We invite you to join one of our expeditions to raft the Çoruh River, a world-class white-water river. For adrenaline addicts, the highest water levels are in May and early June; after mid-June water levels start to drop so this is the time to come if you are looking for a more relaxing trip. Fed by snow-melt from the Eastern Black Sea Mountains in north-east Turkey, the Çoruh flows through spectacular canyons and narrow, fertile valleys of orchards and tiny paddy fields, past ancient ruined castles, all set against a backdrop of magnificent rugged mountains.
|Seljuk Medresse in Erzurum|
Alternatif Outdoor has been running regular expeditions on the Coruh River since 1992 and is still the only Turkish company to operate tours on this river. We believe our local knowledge of the area and the people will substantially enhance your enjoyment of the trip.
Itinerary - 5 Day Tour
From Erzurum to the river. Our guides meet you at Erzurum airport, where you have a final chance to finish any personal shopping e.g. sun-cream, beer etc. Then we have a three-hour minibus journey to our first campsite at Maden. Dinner (D).
Rafting. After a safety briefing we start our journey downriver (class II) to our next campsite at Ispir (1100m), a remote but interesting little town with a castle perched on a rock pinnacle. In the evening we have the chance to explore the castle and town, and to inspect the first section of the exciting rapids that await us tomorrow. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (BLD).
|Old Georgian Church|
Rafting. Todays route starts in a spectacular canyon and the adrenaline keeps pumping as we pass through back-to-back rapids. 'White Horses', 'Nightmare' and 'The Minister's Rapid' are some of the rapids we will run today. Our campsite tonight is in a pretty orchard at Çamlikaya. BLD.
Rafting. On our left, mountains rise to 2000m peaks, and many fast flowing streams add their power to the Coruh. On our right are tiny terraced paddy fields, and ruined castles clinging to riverside rock pinnacles. After tackling rapids such as 'Frog's Piss' and 'The French Hole' we arrive at Tekkale village, also known in Turkish as 'Four Churches'. In June this village of cherry orchards is laden with fruit. BLD.
Rafting. An early start for a morning of thrilling rafting in the Class 5 Yusufeli Gorge, where we tackle the most exhilarating rapids of the week, including 'King Kong, House Rock, Sculpture Rock and Number Three. Huge boulders force the water into steep chutes and churning holes that seem bigger than the raft. Transfer to Erzurum to catch the afternoon flight to Istanbul. B.
Itinerary - 4 Day Tour
Arrive Erzurum airport on mid-morning flight. Lunch in Erzurum. Transfer by minibus to Yedigöze. Chance to explore Ispir town in late afternoon / evening. D.
Rafting including White Horses. Camp in orchard at Çamlıkaya. BLD.
Rafting Camlikayka-Tekkale - as for Day 4 above. Camp. BLD.
Rafting Yusufeli Gorge - as for day 5 above. Transfer to Erzurum to catch the afternoon flight to Istanbul. B.
Why Alternatif Outdoor?
|Canyon Section of
the Coruh River
In addition, Alternatif is the only Turkish company to operate rafting tours on the Çoruh, and has been running trips on this river since 1992. Our guides local knowledge of the language, the area and the people is bound to add an extra dimension to your holiday.
Our guides are all experienced professional river guides. We employ guides of various nationalities. All speak English to a high standard. There will be at least one Turkish-speaker on each tour.
Generally the weather is good, with lots of hot sunny days. Cooling down in the river is no problem, but sunburn can be, so come prepared. Earlier in the season occasional rain is possible, in which case the weather is cooler, and evenings on the first few days of the trip can be cool. The river water is cold but not icy - wet suits will be carried and can be worn where required.
We use rafts carrying up to 8 people plus a guide. Generally we use paddle-boats, which means that each person has a paddle which they use to help power and steer the raft, under the command of the river guide. Its energetic and exhilarating, and your crew will soon be able to work together effectively as a team.
We welcome kayakers with experience of grade 5 white water to join our groups. We have a number of Prijon and Eskimo kayaks available for hire if required; or you may prefer to bring your own kayak.
Grading System for Rapids
We use the internationally recognised system, as follows:
Grade 1 - flat water
Grade 2 - small rapids, waves up to 1 metre high, easy to negotiate
Grade 3 - rapids with irregular waves, manoeuvring required in narrow passages
Grade 4 - turbulent water, sudden and powerful manoeuvring required
Grade 5 - long and violent rapids, strong turbulence, very powerful and precise manoeuvring required
Grade 6 - impassable!
Where we say a section of the river is a particular grade, it refers to the maximum grade to be found in that section; there may also be easier stretches. The Çoruh is a grade 5 river - this does not mean that you require any previous experience, but you do need an adventurous approach to life! You will definitely get wet. It is important that you are a fairly confident swimmer and are not afraid of being underwater for short periods as you will almost certainly find yourself in the river at some point. Apart from this, a reasonable level of overall fitness is sufficient.
|Coruh River Rapids|
During the trip we camp wild by the riverside, which means of course that there are no organised facilities. Relaxing around a campfire after a satisfying meal, watching the stars unobscured by artificial lights, with no sound but that of the river and wildlife - the perfect way to savour the outdoor life in this beautiful country. We use two-person tents, which are easy to erect and take down - you and your partner will be responsible for your own tent at each campsite. The guides will appreciate your assistance in general camp duties. A portable camp WC is provided.
Many of our guests join our tours alone, but soon become part of the team. If you come alone, please be prepared to share a tent and room. Single supplement option not available.
You are in for a treat here! Turkish markets are full of wonderful fresh produce and we aim to give you a flavour of genuine Turkish cuisine. Vegetarians will find plenty of choice too. The meals are usually prepared by the guides, but they welcome assistance, with the washing up if nothing else.
Why is the Price 'River Only'?
Many people who visit Turkey want to spend extra time exploring the country, as there are so many other things to see and do. Our programme gives you the flexibility to make your own arrangements before or afterwards, without forcing you to incur unnecessary travel costs. You simply have to ensure that you are at the meeting point on the start date of the tour, at the time that we will advise you.
Most European airlines have daily flights to Istanbul. From there Turkish Airlines run two flights a day to Erzurum. We can assist you with arranging your accommodation, and advise you regarding flights if you wish. On request we can also assist you with any other travel plans you might have in Turkey.
What to Bring
Two-season sleeping bag, mat, water bottle, 2 pairs of sports shoes or sports sandals (one pair will be worn in the boat and will get wet), torch, swimming costume, pocket knife, wool pullover or warm fleece jacket, woollen socks, personal toiletries, T-shirts, shorts, warm hat, sun hat, sun cream, walking boots or shoes (optional), warm long-sleeved shirt or sweat shirt, one pair of trousers, light raincoat or cajole, insect repellent.
Please note that on some trips (depending on the group size) we may be carrying all our equipment on the boats with us. Space will be at a premium, so it is very important not to bring unnecessary items. If you are planning to do more travelling before or after the river trip, we can arrange for you to leave your extra luggage in a safe place in a hotel in Erzurum on day 1, to be picked up at the end of the tour (no extra charge).
Anything carried in the raft is likely to get wet and anything not attached to the raft may be lost overboard! We recommend that you bring a waterproof camera if you want to take photos while on the river. Other cameras can be carried in waterproof barrels while on the river - but you should accept that there is still a risk that some of your gear may get wet.
The tour price includes everything during the programme, except for purely personal spending such as souvenirs, toiletries, alcoholic drinks etc.
Visitors of most nationalities need to get a three-month visa when they arrive at Turkish passport control. The price varies depending on your nationality. For example, for British passport holders it costs £10. Check with your local Turkish embassy or consulate.
No vaccination certificates are legally required for entry into Turkey. Check with your doctor for up-to-date information on recommended protection. Generally protection against Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Polio and Typhoid is advised. Malaria does not occur in Turkey except in low-lying parts in the south-east, so should not be of concern.
We strongly recommend that you take out personal travel insurance, to cover medical expenses and other travel risks such as loss of baggage, cancellation etc.
The Turkish people in all parts of the country are extremely hospitable and generally friendly towards foreigners. Turkey is pretty modern and westernised in the big cities and tourist resorts, but attitudes and the way of life are still very conservative and traditional in the north-east. For this reason loose fitting clothing is most practical, acceptable and comfortable; shorts and revealing clothing should be avoided in towns and in the homes of local people. Also, excessive consumption of alcohol in public places is not appreciated.
Group Size: 5 - 18 participants.
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