We love driving in the Caucasus, but you should be prepared…
The heart of the Caucasian Challenge is driving. True, we have great parties, make new friends, and learn about a fascinating region. However, the real adventure is found on the roads of the Caucasus, and it is driving that allows us to see places that other visitors can’t. It’s not always easy though, and driving in Georgia, in particular, can pose challenges even to the most experience participants. However, it’s well worth it, and well… we love it. Here’s what you need to know about driving in Georgia.
Driving in Georgia: The Good
The positives of driving in Georgia are too many to list. Firstly, you’ll be travelling on incredibly scenic roads, including the stunning Zagari pass, near Europe’s highest village. With mountains above, and vivid green all around, it can be a challenge to keep your eyes on the road. But you’ll have to: it’s a rocky path, with steep drops just below, and occasion streams crossing your way. We can promise you this: you’ll never be bored.
While driving in Georgia is usually a dream, there are few problems we occasionally encounter. Firstly, traffic jams. These are only really a problem in Tbilisi, but boy can they be a problem. For us it’s fine: we arrive, we park, then we explore. But if you fancy driving across town around rush hour, we recommend avoiding that: this is a city with more cars than its roads can deal with. A second irritant on Georgian roads is… Georgian drivers. There is a culture of speed over safety, especially in the mountains. No matter how old the car, or how passengers it holds, Georgian drivers will take any opportunity to overtake. The last issue with Georgian roads is less of a problem than an occasional inconvenience: animals. We drive through rural Georgia, where farmers and shephards couldn’t care less about your time. You won’t usually be delayed for more than a few minutes, but watch out for any strays darting the catch-up at the last minute.
A last piece of advice for driving in Georgia: never trust Google Maps. On the Caucasian Challenge we provide coordinates, which will never let you don’t. It may seem that Google Maps has a quicker way, and it may even be labeled as a major road. Don’t believe it though: this is how you end up in a field, miles from anywhere, and have to retrace your steps. And, unless you’re very prepared, don’t expect the signs to be much help!