Hello my name is Sergey Chebotov, I am owner of country lodge Kiya and the company "Russia Adventure Holidays".
I became keen on mountain climbing and ski tourism in the early 1970s. Although back then we did not have the opportunity to travel abroad, there were numerous mountains to climb and many unexplored places for the most difficult ski trips in the USSR. On trips to Yakutia or to the north of the Khabarovsk Territory, we would not meet a single person for a month. Late 1980s brought the opportunity to set up my own business. In 1989, I started one of the first adventure tourism companies under the umbrella of the Sputnik youth travel agency.
In the following year for the first time I hosted a group from the US. It was the crew of Fishing the West TV show. Meeting Americans was as unusual to me as the first visit to the Soviet Union to them, so apart from fishing and filming we had so much to discuss and learn about our countries and people. It helped me to challenge many stereotypes. I plan to talk about it in more detail in my blog. The Americans had filmed enough footage for three films about fishing, two of which were shot with our help.
In 1991, we arranged a kayak trip along the northern coast of Baikal for another group of Americans, they were one of the first foreign tourists to see the lake. Having arranged rafting tours for foreigners in the Khabarovsk Territory as well, we ran the Akishma, one of the most difficult rivers for rafting there, with a group from USA. Another group of American tourists was taken on a hike to the picturesque Dusse-Alin mountain range in 1991. The route began in the then closed for foreigners city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur. Authorisation was received through cooperation with Sputnik. These were the first foreigners who visited Komsomolsk-on-Amur, met with the Far Eastern Old Believers, visited the gold mines and saw the beauty of the Far Eastern mountains. I also succeeded in bringing American tourists to Kamchatka in 1992 thanks to Sputnik.
At the same time it became clear to me that there were not so many extreme sports fans who would be prepared to camp out in wilderness conditions. The bulk of our guests would like to have all the necessary conveniences such as shower and warm toilets, so in 1992 I built a tourist base camp on the outskirts of a taiga village 120 km from Khabarovsk. In winter, you can put skis on right by the porch and set off to the forest. For hundreds of kilometers there are no settlements between this place and the coast of the Okhotsk Sea, so the visitors are able to get acquainted with the unique flora of the Ussuri taiga, learn about the habitat conditions of tigers, bears and wild boars, see their tracks and even spot the animals.
Over the years, we have had a lot of visitors from all over the world. We try to receive them as guests, not just tourists. They get to taste traditional Russian cuisine and learn about the unique nature of these places and the lives of people in remote Russian villages. Our guests enjoy Russian banya (sauna) with its oak twigs hot massage, snow diving and heart-to-heart talks over a cup of herbal tea. Stay with us for a night or a few days and forget about the city bustle in peace and silence.
We organise tiger tracking tours in cooperation with the Durminskoye forest reserve. Alexander Batalov who runs the reserve is truly one of the best game managers in the Far East. Knowing the habits of tigers and other animals that inhabit the Ussuri taiga, he willingly shares his experience with the guests. Such tours guarantee you will be able to see tiger tracks and even take photos of the animals using camera traps. It is possible to observe and take pictures of wapiti at the salt licks of the reserve, as well as Himalayan and brown bears.
We also combine visits to our country lodge with tours around the Far East to such places as the Shantar Islands or Kamchatka. I have extensive experience in organising tours to these regions. Over 8 years I worked as a summertime instructor in Kamchatka. I have climbed the Avachinsky volcano more than 30 times and three time the Koryak volcano. I have visited the Valley of Geysers and other impressive places in Kamchatka. Besides, I have maintained good relationships with the travel companies in Kamchatka and the local guides.
Now the times have changed, I have the opportunity to travel around the world. I was able to fulfill my youthful dreams and ascend such mountains as Mont Blanc, Kilimanjaro, Aconcagua, Lenin Peak and, of course, Elbrus. Thus, the tours I organise to these places are based on my personal experience.