Bosnia’s Tara Canyon is the largest gorge in Europe, and ranked in the 10 largest worldwide. Yet only a tiny fraction of people have ever heard of it compared to the likes of the Grand Canyon. Read this review of Tara Canyon whitewater rafting in Bosnia to find out why this is great news for anyone who visits.
As a Unesco world heritage site,Tara Canyon is a place of bewildering beauty, which quickly helps you to put to one side the country’s relatively recent ugly history. Bosnia and Herzegovina is a country very much on the up, a fact exemplified by the myriad rafting centres that line the banks of the Tara near the town of Foca.
Review of Tara Canyon whitewater rafting
Arriving at the rafting centre Drina-Tara the evening before the rafting, you’re treated to a truly sensational Bosnian welcome. There is room for 250 people in 75 bungalows all catered for by 12 local chefs.
A mind-boggling array of local food is presented to you, complete with a plate of steaks about the size of the raft you eventually take out on the water. The evening descends into whirlwind of traditional Balkan folksongs and dancing that should lead you to suspect this isn’t going to be any ordinary rafting trip.
The morning after the night before starts slowly as revellers try to clear their heads, but it doesn’t take long before the party starts again. Piling into your allotted vans you’re driven along treacherous canyon-side roads over the border into Montenegro.
You can’t help feeling that as you traverse mountain bends with a raft strapped to the roof of the van, this might actually be the most dangerous part of the trip. That is until you hit the water for a spot of Tara Canyon whitewater rafting.
Whitewater rafting in Bosnia
The Tara is an incredibly beautiful river. It’s an otherworldly blue-green and fresh enough to drink. After being given the basics by an English-speaking guide from Rafting Tara you’re straight out on the water and it’s not long before you hit your first rapids.
With ice blue water all around, as cold to the touch as it looks, you negotiate grade 3-5 rapids. As you float into another yet another chasm, you’ll find yourself desperately trying to grip onto the ropes in the bottom of the boat with your feet. All the while the ominous canyon sides tower above you, and the sounds of accompanying folk songs emanate from somewhere within the mist. Welcome to whitewater rafting in Bosnian!
If you’ve never been rafting before, it’s an exhilarating introduction. The raft plunges almost vertically down into rapids and everyone in the boat is hit full in the face with freezing water. But when you come out the other side, your heart is racing and there’s a huge smile on your face.
Locals are loving it
All around, other boats of Serbs, Bosnians, Croats and Montenegrins are singing songs, exchanging banter and having a beer or two. The occasional rakija, a local fruit brandy that can knock your head off, is also shared around.
Drinking while rafting probably wouldn’t be allowed anywhere else on the planet. But somehow it all adds to the experience and certainly made this review of Tara Canyon whitewater rafting in Bosnia a lot of fun.
The rafting gets better, with skilful guides getting you through some pretty hairy stretches. The views continue to dazzle, when you’re not concentrating on staying in the boat. The occasional man overboard can be spotted on most trips and even the guides have been known to take a dip now and then. But, of course, safety is taken seriously.
Tara Canyon rafting: What you need to know
Overall, depending on your chosen rafting centre and trip, you’ll cover around 25 km in around a four-hour session. Then it’s back to the camp for another wondrous feast, some more rakija and maybe even a little bit of Balkan dancing, if the mood takes you.
The whole Tara Canyon whitewater rafting trip is as much a cultural experience as it is a rafting one. Even if you don’t understand much of what’s going on, it’s clear that everyone is having a very good time rafting in Bosnia.
To conclude this review of Tara Canyon whitewater rafting in Bosnia, I’d say head there to experience it while it is still relatively unknown. And if you ever find yourself in this part of the world (and it’s highly recommended) then rafting should be top of your list of things to do.
We hope you found this this review of Tara Canyon whitewater rafting in Bosnia interesting. To arrange your Bosnian rafting experience check out www.raftingtara.com