Where will we be staying?
On this trip we’ll be staying in small, locally-owned family guesthouses. We feel that true luxury is getting to know a place and its people, not necessarily measured by the thread count of the bed linen or. And Georgians are famed for their food, wine and hospitality.
How is this different to other itineraries in Georgia that I’ve seen?
No-one else offers this itinerary or anything like it in Georgia.
Combining the wonderful wintersports (with options for heli-skiing and snow-mobile touring), with vintage cars as our transport and a day of wine tasting provides a totally unique cultural snapshot.
Tell me more about these cars then?
We have a range of vehicles available including the 4×4 Niva and the classic Lada Zhiguli. None of these vehicles have power steering and you may end up with arms like a Russian ship-builder after getting behind the wheel! The seats are only modestly comfortable, there is little acceleration and it’s quite possible you’ll break down. (Which is why you’ll always have a mechanic/driver with you!)
But that isn’t really the point, as we see it. The Lada has been the workhorse of the the Russian sphere of influence for decades and it is slowly but surely becoming a dying breed. Here in Georgia too, it will largely disappear from the roads in the coming years. But we think travel should be fun, quirky and shun the ordinary or mundane wherever possible. And travelling by these old cars will be an experience you’ll remember for years to come. This isn’t just a means of getting from A to B but a journey in it’s own right.
I love the sound of this trip, but would like more time on the slopes – is this possible?
Of course. We can tailor this trip to however you like it. You can make it longer, shorter; add more skiing or heli-skiing or hire a snow-mobile for the duration. You let us know what you want and we’ll make it happen, and price it accordingly.
What kit do I need to bring?
We will provide you with an information pack after signing up to this trip, and this will detail any particular equipment we think either necessary or useful. We can provide skis, boots and bindings but clothing, helmet and any other specific kit shouls be brought with you.
What are the ski routes like?
Gudauri is a small resort but has a significant number of ski runs to enjoy, plus off-piste options. Obviously using the snowmobiles or heli-skiing options add un-ending choice to your trip. Here is a map of the main runs in Gudauri.
What will the weather be like?
In the hills, it is going to be snowy (this is winter sports after all) and cold, so bring the appropriate gear.
How much are flights?
This totally depends on season, but there are direct flights from across Europe to Tbilisi, and some from further afield. There are also now budget airlines flying to Georgia (mostly to the airport at Kutaisi, from where you’ll transfer to Tbilisi), so it is entirely possible to get a return ticket very cheaply if you shop around and don’t mind the time of day you’ll travel.
We can book your flights for you through our trade ATOL partners – please just ask us for details.
What will the food be like?
Amazing! Georgian food is a feast for the palate; a tasty array of (largely home-produced) meat and vegetarian dishes infused with the tastes of Persia, the Middle East and Europe. This is definitely one of our more gastronomic (and vegetarian friendly) trips.
Are the Cars Insured?
The cars are insured as per local law. Your own personal travel insurance should cover you for driving a car in Georgia.
Do you perform proper risk management on your expeditions?
Yes. We are members of TRIP – the Travel Risk and Incident Prevention Group – and perform detailed country risk assessments prior to departure, in line with the ISO 31000 international standard for risk assessment. We also maintain close contact with the relevant Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice for countries we plan to visit, in addition to making use of the Australian Smart Traveller assessment tool, and the US State Department’s OSAC service. Beyond this, we have a full set of risk management and disaster contingency plans for each expedition and are expedition first aid trained by Crux Medical. For final back up we also use the services of Remote Medical Support that allows us to have a UK expedition doctor on the end of a telephone line wherever we may be. And we always carry a satellite phone if there is any danger of being out of signal in the places we travel through. We really don’t mess around when it comes to safety.
Value for Money
We are very proud of the routes we design and the way in which we travel them. We don’t cut corners and we plan meticulously. We are a small company that treats every guest as our friend and you won’t find that kind of service in many places. 85% of our customers have re-booked to travel again with us and some of them come on a trip every year. We also do annual expedition and remote medicine training and pay for 24/7 remote medical assistance cover. We employ professional military-grade risk assessments and plan for every possible negative scenario whilst hoping that none ever come to pass. We take our obligations to you and your safety very seriously and this all does cost money. We think the price represents great value for an experience you won’t find elsewhere.
What’s a partner-led tour?
We run a range of different trips and expeditions. Our Director’s Cut tours are 100% designed by us, and are completely unique to Silk Road Adventures. You won’t find these trips anywhere else and a huge amount of research has gone into making these journeys one-offs. Examples of these are our ‘In the footsteps of Joanna Lumley’ and Amu Darya journeys. These trips are either led by one of the SRA directors, Marley or Antonia, or by a carefully picked expert on the region, such as Leon McCarron.
Partner-led tours are a little different to this, in that they are designed, organised and led by one of our tried and trusted local partners. These tours are not always unique to Silk Road Adventures, and won’t be led by one of our UK team. However, this by no means affects the quality of the trip, or the level of enjoyment you’ll experience: we’ve put a great deal of time, research and Air Miles into ferreting out the best people to work with, and collaborating closely with them on these trips. We try and make it very clear what sort of trip each one is – if anything is remotely unclear please drop us a line here.
Is this really for me?
Although this is an extremely enlivening way to spend two weeks of your life, it’s also potentially dangerous.
Winter sports are inherently risky activities.
It will also be physically tiring.
Don’t even consider signing up for this adventure if you aren’t fully aware of the risks you are taking.
If you like your holidays to include foie gras, butlers and miles of quilted loo roll then please look elsewhere.
If however, you want a proper, unique and delightful experience that you’ll remember forever, then you are in luck!