Have you ever been in a tropical rainforest? I was not. Until now.
Last weekend I travelled to lake Paliastomi with my friends. After about 4-5 hours driving from Tbilisi to west we arrived at Kolkhety National Park Visitor Centre in the city of Poti. Here we rented a boat and our trip began.
There are several routes on the lake and we chose a Paliastomi-Pichori route which lasts approximately 3 hours. For a 16 person pontoon boat we paid 180 lari.
Even though the day was sunny, we felt the chill of the wind soon enough, because the boat was moving really fast. So a jacket is a must have thing here, if you don't want to freeze.
The first thing you see is an iron cross, standing right in the water. It's a favorite resting place for birds. Unfortunately they flew away before I could take some photos.
If you wish, you can fish with rods here. There was some fisherman with his old boat, or maybe he was a ranger?
I'm not sure.
From the birdwatching tower, one can observe migratory birds, some of which are rare species that seek out safe havens in the thickets of peatland vegetation.
Then the boat slows down and enters the river Pichori. That's where you see the rainforest and wander if there are some crocodiles, sunbathing on the river bank.
If you are brave enough, wear your safety jacket and ask with a smile, the driver will let you to sit outside the safety border, at the front end of the boat. It's totally unforgettable feeling, when there are left no people, no boat, no anything, only you and the river, flowing calmly under your legs. It's so close, you can easily get wet. I was wearing headphones, which is strongly recommended, if you want to stay tet-a-tet with nature.
After an hour or so we arrived at a camping place. There are two large tables for tourists, with roof, in case of rain. Firewood was also ready for our arrival.
Be prepared, there are very hungry mosquitoes there.
And also, very cautious horses. Or maybe we expressed our delight too loudly and they decided to keep the distance.
Fire - the best weapon when you forget mosquito repellent at home. Also, great for baking potatoes and other delicious stuff.
Kolkheti wetland relict forest is very charming, with carpets of wild flowers. But you must watch your step.
We didn't want to leave, but every journey has its end. I think, I have to this amazing place. Maybe next year, who knows?
Useful information: apa.gov.ge
Camping: we had overnight camping at Grigoleti beach.