Expedition to mountains of Dagestan
Dagestan, 9 days, 25th of July - 2nd of August 2020
Guide — Dmitry Lemeshev
Group: 3 — 6 people
In store for us is an expedition to the regions of Daghestan bordering on Georgia and Azerbaijan. Here vast expanses of virgin nature have survived, and the people still observe the mountaineers’ shepherding traditions.
We climb up to the somber highlands to see blossoming alpine meadows. We’ll visit genuine alpine villages where living conditions have hardly changed since the last century, and we’ll familiarize ourselves with strong-willed shepherds who, for months, live side by side with marauding bears.
We’ll traverse tens of kilometers on foot because there are no roads leading to the shepherds’ camps and to one of the villages. However, horses will be carrying our rucksacks…
At the end of the journey, we’ll make a pilgrimage to an ancient shrine, and visit the oldest town of Russia that emerged at the crossroads of many civilizations and combines their features.
1 day. Arrival to Makhachkala
Our flight arrives in Makhachkala, the capital of Daghestan.
Transfer to the hotel, rest.
Dinner downtown, a walking tour of the historical streets with a connoisseur of urban folklore.
2 day. From the capital of the republic to the capital of sheeps
7 hours by all-road-car (240 km)
Trip to the village of Gotsatl’ famous for its jewelers. Here the jewelers will conduct an engraving master-class for us. We’ll stroll the village streets.
Lunch before departure.
Next we’ll head for the Karadakh Gorge, an incredibly narrow and deep canyon with curious rock formations.
A journey to Kamilukh, the most remote village in Tlyaratinsky district. The long trip (over three hours) will be embellished by breathtaking and sometimes scary alpine views. On the way, we’ll make a stop-over at the village of Goor where medieval towers stand firm on the rocky cliff.
For dinner, we’ll be treated with local delicatessen: sheep sour-cream, cheese and, of course, fresh mutton. Kamilukh is the last place in Daghestan where sheep cheese is produced in significant amounts. On the nearby pastures, the shepherds keep over 10,000 sheep!
Night in village houses.
3 day. To the shepherds
12 km, climb up 670 meters, 4–6 hours walking
We’ll make a simple walk in the River Jurmut valley to the farthest shepherds’ camp. En route, we’ll come across several camps and get to know the shepherds’ lifestyle.
We’ll spend the night nearby, in tents.
4 day. Khalakhurkhats pass (3481 meters)
distance 10 km, climb up 800 meters, climb down 1200 meters, 5-8 hours trekking
The hardest day of the expedition. We are going to climb up to the lifeless highlands and descend to the headwaters of the River Samur, one of the longest rivers of Daghestan.
At night, we’ll be hosted by the border patrol at the farthest outpost in a picturesque meander of the River Samur.
5 day. Kusur — the alive archaic
distance 15 km, climb down 150 meters, 5 hours trekking
Kusur (2147 meters), one of the few villages in Daghestan where no motorway goes. That’s why people live here like their ancestors in the 19th century.
The road will be scenic and not hard. By lunchtime, we’ll be in the village to spend the rest of the day. The night in a village house.
6 day. Villages of Tsakhur people and Akhty
distance 18 km, 4-5 hours trekking + 2-2,5 hours by micro-bus
This day will be devoted to the descent to civilization.
First, 18 km down a horse trail to the beginning of the motorway at the village of Mukhukh. Thereafter, by minibus, by the beautiful road to the village of Akhty.
Visit to local museum. Rest in thermal bathtubs.
Lunch in restaurant!
Dinner (Azeri cuisine)
Night at hotel 3*.
7 day. Hiking to the Shalbuzdag mount.
5 hours by ll-road-car, 4 hours hiking, climb up 700 meters, climb down 700 meters, 2 hours by micro-bus
We’ll rise early in the morning and by a Russian four-wheel drive vehicle climb the slopes of Mt. Shalbuzdag to the altitude of nearly 3000 meters. Then, on foot, we’ll climb the pilgrims’ trail to the ancient shrine that has been popular since the pre-Islamic time. Some Muslims believe that seven ascents to Mt. Shalbuzdag are equal to one hadj.
By nightfall, we’ll descend and have dinner in the ancient Derbent, UNESCO cultural heritage.
Night at hotel 3*.
Day 8. Derbent
The entire day will be devoted to lazy walks down the streets of the ancient Derbent: the Naryn-Kala citadel, the Old Town, and the oldest mosque in Russia (A.D. 733-734); we’ll meet interesting citizens, eat at an excellent restaurant and a traditional tea-house…
Derbent is multicultural city as evidenced by mosques, the Orthodox church, the Armenian church turned into the Museum of the Carpet and Jug, and the synagogue where mountain Jews gather…
Day 9. Departure
110 kм, 2 hours by micro-bus
In the morning, we’ll depart from Derbent, straight to the Makhachkala airport.
- guide 24 hours per day;
- all local guides;
- accomodation (3* hotels - 3 nights, home-stay 2 nights, tents - 3 nights);
- 3 meals per day;
- all tickets, entrance fees and so on;
- border-zone permit and visa-support.
- your flight to Makhachkala and back;
- extra alcohol;
- souvenirs and other personal expenses.
Booking and other conditions:
- single supplement - 150 USD;
- 20% prepayment is required 90 days in advance;
- we need scanned copy of your passport and Russian visa 65 days in advance to make border zone permit in time.