Tara River rafting holidays in Bosnia and Montenegro give you opportunity to paddle down one of the biggest and most beautiful canyons in the world. Yet, like most people from outside of the Balkans, you’ve probably never heard of the Tara River before.
Forming the border between Bosnia and Montenegro, this stunning geographical feature is one of Europe’s best kept secrets. And with a choice of camps, rapid sections and multi-day experiences, it’s also one of the most exciting rafting destinations on the planet.
Created by millennia of erosion, the Tara River Canyon is one of the biggest and deepest gorges on the planet. Stretching for 78 kilometres, the canyon is more than 1,300 metres deep in some places. In fact, only the Grand Canyon in the US is deeper.
Cascading along the bottom, the impossibly blue and pristine waters of the river drop an average of 3.6 metres per kilometre. Along the river’s path, tributaries pour in, in the form of more than 40 spectacular waterfalls. These include the beautiful Devil’s Lies and White Stone.
The river is surrounded by forests of oak, ash, beech and birch. Visitors get the distinct feeling that this is a landscape that has remained completely untouched by man. And sitting in the Durmitor National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Centre, hopefully it will stay this way.
With such a stunning setting, rafting down the river is an incredible experience. The vast canyon walls dwarf the boat and there’s a real sense of the scale and majesty of nature. But it’s the rapid sections that really get the adrenaline flowing.
There are two main start points for Tara River rafting holidays in Bosnia and Montenegro. The upper section starts near Zabljak, but there’s a special rafting fee in place here which makes it a more expensive option.
The lower start point is near Lake Brstanovica, and is perhaps the more beautiful of the two. It’s where the World Rafting Championship was held in 2009, which gives you some idea of the quality of the river. The rafting fee is also smaller here, helping to keep costs down.
This 20km lower section of the river is the most commonly rafted and contains 18 rapid sections. So they come thick and fast. As soon as you’ve navigated one and managed to get your head together, along comes another.
The highest water flows are between April and June, and it’s then that the rapid sections are at their most ferocious. The water levels and whitewater drop off in July through to August which makes it a slightly more suitable time for families and multi-generational groups.
But the river is always in a state of flux. And even when the water levels drop in late summer and some rapids disappear, new sections emerge along the river’s course.
Water temperatures are cold all year round. After all, this is crystal clear water coming straight out of the Dumitor mountains a little upstream. They reach a maximum of 11 – 12˚C in the summer. But a neoprene wetsuit will keep you warm when you get wet – and you will be getting wet.
It’s not just in the water where the fun happens. As it’s a remote location, most rafting trips in the Tara involve an overnight stay in a rafting camp, like those offered by Tara Rafting DMD Kamp. With comfortable wooden chalet accommodation, this is your chance to experience some real Balkan-style hospitality.
Evenings will be filled with eating, drinking and dancing. Expect meals to be huge, with animals on the spit, meaty stews and plenty of other hearty fare.
The beer and rakija (fruit brandies that form an essential part of life in the region) flow freely. And when the traditional folk music starts, everyone is up and dancing around the fire. It’s all part of the overall experience.
Located on the border between Bosnia and Montenegro, this is not a part of the world that many people visit. Which is a big part of the appeal.
In my opinion, Tara river rafting holidays in Bosnia and Montenegro are one of Europe’s best kept secrets. Offering adventure and fun in a unique and beautiful part of the world. Just don’t take your eyes of the water for too long, because there’s always another rapid section approaching….
To find out more about rafting Tara Canyon check out: www.tara-rafting.com