Northern Turkey Wildlife

Tour Code : NAW 02

Highlights
–    Wildlife in the Kackar mountains; the green paradise
–    Explore Altiparmak mountains for Kackar Brown Bears
–    Sumela monastery & Altindere valley national park
–    Uzundere & Tortum Waterfalls
–    History & culture of the black sea coast
–    Erzurum Castle (Citadel) & Cifte Minareli Medrese
NAW 02 - PRIN

Best Season   
Jan / Feb / Mar / Apr / May / Jun / Jul / Aug / Sep / Oct / Nov / Dec

 

Duration of the Trip
8 Days / 7 Nights

 

Difficulty Level
= A (Easy)

 

Accommodation
Hotel & Pension   :    7 Nights

Day 1 : Trabzon

Meet at the Trabzon airport with Demavend Travels representative and drive to Macka & Sumela Region.
Transfer time: 30/40 min.; transfer distance: 40 km (Trabzon airport – Hotel in Macka/Sumela)  
ON: in Macka/Sumela at the Hotel
Meals: – / – / D

Day 2 : Via Sumela Monastery & Altindere Valley National park to Ikizdere

Early in the morning we take time to explore the area around Sumela Monastery and Altindere Valley. The Monastery of Sumela is a Greek Orthodox monastery at the foot of a steep cliff facing the Altindere valley. Founded in the year 386 AD during the reign of the Emperor Theodosius I., legend has it that two priests undertook the founding of the monastery on the site after having discovered a miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary in a cave on the mountain. With its natural values, Altındere Valley National Park is a famous area and was declared a national park in 1987; the valley is coated in a rich variety of flora and it is also notable for the diversity of its fauna. We take time to watch out for Green Warbler, Dipper, Coal Tit, the sparrow hawk, eagle owl, falcon, short-eared owl, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Treecreeper and Jay. Afterwards late in the afternoon we leave Macka/Sumela Region and drive to Ikizdere area where we spend the Night.
Transfer time: 2 h; transfer distance: 145 km; (Macka/Sumela – Ikizdere Region)
ON: in Ikizdere Region at the Hotel  
Meals: B / L / D

Day 3 : Ikizdere to Erzurum via Ovit Pass; Sivrikaya and Ispir

After breakfast we explore the areas around Ovit Pass and Sivrikaya. We will scan the area, its hillsides and grassy slopes for Caucasian Black Grouse, Caucasian Chiffchaff, Alpine Accentor, Raddes Accentor, Scarlet Rosefinch, Crimson winged Finch, Wall creeper and White winged Snowfinche. After crossing Ovit Pass we head towards Sivrikaya region where we watch out for Golden Eagle, Griffon Vulture, Lammergeier and many other species, such as Alpine Accentor, Twite, Dipper and Grey Wagtail. In the late afternoon we continue to Erzurum where we spend the Night.
Transfer time: 3 h; transfer distance: 210 km; (Ikizdere Region – Erzurum via Ovit Pass & Sivrikaya)
ON: in Erzurum at the Hotel  
Meals: B / L / D

Day 4 : Erzurum to Kackar Mountains Barhal village via Uzundere & Tortum Waterfalls

We leave Erzurum in the morning and drive to the village of Barhal located in the Kackar Mountains. On our way we will take time for a break at the Uzundere Dam and the Tortum Waterfalls to taste cup of traditional Turkish Tea, known as Cay. The lake was formed as the result of a great landslide, which blocked the valley through which the Tortum River flowed. The Tortum Waterfall was once the largest waterfall in Turkey; an observation platform allows the visitors a close sight to the waterfall. A staircase leads to the underneath of the waterfall. Afterwards we continue to Yusufeli where we will have Lunch in a local Restaurant; via Yusufeli we continue to Barhal village where we spend the Night.
Transfer time: 3 h; transfer distance: 170 km; (Erzurum – Barhal village)
ON: in Barhal village at the Pension 
Meals: B / L / D

Days 5 & 6 : Exploring Barhal area & Altiparmak region for Kackar Brown Bears (Ursus arctos)

The Kackar Mountains have a unique fauna and flora with lots of endemic flowers. The Kackar summit, at an altitude of 3.932 meters, is the highest point in the range. Extensive glacier and water erosion have given these mountains their craggy, rugged look, and they are known for the complexity and power of the streams and rivers which rush down to the lower altitudes. The Kackars rise between the shores of the Black Sea to the North and the Coruh River Valley to the South, with an immense variety of vegetation flourishes in the rainy climate. Tea plantations and citrus orchards cover the hillsides. Chestnut, hornbeam, beech and other large-leafed trees forest the slopes. Pines mix in with the large-leafed trees; Alpine meadows and other grassy vegetation cover the ground above 2100 meters. Barhal is a unique Pontic village which has developed during the last 150 years. The village consists of small clusters of stone and wood houses located along a series of vegetable terraces connected by paths. Ancient conduits have been built to allow water diverted from the river to flow alongside each path and irrigate the terraces below which are edged with white mulberry, apple, pear, plum, persimmon, walnut and Cornus mas fruit trees.
The next two Days we take time to explore the area around Barhal village and Altiparmak and look out for the Kackar Brown bear (Ursus arctos). We spend time at the Amanasket Yaylasi (Plateau), Kelensev Yaylasi (meadow), Senkara (Pisenkara) Yaylasi (meadow), Saribulut Yaylasi  (meadow), Ozguven village and Pancet Yaylasi (meadow), places which are known as the main areas (habitats) of the Kackar Brown bear.
ON: in Barhal village at the Pension 
Meals: B / L / D

Day 7 : Barhal village to Erzurum

Until the late afternoon, we observe the Brown Bear. In the late afternoon we leave Barhal village and drive back to Erzurum. Before we leave it is possible to visit Barhal Church, nestling on a slope on the village outskirts. The church was constructed in the 10th century by the Bagratli Kingdom on behalf of “Baptist Yahya”. Its plan is a basilica and was turned into a mosque at the end of 17th century and is still in use. Therefore it is the most well protected historical monument in the area. Its stone work is proper and the building is very sound and its monumental aura is worth seeing. In ancient times, Erzurum existed under the Armenian name of Karin and the Erzurum Congress of 1919 was one of the starting points of the Turkish War of Independence. Today we take time to explore the city centre of Erzurum with its most famous sights; visit Cifte Minareli Medrese and Erzurum Castle. Cifte Minareli Medrese is one of the most beautiful and largest Koran schools of the 13th Seljuk century in Asia Minor. It takes its name, Twin Minaret Madrasa, from the two fluted minarets that crown the monumental facade. The east entrance of the madrasa and the enormous stone facade of ornamental brick and tile masonry with two minarets are remarkable. Erzurum Castle (Citadel) stands guard on its hill in the centre of the old town. Originally constructed by the Emperor Theodosius, it was rebuilt by Suleyman the magnificent in 1555 and at various other times. Inside the castle is a 12th century mosque with a conical roof and a free standing minaret. In the 19th century the minaret acquired a Neo Baroque gallery with a clock presented by Queen Victoria. From the Citadel we have a beautiful view of the entire city. We spend the Night in Erzurum at the Hotel.
Transfer time: 3 h; transfer distance: 170 km; (Barhal village – Erzurum)
ON: in Erzurum at the Hotel 
Meals: B / L / D

Day 8 : Erzurum – Home

Transfer to Erzurum airport where the Trip concludes.
Transfer time: 20/25 min.; transfer distance: 15 km (Hotel – Erzurum airport)
Meals: B / – / –

ON = Overnight accommodation / B = Breakfast / L = Lunch / D = Dinner

Price Includes
–    All transfers and transportations with private vehicles to the places mentioned in the Itinerary
      Day 1: One (one way) arrival transfer from/to Trabzon airport/Hotel in Macka/Sumela region
      Day 8: One (one way) departure transfer from/to Hotel/Erzurum airport
–    Demavend Travel English speaking Tour Leader
–    Hotel & Pension accommodations, rooms on double/twin share base;
      Bed & Breakfast (BB) and Half Board (HB) service; Important: HB Dinner Service available until 20:30/21:00 h
–    7 x Breakfast, 6 x Lunch (Lunch Packages & Restaurants where available), 7 x Dinner

 

Price Excludes
–    All International and Domestic Flights
–    Travel insurance
–    Extra Transports and transfers other than stated in the Itinerary
–    All kind of Soft and Alcoholic drinks, Bottled Water, Tea & Coffee
–    Meals other than stated in the Itinerary
–    All kind of personal expenses
–    All kind of Entrance fees for historical and natural sites
–    All kind of optional activities
–    Extra Nights
–    Single supplements
–    Personal Equipment
–    Tips