The Kobuleti Protected Areas
Kobuleti Protected Areas were established in 1998, at Adjara region of Georgia, along with the Black Sea coast. Amounting to over 770 hectares, the territory integrates Kobuleti Strict Nature Reserve (Ispani II, 331 hectares) and Kobuleti Managed Reserve (Ispani I, 439 hectares). Local climate is subtropical with high relative humidity and periodic strong winds. Fall and winter are primary wet seasons.
Kobuleti Protected Areas contain a fascinating mix of plant species, some of which are of boreal origin and appeared here during the Ice Age of Quaternary period. Local flora is represented by: Imeretian sedge (Molinia litoralis), Peat mosses, Caucasian beak sedge (Rhynchospora caucasica), Buckbean (Menyanthes trifoliata), White sphagnum moss, Great Pond-sedge (Carex riparia), carnivorous round-leaved sundew (Drosera rotundifolia), Pontic rhododendron (Rhododendron ponticum), Yellow azalea (Rhododendron luteum), threatened Royal fern (Osmunda regalis). White sphagnum moss and insect-eating sundews (carnivorous drosera) are particularly of great interest to the botanists.
The reserve provides an important wildlife habitat for vast array of migratory, nesting and wintering water bird species, mammals, amphibians, reptiles such as: Gallinago gallinago, Gallinago media-from the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra)-included in the Red List of Georgia, Jackal, Woodmouse, badger, Fieldmouse, Nutria, Hare, Caspian turtle (Mauremys caspica), Common toad, Marsh turtle, Green toad, Common tree frog, European legless lizard (Pseudopus apodus), Grass snake, Striped lizard (Lacerta Strigata), Dice snake, Common newt, Slow worm. Ichthyofauna includes such species as European perch, Silver eel, Northern pike and Crucian carp.
Kobuleti Protected Areas are a compelling destination for bird-watchers and those who take interest in natural or cultural heritage. Generally tourist season lasts from May to October. Best periods for bird watching are: spring (April) and autumn (October).
Visitors can observe yellow and white water lilies, bot sundew and marsh turtles on place while having informational-scientific tours on these trails:
Route 1: Ispani 2 / 500 m, 2 hrs, pedestrian, difficulty: easy /
The path goes from the protected area entrance to the bird watching tower, via the so-called “Smekalovka Channel”. On the way to the sphagnum dome, you will see information boards which tell about the uniqueness of the protected area, flora and fauna, local climate and Ispanibronze age archeological settlement remains. Birdwatching lovers can rent binoculars, especially in spring and autumn, which is the best period for observing migratory birds.
Route 2: White Moss / 1 km, 3 hrs, pedestrian, difficulty: easy /
While crossing ShaviGhele (black creek) river, visitors will see rare species of Georgian flora as: nymphaea, bur-reed and the Spring snowflake that blossoms in early Spring. From the ShaviGhele bridge starts Ispani Strict Nature Reserve – the first percolative sphagnum mire Ispani 2. Visitors will go through lianas in an alder forest, until they reach royal fern-a species of ice age. While moving on sphagnum “carpet”, the protected areas administration has special skis to rent, in order not to damage the unique hydrological regime of the ecosystem.
Route 3: Drosera Trail / 1 km, 3 hrs, pedestrian, difficulty: easy /
The trail starts from the entrance of the protected area and goes along the right side of “Smekalovka Channel” for 100 m. The Managed Reserve begins after a wetland field, where one will go through domes created by sphagnum. Visitors can walk on the sphagnum carpet which is the reason for warm and mild climate in Kobuleti. While strolling between domes you will come across a plant which exists only in an acidic environment and has a special feature-eating insects; this plant is called sundew or drosera.
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