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Georgia: Crossing the Caucasus

National Geographic Adventure picks the 25 best new outfitted trips.
Text by Bonnie Tsui   Photograph by Olaf Malver/Explorers Corner

Photo: Georgia

Taking in Georgia's Tusheti National Park

WHAT'S NEW: Since 1999, Explorers' Corner owner Olaf Malver has collaborated with the United Nations and the Georgian government to protect the Caucasus Mountains, establishing a national park system that will open the range to the public and promote conservation. The World Wildlife Fund has called the Caucasus "one of the world's biologically richest yet most threatened areas" because it holds within its forests and alpine ecosystems more than twice the animal diversity found in neighboring regions of Europe and Asia. (Resident species include lynx, brown bears, golden eagles, and black vultures.) Next year Malver showcases the result of his conservation efforts on an Explorers' Corner trip to brand-new Tusheti National Park, taking hikers on challenging treks with local guides onto the flanks of 16,541-foot (5,042-meter) Mount Kazbek.

ON THE GROUND:
Days are spent on horseback and nights in hotels, camps, and at village homestays where you can expect elaborate hospitality: Georgian feasts, complete with song and dance and even toasts in your honor. "No one has done this [itinerary in Georgia] before—it's definitely an up-and-coming destination," says Malver. "And the people are incredibly warm. You won't find a more welcoming culture anywhere."

Vitals

Outfitter:
Explorers' Corner (www.explorerscorner.com)

Length:
14 days

Price:
$2,800

Difficulty:
Moderate

Departs:
August


Cover: Adventure magazine

Our November 2006 issue features the best new adventure travel trips; an exclusive look inside Iran; a Greenland global warming report; backcountry spas; digital cameras; travel Web sites; weekend getaways; and more.

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