AZERBAIJAN 2014 - A TOUR FOR THE ALPINE GARDEN SOCIETY BY GREENTOURS
Descending from the snowy High Caucasus the impressive and beautiful landscapes of Azerbaijan pass through steppe-covered foothills down into the arid basin through which flows the Kura River. Southwards the lands rise again to the mountains of Nakhchivan and the Talish Mountains that straddle the border with Iran.
Throughout are marvellous flowers in spring, and in particular the Oncocyclus irises. There are unusual forms of Iris paradoxa and of Iris acutiloba here, now given specific status as Iris medwedewii and Iris helenae respectively. There's dark lined Iris grossheimiana and even darker Iris lycotis. The true Iris iberica blooms here, its striking white standards making it easy to spot when the sun is low in the sky. And there's two species which offer a different colour-palate from the Turkish or Levantine species, for here are the yellows, blues and whites of Iris schelkownikowi and lovely Iris camillae which forms hybrid swarms of bewildering variety in dry steppe around Lake Kazan-Gel. Galanthus caucasicus flowers still on the high passes, whilst lower down are diminutive Iris atropatana and Tulipa schmidtii. Add to this a plethora of Bellevalias, Fritillarias, Muscaris, Ornithigalums and Gageas, a good scattering of orchids, and a colourful steppe flora, and you have a very rich mix of flowers indeed.
Flowers – especially Oncocyclus Irises and other spring bulbs. Mountain Landscapes, Birds, and a little Culture.
No more than three or four miles in any one day, usually much less, and always at a relaxed pace ideally suited to photographers. Much of the flora is close to roads but there are some steep slopes and the ground can be rocky and uneven.
Included in the Price
All flights. Accommodation, transport, meals and tips in Azerbaijan. Services of your leaders. Your e-Visa fee – please note that you no longer need to have a visa in your passport to visit Azerbaijan – we will provide you with the necessary documentation to carry with your passport. Please note; items of a personal nature including travel insurance and drinks are not included.
Minimum group size is 4 and the maximum is 15.
A midnight arrival in Baku will see us hastening to the rather posh Central Park Hotel in Baku. Baku is resonating with the wealth created by the oil boom and you’ll see more of the influence the wealth has on hotel facilities when we travel the short distance to Altiaghaj. Here we have a night in the very nice Cennet Bagi beautifully set in the valley below Altiaghaj Natiuonal Park. Next is a night at the superb Caravanserai in Shaki. Having reached the oncocyclus heartland we’ll have three nights in the Serkhan Hotel in Shamkir. This is a modern hotel with large rooms built in a caravanserai style. Then we travel to the Talysh Mountains close to the Iranian border where we’ve three nights amid the lush greenery of surrounding the Hotel Tabassum. This is a beautiful spot, and the modern chalet rooms are very good too. In Nakhchivan we’ve four nights at the Grand Nakhchivan Hotel, which is indeed a modern comfortable hotel with large rooms, and great views out over this most unusual of cities. All rooms on this tour have en suite facilities.
UK return flights are from London Heathrow/Manchester to Baku via Istanbul, returning from Nakhchivan via Istanbul. Other indirect routes from regional UK Airports* are available.
*These routes may incur a supplement.
Generally warm and sunny. Showers and more prolonged rain are possible and it can be quite cool on the higher passes.
Call 01298 83563 or visit www.greentours.co.uk for the latest trip report.
Altiaghaj National Park
The Southern Slopes of the Greater Caucasus
Days 4 - 6
The Jeyranchol Steppe and Boz Dag
via Ak Gel to Lerik
Days 8 – 10 (am)
The Talysh Mountains
Day 10 (pm)
Flight to Nakhchivan
Day 11 - 13
Nakhchivan. Batabat Valley
Flight to Istanbul and onwards
For your detailed tour itinerary call 01298 83563 or visit www.greentours.co.uk
DATES AND PRICES
30th April – 13th May 2014
London - London = £3295
Istanbul - Istanbul = £3075
Ground-only price Baku - Nakhchivan = £2895
Deposit = £250
Single Supplement = £350*
*does not apply if you are willing to share and a room-mate can be arranged
Greentours have been running superb botanical and wildlife tours for two decades. Visit our website for details of this and our other tours.