MACAHEL, which is in BORCKA district of ARTVIN in north eastern Turkey, is located in a valley on the slopes of KARCAL Mountains. The region took its present form in 1921 with the border agreement between Russia and Turkey. After a referendum held in the region, 12 of the 18 villages located in the valley decided to stay in Georgia territory; whereas the remaining 6 villages decided to stay within the borders of Turkey.The names of 6 villages in Turkey are CAMILI (the central village), Efeler,Kayalar, Uğur, Düzenli and Maral. The Georgian border passes right below Camili (Macahel) Village. MACAHEL is one of the unique beauties of the Black Sea region. It is a natural wonder surrounded by mountains and Turkey’s first biosphere area, approved by UNESCO in 2006.
The most important livelihood of peasants is beekeeping and honey production from the pure Caucasion bee. Due to the difference in altitude a rich flora exists in the region.
World biosphere reserve area
Protected area of global importance
Originally Georgian villages
Small homestays and guesthouses
Day 1. Hopa to Macahel valley and Maral village.
After being met at Hopa airport, drive to Maral village in the Macahel valley. Maral has a lovely old wooden mosque. check in into Hamdi teacher’s guesthouse and continue with a walk to amazing Maral waterfall. The water falls from 63 meters and created a small lake which is a perfect place for swimming. Then return to Maral for night at Hamdi teacher’s guesthouse, where we share a floor in the house. Dinner is from local products and Hamdi teacher shares stories and information about folkdances and history.
Walk: 6 km
Day 2. Maral and Meratta Yaylası
Following a breakfast with a beautiful view continue to Meretta Yaylası, a rather large high plateau (2.011 m) with several possibilities for hiking and camping. After we explored the plateau free time to pick blueberries or photograph flowers and butterflies. It’s optionally possible to join the walk to (Gudan) Kuyruklu Lake. The water of the lake is very clear; a sparkling oasis surrounded by flower fields on the hills.
Walk: 5 km
Night: pension on the highland plateau.
Regional food specialities:
Mıhlama’ or ‘kuymak‘ is a Turkish Black Sea regional breakfast favourite. A favourite breakfast staple in Turkey’s northern Black Sea region is a delicious blend of local cheeses melted together with coarsely ground cornmeal. Aged cheeses work the best, especially the local cheeses.
Day 3. Meratta Yaylası to Maral Şelalesi and Maçahel
Following a traditional local breakfast, the guide will give some information about Macahel (Camili), today’s destination and program. We start with a 17 km’s walk to Macahel. In Macahel visit to TEMA foundation, who play an active role for the protection of the region, to get information regarding the development project.
Walk: 17 km
Non- walkers are dropped on panoramic points en route and Yayla villages.
Night: pension in Maçahel.
Day 4. Maçahel to Görgit Yaylası and Beyazsu Yaylası
After another tasty breakfast with fresh products head to Efeler valley, a quiet location with houses dotted all over the hillsides, sometimes in clusters with neighbours, sometimes remotely. Sturdy wooden bridges, built many years ago are placed over the over the fast flowing river gushing through the valley. From Efeler we continue to Gorgit Yayla plateau, another untouched highland plateau at 1.700 m. After a comfortable walk to very old trees and lunch at the village we set off to Beyazsu yayla past Gorgit waterfall, which is a very nice place for photo- or swimming-break. Beyazsu is known for its white waters that flow down from rocks.
Walk: 12 km
Non-walkers spend more time at waterfall and Görgit yaylasi
Night : guesthouse on Beyazsu yayla. We are welcomed with accordion music.
Day 5. Beyazsu Yaylası to Yıldız Gölü and Beyazsu Yaylası
After breakfast at our guesthouse get ready for a trek to Yıldız Lake, a Glacier Lake at an altitude of 2.900 m. During the hike ( 7 km) wonderful views on Macahel valley; lakes flower fields and Karçal Mountains. After lunch on the lake continue the trek to the snow covered flanks of Mt Ziyaret (2.940 m) and return to guesthouse on Beyazsu Yayla.
Walk: 14 km
Non-walkers are dropped are dropped at panoramic points and Glacier lake.
Night: guesthouse at Beyazsu yayla.
Day 6. Beyazsu Yaylası to Karagöl and Hopa. ( onward travel)
The walk (17 km) on this last day leads from Otingo (Spa) forest (1.250 m) to Karagöl Lake in Borçka. The views on this walk past Atanoğlu Yaylası and Saklıcennet (hidden-heaven) are marvellous again.
Walk: 17 km
Non-walkers can visit the hot water pool in Balcı. The thermal pools (32 degrees C.) were discovered during the reign of Georgian queen Tamara, ca 300 years ago
After lunch at Lake Karogöl explore the surroundings on foot or rent a small boat to explore the lake before returning to Hopa for flight or bus back home.
İncluded in the price:
• All transport and transfers, accommodation and food
• 5 nights in guesthouses and house on the yayla.
• Breakfast 5 x
• Dinner 5 x
• Packed lunches 4 x
• Türsab insurance.
• Turkish Local guide (English speaking)
Excluded in the price
• Flights to/from Hopa ( Batumi airport) or bus to/from Hopa
Flights to/from Trabzon. Every 30 minutes a Havaş service bus departs for Hopa
As we want to start early, pls book an early flight to Trabzon. (ca 09.00 hrs arrival in Trabzon) on the first day and as we have a full program, a late flight on the last day. (ca 20.00 hrs from Trabzon)
Minimum 8 persons- Maximum 14 persons
Price € 350 p.p
Single supplement € 50
Note: The route on the south side of the Karçal Mountains is not difficult. Everybody in good shape can join this program and walks.
Participants who don’t want to walk can participate in village life and learn about production of milk, cheese, handicrafts and enjoy events on the yayla and villages.