A brief encounter with Svaneti: Shdugra waterfall

If you travel around Georgia and want to see the mountainous regions, Svaneti is one of the most beautiful choices. Recently it becomes more popular among the international travelers, which is pleasant for us. Though sometimes everyone needs some time for tete-a-tete with own self, an undiscovered route and places, which are not featured at every second advertising board… In such cases we advise you to stay not in Mestia, the central and most developed settlement of Svaneti, but, for example, in Becho, where many one- or two-days routes start.

It’s impossible not to spot Becho on the way to Mestia. As the twin peak of Ushba mount appears in sight, you will see the bus stop and the sign showing directions to Becho and Mestia. Turn there, if you drive a car, or ask the driver to stop, if you are riding a minibus. The settlement is quite big as for the region: around 200 people live there, so you won’t have a problem with finding a guesthouse or a hotel.

A hike to Mazeri waterfall, which is actually called Shdugra, takes 4 hours, if you start walking from Becho. It is possible to reach it in three hours, but if you are not in hurry, take your time, enjoy the walk, and you will be there in four. Just try to start as early as you can. From the end of the village Becho you cross the bridge (walking or by car) and move forward. After passing by couple of other villages, after the hotel Peak Mazeri and Grand Hotel Ushba, you will notice the route marking. The one to the waterfall is marked by red and white.

Following the marks, you will reach an unfinished house. After this, cross another bridge on foot and go into the forest. The car shall not pass. You’d better get yourself a reliable stick – it will be pretty useful for crossing the streams and going up.

Real “up” starts after the checkpoint. Usually it takes around 30 minutes to cover the distance between the checkpoint and the waterfall, but what kind of 30 minutes it can be! Sometimes you have to climb almost vertically, so be careful and don’t let the surrounding beauty distract you.

The other advice is: if you hike there in the hot season, prepare a swimming suit. Taking a bath there feels so icy awesome! After the bath every food tastes like heaven, the view from that spot looks heavenly, and the whole world seems a bit fairytale-like after an ice-cold bath in this waterfall.

The descent takes the same three or four hours. The atmosphere of the forest and a beautiful sunset keep the level of excitement at the top level.

We would recommend that route to anybody who loves nature and has no issues with knees: it takes the whole day, the level of difficulty is average, and the views from above are totally worth every hour you spend on the road. As you are back to the village, have a good local food and lay down in the hammock. Doesn’t it sound like a perfect escape?

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