The West-Georgian lowlands harbour a huge wetland complex, known since ancient times as ‘Kolkhis’. It consists of open water bodies such as the Paleostomi lake, fen mires, small creeks, water-logged forest and majestic rivers such as the Rioni, one of the last two last spawning places of the critically endangered European Sea Sturgeon (Acipenser sturio). Naturally, it forms a major stop-over site for migratory birds on the East Black Sea flyway.

We recommend taking a boat trip, which takes you across the Paleostomi lake and into the small channels crisscrossing the reed beds and fen mires east of the lake. You will pass several heronries, and on the lake usually some White-tailed Eagles and Ospreys are hunting. Thousands of ducks winter here, along with small flocks of Dalmatian Pelicans.

The beach near the boat departure point is also worth checking. It is unusually rich in waders, and both Greater and Lesser Sand Plovers have been recorded here.