Gona often called as Georgian Switzerland is a beautiful village located in Chveshura river gorge, accessible from village Ghebi by jeep or hike. Gona is must see during any jeep tour in Racha region because of impressive summit which stands in front of you and inspires many photographers or just anyone who admires mountain villages, alpine valleys, rivers and mighty glaciers. The village itself and people who live there till the first snow are simple.
There are no towers, no special sightseeings, area is not touristic, there is no guesthouse, only in Ghebi, so If you plan to visit it make sure it is sunny, if you are not staying there with locals, or you are not camping, plan to visit in the morning or in the evening when visibility is better. The views to the summits are quite spectacular especially in June/July/October in the days of good weather/visibility.
Locked in winter by snow, Gona is located 1700m from the sea level, 7-8km from Village Ghebi which is base for many remarkable hikes in Racha region. Only 4wd car can reach Gona from Ghebi and the road is quite challenging. It’s preferable to take hired car as road is stony and not in the best condition. Make sure you take your ID or get a permit as there is a military post at the end of the village (where our gps track ends) if you are planning to visit glaciers beyond village at the border of Russia.
Glaciers of Summit Tsitela (4259m) which is west from Laboda (4313m) and one of the largest glaciers of Rioni Gorge – Kirtisho (lengths 6.45 km , width in the middle 600m) are the reason of this incredible beauty. It’s possible to do approximately 8km hike to the glacier from border guards post, or at least part of the path till the place which locals call Chanchakhi with impressive views to glaciers and rocks around.
In early summer (times of high water) it might be harder to reach glaciers due to harder river crossing. Just remember that u will need to have a permit to hike beyond Gona. Permits can be made in Oni faster at local Border police office. Also remember that Gona you can see from above when you visit Notsara and not just Gona.
For the map please see: