Zemo Omalo (upper Omalo) is the center hub of Tusheti. Here people live simple during the summer period. Before winter,most retract to Alvani. It's an eldorado for everybody loving the breathtaking nature.
everything borderline!

Text and photo
Eistein Guldseth, 2011
    The winding road, closing in on Kvemo (lower) Omalo.  
TUSHETI IS A NATIONALPARK and one of the most ecologically unspoiled regions in the Caucasus. It is a popular area for mountain-trekking. The Tushs are sheep herders, and the region is famous for its TushetianGouda cheese and high quality wool. The local shepherds spend the summer months in the highland areas of Tusheti but live in the lowland villages of Zemo Alvani and Kvemo Alvani in the
wintertime. Their customs and traditions are similar to those of other eastern Georgian mountaineers.

Tusheti - one of the “must see” regions in Georgia


You will find the nature breathtaking, and the people very hospitable. But there’s a price to pay: From the city of Alvani it is a steep climb up to the Abano pass at 3000 m, the gate in to Tusheti. The roads are hazardous and open only a few summer months. Unexperienced drivers are strongly advised not to drive this road. I would recommend hiring a local driver with a proper 4WD (Pajero, Landcruiser, 4 runner) and lots of experience. Once reaching the top of the pass, you can se the border mountains to Russia, Chechenya and Daghestan. From the Abano pass the road takes the same steep downturn into the Chanchakhovani gorge before reaching Omalo. In this area there are no electricity, and people use solar energy.

Omalo is a hub in Tusheti
Omalo is located on a natural platau, connecting three main gorges: Chanchakhovani gorge (with villages Shtrolta, Khiso, and Khakhabo), Chaghma gorge (with the villages Omalo, Shenako and Diklo), Pirikiti gorge ( with villages Dartlo, Chesho, Parsma and Girevi), and Gometsari george (with villages Dochu, Beghela, Jvarboseli and Verkhovani). The fortress of Keselo is with it's towers a landmark in Zemo (upper) Omalo. It served as refugee for families when attacked by among others Chechens.

For trekkers, Tusheti is an absolute eldorado.

From the many small guesthouses in Omalo you can reach a lot of fascinating villages in the many valleys on foot, and with modest equipment. We, however chose to go by 4WD on an instant tour, spending only 3 days on a tour that at least should have been one week. I think the optimal way of trekking in Tusheti, is to stay in one of the guesthouses, and prepare for day trips - or even 2 days trips into the gorges. That is: Plan for one week.

Guesthouses - affordable and very nice.


Gueshouses are available in Tusheti from 50 - 150 Lari pr night (22-64 euro). We choose Guesthouse Keselo in Omalo. That set us back 50 Lari per night including 3 meals. Double rooms. You have the possibility to take showers (somewhat). In the evening you can enjoy the international mix of guests around the "campfire"; exchanging experiences, exiting routes or politics over some great Georgian wine. Nino, the owner of Guesthouse Keselo, runs a tight schedule in the kitchen. Great service, exquisit Georgian food and very nice people here. When we visited, they even had an american preparing khingali in the kitchen. Cool!


Guesthouse Keselo

Nino preparing dinner for her guests.

Gomentsari gorge - the village of Verkhovani.

Gomentsari gorge - the village of Beghela.

Evening in Zemo Omalo

The ascent from Alvani to the Abano pass (at 3000m).

Sunset by the angient fortress in Omalo.


Omalo is situated on a plateu.

The entrance of the Pirikiti gorge.

asdfGeorgian border guards
Pirikiti gorge - Dartlo village.
from the river..

Dartlo village - the "supreme court" with stonechairs.

Gomentsari gorge - closing in on village Beghela.

Sheep herdsman Pirikit gorge