The 2.4km Martvili Canyon is located in western Georgia, and we stopped on our way when driving between Kutaisi and Mestia.
A short walk down a slope took us to the Visitors’ Centre where tickets were purchased, and we continued on down towards the river where we donned life jackets.
The inflatable boats took six, but as we were one of the first trips of the day and it wasn’t busy, Roy sat at the front, I was in the middle and two Koreans squashed in behind me. Although we had an oarsman at the rear, we were also given two oars to help on the return trip which was against the current.
The 300m stretch of Abasah River took about 10 minutes to navigate, before we turned around. However, the scenery was interesting with steep sides, up to 70m in places, overhanging rocks, small waterfalls, moss covered boulders and turquoise water.
Afterwards, we explored what should have been a 700m circular hiking trail along the river, although due to some ongoing improvement works, we had to stop and turnaround. The trail is said to have two bridges, three viewing platforms, and lots of steps including a 30-step historic staircase built from limestone.
Because of the environment and threatening rain, it was very slippery in places and required a high degree of concentration despite wearing rubber-soled shoes. Fortunately, there was a good handrail to hang on to but the level of visitors, often in large selfie-snapping groups, didn’t help. We felt it would be lethal in wet weather and it’s certainly not recommended for anyone with mobility issues.
As we walked up through the souvenir stalls, it began to rain, and we didn’t tarry.
We later discovered that boat trips can be cancelled in bad weather or because of fluctuating water levels (either too high or too low).