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Trail to the Singing Rocks Reserve

An equestrian adventure in the heart of the Balkan Mountains and the Central Balkan National Park, where lies the impressive reserve called The Singing Rocks. This is an exceptional rock phenomenon, which derives its name from the typical sound, resembling whistling, when the wind blows between the crags, that crown the ancient Beech forest. The reserve is homeland to many endangered species like Golden Eagle, Brown Bear, Ural Owl, White-backed Woodpecker etc. The riding to the reserve is very varying as to the terrain and pace. The hilly paths and the open treeless meadows on the top of the mountains are just created for big riding experiences. The trail in the Balkan Mountains is going through a protected area. The air is as clean as the creek we ride through – over – along. And the sceneries of the surrounding high peaks and massifs in the area are just breathtaking. After a few days you will get familiar with the peaks Mt. Botev (2376m), Maragidik, Mazalat etc. Riding on-top of the ridges you will experience the differences in the northern and southern sides of the Balkan range – two faces of one glorious mountain, which is also the longest one in Bulgaria.

Day by day program

Day 1. Welcome meeting at Sofia Airport. Transfer to Apriltsi in the Balkan Mountains (appr. 3 hours). Accommodation in a cosy and new Guest House in the centre of the village in double rooms with shower/toilet. Welcome dinner and presentation of the coming week.
Day 2. In the morning you will meet your horse for the first time and will be able to fall into your horse’s ways during the introduction ride around the charming small town of Apriltsi. Around noon we will make a short stop for a picnic near one of the rivers. Eventually we ride back to the riding base along different route, trying our horses following different paces.
Day 3. After breakfast we start the trail heading North-East through remote tiny villages with traditional architecture from the Bulgarian Revival and small rivers. At a creek we'll eat our lunch and after about 6 hours in the saddles and riding along the Balkan ridge over beautiful meadows we reach the small village Tabashko right under the foothill of the mysterious mountain Mara Gidik. We stay in an old style and comfortable guest house. The panorama view from the village to the great national park is astonishing.
Day 4. Starting from Tabashko we continue on through dense woods, farmland and nimble creeks until we reach the charming mountain villages of Stokite and Kupen. Lunch at Emilovo - a peaceful settlement with an amazing view to the Balkan ridge. In the afternoon we ride in trot and gallop to through an area with many red and roe deer, chamois and brown bear. The days ride is about 6 - 7 hours before we reach the mountain chalet "Partizanska Pesen".
Day 5. After breakfast we ascent through old wood and well up on the pastures on the top we enjoy the fantastic views over north and south Bulgaria at the same time. The pastures give us the possibility to trot and gallop. At a nice little stream we will enjoy a picnic. We continue in the national park on the open meadows. In a couple of hours more we will get to “Mazalat” hut, where we will stay for the night.
Day 6. The trail takes us further into the national park as we ride towards The Singing Rocks reserve. If the wind is blowing we may be lucky to hear the rocks sing. In the reserve itself there are two short stages where you will have to get off and lead the horse for some 20-30m. The ride today will be roughly 25km and we will need about 7 hrs to complete it. Overnight stay will be arranged in formed dairy, situated at about 1450m a.s.l., where we will be able to watch the sun going down behind the peaks Botev and Maragidik as we have dinner by the fire.
Day 7. After breakfast we will ride backwards in the northern direction, closing the ride circle. We ride down the mountains, leave the national park and eventually arrive in Apriltsi and the riding base nearby, which we already know from our first two nights in the area. Farewell dinner in the evening.
Day 8. Breakfast and free time. Transfer to Sofia Airport for departure.

Departure dates for 2019 (limited group size): Please contact us for details! No. of riders: 8 riders

Accommodation:
The trail is based on 7 nights. 3 nights with private accommodation in Apriltsi (2-3 bedded en-suite rooms), 1 night in a monastery and 3 nights in a mountain hut (2-5 per room; shared bathroom). The trail is with full board. Mineral water is included at all meals, but other drinks are to be paid on spot in leva. Accommodation in 2 or 3 bedded rooms. Single room on request only (against additional fee).You have access to a bathroom every day but not in the room every day.

Recommended items:
riding helmet, riding boots, riding pants and chaps, gloves (spurs are not needed), natural insect repellent, warm clothes, rain gear, spare clothes, sunscreen lotion, wet wipes, water bottle, passport, insurance, towel (for the overnights in the mountains); we recommend that you bring more than 15kg and that you use a duffel bag (as your luggage will be loaded in and out of the cars many times and it is important that you don’t bring more than you actually need); put your clothes in plastic bags;

Notes:
Transfer from/to Sofia Airport is organised as one transport for all arriving and departing guests. We recommend arrival not later than 18:00 and departure not earlier than 12:00. The transport is planned after latest arrival / first departure in the group; If a guest is having a stay in Sofia before/after the riding holiday the meeting/farewell point is still in the airport; All guests must be in a possession of an insurance covering your riding holiday in Bulgaria; There are more than 25 horses in the riding base – all of them in good condition and trained to ride in the mountains; Most of the horses are of the East Bulgarian breed and crossings with Arabians and local horses; The East Bulgarian breed is well known as tough, thoughtful and wise, and in harmony with the famous strength and power of the Arabian it gives a combination that fully satisfies the riders and the challenges in the nature; The average size is 160-165 cm. The saddles are Western (Australian or American). There are small saddlebags.

Price: Please contact us for details!

Single room supplement: 15 Euro per person per night (in hotels only)

The price includes: transfer from/to Sofia airport, accommodation as mentioned above, 7 nights with full board, fully equipped ”own horse”, English-speaking riding guide during the trail and luggage transport.

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