The tourist centre “Nezhnaya” is built near the cave, the centre’s staff look after the cave. A large raft centre arranging rafting on the Belaya River is also situated nearby. Even a novice can participate in this activity, the main thing is to choose the right route.
There is a very simple one with the length of 10 km, starting from Boshtannikova clearing. This is rather an excursion route than sports one. During the excursion you will be told about the life of the Cossacks and taught to manage a raft, you will be able to swim at the confluence of two rivers - Belaya and Dakh, cold one and warm one, as well as to test your strength at a small riffle “Dakhovskaya Bochka” of the 1st grade of complexity.
The complexity of rafting depends on the section of the river. The upper reaches of the Belaya River are really hard, the competition of sportspeople “Interalli-Belaya” has been held there for several years. The difficult route 7 km long with the riffles of the 4th grade begins there, near the village of Guzeripl.
The most difficult route passes through Seregin Canyon. It is not just rafting, but a real expedition: first you should go by car, then by feet, carrying the gear on your back and take the tributaries of the Belaya River by storm. Only a walking way to the starting point takes about three and a half hours. After that you will be rewarded by rafting through the hard-to-reach narrow canyon with the width not exceeding that of a raft in some places, and the river’s flow and riffles won’t let you relax. Instructors say that the canyon cannot be seen otherwise - only from water.
There is one more entertainment, a kind of attraction - the riffle “Moskovskaya Bochka” of the 4th grade. A try to pass it takes about half an hour and costs 300 roubles, and the impressions will last for a long time, especially if the raft flips over, which happens quite often. In addition to rafting, you can take a crack at hang gliding. However, not really: there is a so-called “Glider” simulator at the centre. This glider “flies” on a trolley, and you can learn to manage it during this flight.
Nezhnaya (“Tender”) Cave is situated at the eastern edge of the Azish-Tau Ridge of Lago-Naki plateau, at an altitude of 1400 meters above sea level, between the source of the river Chinarka (Mezmai) and a rock wall encircling the ridge from the east. The unusual name refers to the tender age of the cave’s vaults and the fragility of “young” stalactites and stalagmites. The age of Nezhnaya Cave, as well as of other caves of Lago-Naki plateau, is considerable - more than two million years. But its vault is much younger. It was formed after the crash that occurred about 25 thousand years ago. That is very recently by the standards of the mountains. This discrepancy – an ancient cave floor and the young vault – are seen by the naked eye.
The floor, polished with water during many thousands of years, is dark and smooth, powerful stalagmites one and a half meters long grow out of it; at the same time small and sharp white stalactites are seen on the light-toned vaults. The cave was discovered in 1975, and not by scientists, but by the builders of the road Maikop - Dagomys. The entrance was opened in the course of blasting operations. They invited speleologists immediately, but until 1998 the cave remained, so to say, in a wild state, free for public.
The cave is a small chamber: 95 m long, with the volume of 510 cubic meters, the depth of 7 m. It consists of two parts connected by a low manhole. At first only the first hall was open – the one that is now the “hallway”. It is called “Atamansky Hall” (“Chieftain’s Hall”): according to a legend, local bandits hid their loot here in the early twentieth century. Today the hall stands out only in its unsightliness. On this site the cave has already “died”: everything available was torn off from walls and ceilings, and the traces of soot from the fires are left on the ceiling - maybe the fires were burnt by those very bandits. The entrance to the next hall was made artificially in 1998, when the cave became an excursion facility. A manhole 10 m long leads to the Corallite Hall. Bones of animals and humans were found here, and it is assumed that the cave was once inhabited. The third hall, seemingly not very much different from the second one, is Kolokolny Hall (“Bell Hall”). It has a very good acoustics, and the guides demonstrate this by hitting the duralumin pipes hanging from the vaults. It sounds like music.
Author: Anna Dorozhkina