reading on the spacious wooden veranda upstairs at Shio's Stonehouse in Girevi

Enjoying some well deserved rest and relaxation
at Shio’s Stonehouse guesthouse in Girevi



RECOMMENDED ACCOMMODATION

We highly recommend Shio’s Stonehouse in Girevi (lovely hosts, wonderful balcony, good food) and Sulphoni Guesthouse in Shatili (best views of the fortress, good food, friendly hosts).

Marika at Hotel Dartlo made some of the best food on our Georgia travels, although the location of Samtsikhe in Dartlo is also pretty special and might have tempted us to stay two nights.

 In Upper Omalo we stayed at the newly built Tsikhisdziri, where we had a private bathroom, great views from the balcony, and were very well looked after.

Find more Tusheti accommodation and Shatili accommodation options on Booking.com.

HOW TO GET TO/FROM SHATILI AND OMALO

TRANSPORT TO SHATILI, KHEVSURETI

Marshrutkas run twice a week between Tbilisi and Shatili from around June to October (it depends when the road opens). They depart from Didube Station in Tbilisi at 9am on Wednesday and Saturday, returning from Shatili to Tbilisi at noon (12pm) on Thursday and Sunday. It takes around 6 – 7 hours and costs 20 GEL. It’s a bumpy ride and involves crossing the Datvisjvari Pass (2689 m).

Alternatively, you can take a marshrutka from Didube Station to Barisakho (5 GEL, 3 hours) at 4pm on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. From Barisakho you can take a taxi (ideally a 4WD) to Shatili for approx 200 GEL (2-3 hours). Korsha Guesthouse is a great place to stay near Barisakho, and the owners can help organise the taxi.

For private transport, check out gotrip.ge.

TRANSPORT TO OMALO, TUSHETI

There is no public transport to Tusheti. The closest you can get by marshrutka is Kvemo Alvani, from where you can take a shared jeep to Omalo. The road from Alvani to Omalo crosses the Abano Pass (2826 m) and is only accessible from around mid-June to October. A 4WD is required and it is advisable to travel with an experienced local driver. We haven’t experienced this road ourselves as we hiked into and out of Tusheti, but it does have a reputation for being somewhat hairraising.

Take a marshrutka from Ortachala in Tbilisi (9am, 7 GEL, approx 2 hours) to Alvani. In Alvani switch to a shared jeep (departures until approx 12pm, 50 GEL per seat, 4-5 hours). Alternatively, take a marshrutka from Tbilisi to Telavi, a service which run more frequently from Ortachala Bus Station (0820 – 1830, 7 GEL). From Telavi, take a taxi to Alvani, or you may find a shared jeep going all the way to Omalo (approx 60 GEL per seat). 

You can also travel from Tbilisi to Telavi or Alvani by shared taxi (approx 10 GEL per seat/departs from Isani Metro Station).

In Omalo, ask at your guesthouse to book a seat in a shared jeep returning to Alvani, or Telavi (a bigger city with more connections). 

SHATILI TO OMALO TREK

That’s the lot. If you have any useful info to add or stories to share, get in touch through the comments section below. Equally, if you have any questions, let us know and we’ll do our best to answer them. And if you’re planning your own trek, good luck and enjoy!

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Trekking from Shatili to Omalo via Atsunta PassTrekking from Shatili to Omalo via Atsunta PassTrekking from Shatili to Omalo via Atsunta PassTrekking from Shatili to Omalo via Atsunta PassTrekking from Shatili to Omalo via Atsunta Pass
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