Kolkheti National Park
Boat trip in Georgian Wetlands
Paliastomi Lake in Kolkheti National Park, Georgia
Kolkheti National Park
Kolkheti National Park lies in West Georgia, on Kolkheti coastal plain, between the mouths of the Tikori and Supsa rivers, including the east coastline of the Black Sea and Lake Paliastomi basin.
The park was established during 1998-1999 and covers an area of 28,940 hectares, with protected wetlands spanning 33,710 hectares, comprising the land of former 500-hectare Kolkheti State Nature Reserve founded in 1947, and its surrounding wetlands including the lake Paliastomi.
The coastal zone of the park, combined with an adjacent marine area forms one of the main migration routes for African, Eurasian water fowls and waders. Over 194 different bird species are found in the region, including 21 species of migratory birds.
The swamps and wetland forests of the park provide habitat for endangered species such as otter, boar, roe deer, coypu, slowworm, Triturus vittatus, Aesculapian snake, common treefrog, ringed snake, marsh frog (Rana ridibunda), the dice snake, Artwin wood lizard, European pond turtle (Emys orbicularis), birds as Eurasian spoonbill, black-necked grebe, marsh sandpiper, great crested grebe, squacco heron, red-necked grebe, glossy ibis, great cormorant, lesser white-fronted goose, ruddy shelduck, great snipe, waders, coots, ducks, gulls, terns, white-tailed sea eagles. Several extinct birds are on the IUCN and Georgian Red Booklist, such as crane, great white egret, black stork.
The warm, humid climate of the park and abundance of water contribute to a rich biodiversity of flora, mostly composed of oaks, bearded alder, several species of willows, common ash, many types of plants including Rhynchospora alba, Drosera rotundifolia, Menyanthes trifoliata, sphagnum mosses, Carex lasiocarpa, evergreen Hedera colchica, endemic species such as Quercus hartwissiana, Alnus barbata, Quercus Imeretina, Quercus hartwissiana, Quercus dshorochensis, Pterocarya pterocarpa, Aquatic plants, such as Nymphaea alba, also Rhododendron flavum and Rhododendron ponticum.
The National Park, together with the other areas of Kolkheti lowlands, is considered to be the homeland of legendary Kolkhi Pheasant. It is an ideal place for bird-watching, boating, diving, hiking and horse-riding tourism. Containing rich bio-geographical and paleo-geographical information these Kolkheti wetlands are among Georgia's most valuable and extraordinary natural heritages.
Kolkheti National Park Administration and Visitor Center is located at 222 Guria St., Poti, Maltakva District. X - 722952 Y – 4665569
Driving distance from Tbilisi to Poti 330 km (5h)
Driving distance from Batumi to Poti - 70 km (1 h)
The visitors center of the national park will help you organize a tour and cover these Tourist Trails:
Trail #1: Paliastomi Lake 9 km/1 h by pontoon boat
The route starts from the entrance of Paliastomi Lake. Tourists will see astonishing lakeshore scenery, impassable tall thickets of bulrush, secondary wet meadows and the thick cover of royal fern. 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.
Trail #2: Boat trip Paliastomi- Pichori 18 km/3 h by pontoon boat
The route starts at the entrance of Paliastomi Lake. Tourists will see the beautiful shores of Paliastomi Lake and an amazing view of the Pichori River mouth. At the resting areas, they have an opportunity to visit Kolkheti’s wetland relict forests, spread along the riverbank, wetland birds and wetland water lilies, the so-called "bedsheets". Sport fishing is allowed on River Pichori.
This route offers tourists a beautiful view of the Pichori River. At the resting areas, there is an opportunity to see Kolkheti’s wetland relict forests spread along the river bank and wetland birds. While motor-boating through the forest, visitors often describe their experiences as if they were trenching through some sort of jungle. Sport fishing is permitted by the park administration.
Trail #3: Churia River trail, 18 kilometers, 1-2 hours.
This trail starts at the visitor center. Visitors can walk through the Colchic forests famous for its endemic plants and trees. The place is attractive for the birdwatchers as well – one can watch several bird species (eagle, milvus, sparrow-hawk) from the observation posts during any season of the year.
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8-day The Charm of Western Georgia tour starting from Batumi