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Home » HORSES » Trail to Mount Botev » About the trail


Trail to Mt. Botev through “hell and paradise” - off the beaten horse riding tracks in the Balkan Mountains

On the top of Mt. Botev with Riding base Balkan
It 3 years already since we were at the top of the Balkan Mountains with horses and riders and in 2011 we give you the chance, if you haven’t been there yet and if you’re ready for the challenge to ride through the reserve Severem Djendem may be accompanied by golden eagles to higest peak in the Balkan range. It is a very special trail.

Balkan Trail - Ridetrek over 2 bjergeAre you ready for a unique nature experience and are you ready for a riding challenge off the beaten horse riding tracks in the Balkan Mountains?

Mount Botev(2376m) is the highest peak in the Balkan Range from which you will experience the most dramatic view to the northern and southern Bulgaria. Dismounting your horse up here is really something very special – and even more special if you have passed the reserve Severen Djendem. The name means “Northern Hell” and is the highest reserve in the Central Balkan National Park, encompassing a beautiful, wild, and inaccessible section of the Central Balkan Range. The Reserve includes the nearly vertical northern slopes below Mt. Botev: looming rock tiers, short and steep watersheds, overhanging cliffs, rock bridges, jaded cornices, deep precipices, numerous waterfalls, as well as grassy terraces. From the top we ride down through the largest reserve Djendema (Hell) centred on granite extrusion near Mt. Botev, combined with limestone outcroppings to form steep slopes; deep, narrow gorges; massive rock cliffs; and huge waterfalls. The waterfall Raiskoto Praskalo (Paradise waterfall) is directly below Mt. Botev! Because of its specific geological and climatic conditions, the area is rich in endemic species and rare plants. The trail brings us right into the home of the Balkan chamois, bear, wolf, red deer, roe, golden eagle, peregrine falcon, and wall creeper. This area actually comprises the only rock complex with centuries-old forests, rock faces and precipices known in Bulgaria, as well as the mightiest rock belt in Bulgaria, Djendemite.


To wake up in Hizha Rai (Rai is paradise in Bulgarian) is like a dream – you have a gorgeous view to the majestic cliffs and the waterfall and the next morning you will get a complete contrary experience waking up in the monastery where we also stay overnight and definitely will enjoy the quiet spirit overwhelming this magic place. And when the church bells ring and a new day’s ride along the Balkan Mountains is waiting we’ll pass the heroic town of Kalofer and you will experience the atmosphere of belongingness to the mountains, the nature and freedom and enter the Central Balkan National Park at Tazha. From here remains an incredible farewell view to the peaks and the endless meadows of the Balkan Mountains and the final downhill ride to Riding base Balkan.


Highlights:
Extreme riding in magnificent nature! To reach the summit of Mt. Botev on horseback! Raiskoto Praskalo (124,5 m) – the highest waterfall on the Balkan Peninsula! Unforgettable and tremendous experience in how horses survive and behave in high rocky mountains!

Day by day program

Day 1

Meeting with the rep from Riding base Balkan in the airport and drive to the mountains. Hotel accommodation in double rooms. Dinner.
After dinner you will get the final information about the expected weather conditions, packing, how to ride the horses at steep crossings etc.

Day 2

In the morning you will meet the horses we have chosen and trained specially for this trail. Our ride today is to “Mandrata” on the top of the Balkan Mountains – riding off the beaten horse riding tracks and on paths and through canyons never ridden on our trails! The first part of the ride is in a fast tempo where you really will get acquainted with your horse and after that we start riding straight uphill. We overnight in a former dairy in about 1450 m. 2-4 bedded rooms with sh/toilet. We enjoy the dinner at the fire and watch the sun going down behind the mountain peaks Maragidik (1889 m) and Botev (2376 m).

Day 3

We start in the morning packing our gear and head the top of the mountains. We ride along the magic Severen Djendem Reserve and our preparations to this trail are tested. The say “the mountains divide the country in two parts” will be so very evident to you after today. Hopefully we’ll reach the summit in the afternoon and from there we have only 30 minutes of steep downhill riding to the shelter where we stay overnight.

Day 4

Today’s ride is from “hell to paradise” – literally spoken (may be). When the sun rise and expectations for the day are right in front of you we ride downhill to crossways and borders of the reserves and the nature park, we pass through challenging canyons and over the most fabulous places. We’ll ride about 15 km in about 5 hours and we will ride through the Djendemja Reserve before we in the afternoon will reach the big mountain hut Hizha Rai. In the afternoon we recommend a short walk to the highest waterfall in on the Balkan Peninsula: Raiskoto Praskalo (124,5 m /408,4 ft).

Day 5

From this alluring place we ride downhill through the old wood and to the open meadows at the foothill of the Balkan Mountains where the Valley of Roses starts. During the whole day you will experience the magic atmosphere of this area and the horses will show you what down hill riding means! We’ll ride about 19 km in about 5 hours to the monastery where we stay overnight. After the ride we recommend a short walk to Byala reka (an eco-path in the canyon).

Day 6

We start at the monastery meadows, continue to the picturesque mountain village of Kalofer and ride along the foothill of the Balkan Mountains. The lunch will take place on the terrace of a hospitable Bulgarian family. The trail brings us back into the “Central Balkan National Park” and in an altitude of about 1250 m we stay overnight in the Hizha Triglav. Today you’ll ride about 20 km in 5-6 hours.

Day 7

After breakfast we ride in the northern direction and the circle ride is closed. We ride down the mountains, leave the national park and come down in Apriltsi. The ride of the day is about 5 hours and we end in Riding base Balkan. We will overnight in the same hotel as the first night. Dinner in the hotel.

Day 8

Breakfast and free time until departure for the airport.

About the accommodation, food and drink:
On this trail you will have the first and last overnight in a cozy Guest House with double rooms and private facilities. In the mountains you overnight in a shelter, mountain huts and a mountain monastery. Sleeping bag is not needed as you will get a pillow and blankets. One night you will not have you own bed, but the ultimate mountain expedition experience! In the mountains the electricity and water supply is limited and the bathing facilities are primitive. On trail with Riding base Balkan all meals are arranged from arrival to departure.

Balkan Trail - Ridetrek over 2 bjergeHorses and equipment:
For this trail ride we use only rather small horses with proven skills in extreme riding situations. They are in top condition for this trail. From day 3 in the morning to day 5 in the evening you have only the luggage our packing horses can have on their bag. (Limited baggage allowance). From day 3-5 your luggage is safe behind the monastery walls.

Riding skills:
You should be an experienced rider, fit and secure in the saddle. You are fully confident and competent riding in the open. On this trail the rider weight limit is 90 kg/ 14,1 stone/ 198 lbs and a perfect up-to-date riding fitness is required. In addition you should have a good head for heights. Due to the mountainous terrain the pace is mostly slow but challenging asking for a quiet and patient mind. But there are opportunities for trot, canter and some fast gallops. This ride is therefore very suitable for experienced riders with a spirit of adventure.

Weather conditions:

We have chosen the ultimate dates for this ride, but the weather in this area is known as though and unpredictable. On the top on Mt. Botev is a staffed metrological station – thanks to our local net-work we have the best possible access to their know-how. Normal temperatures on the top in the period are 2-8 degrees in the morning and 12-18 degrees celcius during the day. On the southern slopes up to 30 degrees celcius during the day.

Guaranteed departures:
Guaranteed departure in 2015 for TRAIL TO MOUNT BOTEV on 22/8

Price: EUR 995 – more details here

More information / book your horse riding vacation right here

In 2014 we had premiere on our new Balkan High Mountain Trail – in 2015 we have these departure dates: 20/6, 12/9. Please contact us if you want to join a group.

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