Do I need a visa to visit South Ossetia?
The Republic of South Ossetia does not have a visa system in place. Instead, all international visitors, except for citizens of the Russian Federation, need to be on a “permitted travellers” list on the border post. If you travel with Travel South Ossetia, we will make sure you are on the list!
As you will leave the Russian Federation to South Ossetia and later return to the Russian Federation on your way out, you will need a double (or multi) entry visa for Russia. We are happy to assist in the application process for the Russian visa and provide a diplomatic note to ensure it is issued.
Can I visit South Ossetia from Georgia?
No, the border between South Ossetia and Georgia is completely closed for international visitors. Only residents of the Leningor/Akhalgori District of South Ossetia are allowed to cross.
The only entry/exit point to South Ossetia is the Ruk Tunnel (Georgian: Roki Tunnel) between North Ossetia (part of Russia) and South Ossetia.
Coming from Georgia, you can, however, take a marshrutka (minibus) or taxi to Vladikavkaz in Russia, where we would be able to pick you up and take you to South Ossetia.
Will travelling to South Ossetia have any negative consequences for me?
In the eyes of the Georgian government, visiting South Ossetia from Russia is illegal, yes. Theoretically, you might be persecuted for this, if you ever return to Georgia.
To make sure that your travel freedom isn’t harmed for the future, neither the Russian authorities, nor the South Ossetian authorities, will stamp your passport or glue in a visa for South Ossetia. Thus, your travel documents show no proof of your travel to South Ossetia in the future. Thanks to this, we know of many travellers who visit Georgia later without any problems.
How can I pay my tour?
As South Ossetia is banned from the international banking system, you cannot make a transfer to us directly, sadly. Thus, we can only accept cash payments on arrival or payments via PayPal currently. Should you need to make a bank transfer for whatever reasons, please get in touch and we will find a work-around solution for you.
Can you help journalists to report from South Ossetia?
Absolutely! Making South Ossetia more accessible to the global media is one of our main hopes! Should you want to work in South Ossetia, please get in touch and we will arrange the needed permissions and accreditations for you and set up meetings with everyone you want to interview – from the president to the shop owner, from the residents of Tskhinval and Leningor to those of the remotest mountain village.
Is it safe to visit South Ossetia?
It is, don’t worry. The crime rates in South Ossetia are by far the lowest in all of the Caucasus! The conflict with Georgia came to a ceasefire in 2008, which was not broken ever since. So there is absolutely nothing to worry about!
What is the best period to visit?
Between late November and early April, South Ossetia is covered in snow and offers a breathtaking winter wonderland atmosphere. Some remoter villages might not be accessible during this period, but it is still worth a visit.
During the rest of the year, we enjoy a continental climate with a long and usually quite dry summer period. This is the perfect season to go hiking and exploring the more remote parts of the Caucasus.
Does my credit card work in South Ossetia?
While the main Russian banks, like Sberbank, do have ATMs across the country, many international cards do not work in South Ossetia. Thus, better prepare yourself and withdraw cash Rubles before crossing the border. We can stop at an ATM en route, if needed.
How is the internet connectivity in the country?
If you travel with Visit South Ossetia, we will provide you a local SIM card with a data package. Within Tskhinval, on the main roads and in all other larger villages (Dzau, Znaur, Leningor, etc.) you will have 3G or 4G connection. Only a few places in the mountains are blank spots.
Additionally, your accommodation and most restaurants and cafes across the country have WIFI available for you.
Does my own SIM card work in South Ossetia?
Except for Russian network operators, no international operators do have a roaming contract with our South Ossetian networks, yet. Should you need to receive SMS or other network-based communication from time to time, you can do so in Tskhinval, where the Georgian network covers most of the city and roaming is available. Otherwise, you would need to rely on internet-based services (see above).
Can I send a postcard from South Ossetia?
Yes! The local post offices sells South Ossetian stamps, which can be used to send postcards to anywhere in the world via Russia. While South Ossetia isn’t part of the International Postal Union, the postcards are usually delivered and we know of multiple successful attemps.
Currently, however, there are no postcards available in any shop in the country, although a tourist shop exists and can prepare one for you with a bit of time.
Which plug do I need for my electronic devices?
South Ossetia uses the same socket as most European countries and Russia. Our sockets are all of “Type C” or “Euro Standard”.
Which languages are spoken?
Ossetian, Russian and also Georgian are spoken by nearly everyone in the country. Some restaurants and cafes do have international (English) menus and when in need, you will find people fluent in English in Tskhinval by asking around.
No worries, though, if you travel with Visit South Ossetia, we will be available 24/7 to help you out translating to English or German when needed.