Dates: Autumn 2019
Start point: Vladikavkaz
End point: Makhachkala
Maximum number of people: 8
Day 1 – Arrive in Vladikavkaz
You will be taken to your hotel for a briefing followed by a trip to Beslan, a town that is now infamous following a school siege by Chechen rebels in 2005. The school is now a moving memorial to the people killed in the massacre. Then we will have a short city tour of the capital of North Ossetia.
Overnight in Vladkavkaz.
Day 2 – Vladikavkaz – Dargavs – Vladikavkaz
We will drive into the mountains of Vladikavkaz to visit the village of Dargavs and the nearby Plague huts. In the early 19th century when the plague came to the village local people would lock themselves in the huts to die, to prevent the spread of plague to other villagers.
Overnight in Vladikavkaz
Day 3 – Vladikavkaz – Nazran – Grozny
We will head to the republic of Ingushetia, stopping in Nazran to see the towering monument to the victims of Stalin’s repression and to eat lunch. Then we will enter Chechnya and spend the afternoon exploring the newly rebuilt Grozny.
Overnight in Grozny.
Day 4 – Grozny – Itum Kale – Grozny
We will take a trip into the Chechen countryside stopping in beautiful Itum Kale which contains ancient watchtowers that were used by the Chechens to get advanced warning of attacks by other Caucasian tribes. You will also be able to get an insight into life in rural Chechnya before returning to Grozny to experience the newly rebuilt city.
Overnight in Grozny.
Day 5 – Grozny – Kezanoy Am
After a morning exploring Grozny and the modernist mosque in Argun, we will head again into the mountains of Chechnya. Taking lunch at the village of Vedano before staying the night at the lake of Kezanoy Am – right on the Dagestan border. The lake was used in Soviet times as a high altitude training lake for Olympic rowers.
Overnight in Kezanoy Am at a Hotel
Day 6 – Kezamoy Am – Gunib – Makhachkala
Following an early start, we will cross the border into our final republic, Dagestan, where we will take a drive through the mountains. Stopping for lunch at the village of Gunib. This village is set on a high plateau and the natural fortress saw the final stand of the legendary Imam Shamil after his 30-year fight against Tsarist troops in the 19th century. We will then drive on to Makhachkala.
Overnight in Makhachkala
Day 7 – Makhachkala – Derbent – Makhachkala
We will head down to the UNESCO world heritage city of Derbent. Derbent means “shut gate” in Persian and for 2,500 years it was a fortified town with the sole purpose of defending the Persian Empire from the barbarian hoards north of the Caucasus mountains. The world’s only surviving Sassanid era fort was the end point of a 40-kilometre wall that stretched from the Caspian Sea to the mountains. We will have plenty of time to explore the fort, the walls, the old city and the atmospheric Islamic mausoleums and tombstones that litter the hills around the city.
Overnight in Makhachkala
Day 8 – End
We will arrange transport to take you to the airport.
You will be accompanied by a European team leader for the length of the trip and by local guides from each of the four republics.
The trip includes:
The trip does not include:
Basic Cost – US$TBC
To reserve a place on this trip we need a deposit of US$400.
If you have any questions about this trip or about the Russian Caucasus in general please contact us.
We do not directly arrange flights. There are daily flights between Moscow and Vladikavkaz/Makhachkala with S7 airlines, UTAir and Vim Air.
We do not arrange Russian visas directly. The Russian Caucasus is a sensitive region so please contact us as best to apply for the visa.
If you are based in the UK or Australia and require a visa agent to assist with the visa process then we can recommend The Visa Machine. Click here for more details.
We include breakfast every day. In our experience people sometimes want to eat different things in different places at different times and when there is an option we will be happy for you to have your say. We know some great places and will also happily show you some of our favourite restaurants. Some are luxurious, some are more earthy but all have character. However, we do not pretend to be the arbiters of good taste and are equally happy for you to go off and find your own favourites.
We do not and cannot offer a uniform accommodation standard on our itineraries. We consider comfort, location, design, character, historical interest and whether the money we spend will go into the pockets of the local community when we make our choices of where to stay.
The accommodation will be based on 2 people sharing.
When we choose our vehicles and drivers we take into consideration the road conditions, the length of journey and the competence of the man behind the wheel. The distances on this trip are quite short but we could be held up by police and security checkpoints.
On this trip you will be accompanied by a European team leader from Untamed Borders plus a local guide. This allows for greater flexibility and means that there will always be someone on hand to help or assist you even if the other team leader is busy arranging something.
Chechnya, Ingushetia, Dagestan and North Ossetia are areas that have a very volatile recent past. However we feel we have the contacts and experience to guide there safely. We do monitor the situation closely and we listen very carefully to advice from the foreign office and from our friends in the areas we visit. Our client’s safety is our primary concern. We must state that the tour leader has the final word with regards to changes in the itinerary for safety reasons. Whilst the route we have chosen passes through areas which we consider to be stable things can change and we may have to alter the route or cancel sections of the trip at short notice.
All tour descriptions and conditions are given in accordance with the information of Untamed Borders