Rafting in Bosnia and Herzegovina – A pleasure you will never forget
Tourism in Bosnia and Herzegovina is a fast-growing sector making up an important part in the economy of the country.
Rafting in Bosnia and Herzegovina – A pleasure you will never forget
Rafting is a kind of sport or recreation on the river, where a group of people (between 4–10) paddles down the river in a rubber boat, shooting the rapids for excitement, adventure, companionship and having fun. Although considered as an extreme sport, and there are international competitions, rafting is primarily a kind of sporting recreation.
The boats for rafting (“rafts”) are made of extremely resistant multi-layered rubber and they have several separate air chambers. They are usually 3m or 6m long. In most cases, rafting boats are sailed by a skipper/a steering man who steers and guides a raft down the rapids of a river. Each of the raft passengers (“rafters”) is equipped by an oar, safety floating vest and a helmet. Beginners (usually tourists) are given detailed instructions to be strictly followed during the rafting.
According to the level of severity, rafting is divided into six categories (classes), as follows:
Class 1: Rafting usually performed on a still river with slow flow
Class 2: Rafting shooting minor rapids with some stones, but still not dangerous rafting at all
Class 3: Rafting shooting rapids, small waves, minor waterfalls, however with no significant danger. Touristic rafting usually belongs to this class.
Class 4: Rafting shooting rapids, bigger waves, some rocks, bigger waterfalls and drops. This class is only for the rafters with experience and it requires great concentration and prompt reaction
Class 5: Rafting shooting rapids, big waves, severe rocks and cliffs, big waterfalls and drops. This class means the final stage of competition rafting and it requires very precise and focused steering
Class 6: Rafting shooting rapids, great waves, big and very dangerous rocks and cliffs, many traps and drops. This class is highly dangerous and life-threatening to rafters, so it often ends up with accidents.
It requires very skillful raft steering, with no right to make a mistake
There are several rivers in Bosnia and Herzegovina being known by rafting, such as: Una, Drina, Neretva, Tara, Vrbas.
Una River: The Una river flows through Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in its total length of 214 km. The name Una remained from the Romans who found its beauty so unique that they named it “the One” (Una). The source of the river is in Croatia, and after 4 km it reaches Bosnia and Herzegovina where it starts to form a natural border between these two countries. The river mouth is near a small town of Jasenovac where it flows into the Sava river. With its virgin beauty, bright turquoise and green clear water, in a landscape of dense forests, the Una is a part of a rich natural, cultural and historical heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina and a site of great tourist attendance. It is also a venue of hosting a popular annual kayaking event “International Una Regatta”. The Regatta begins at Martin Brod and goes further downstream to Štrbački Buk (the most famous waterfalls). The upper flow of the river is a part of the “Una National Park” whose main purpose is to protect unspoiled Una and Unac rivers which runs through it. The Una’s stunning waterfalls and white water rapids highlight the park. The 18m Štrbački Buk Waterfall is one of the highest waterfalls in this part of Europe and rafting trips start below it. There are also calmer sections for families with children or those who prefer less excitement. Proximity to Croatia’s “Plitvice Lakes National Park” makes “Una National Park” a top destination for visitors where they can enjoy in rafting, fishing, cycling, hiking and camping. The Una is rich in water even in the summer, so the rafting is possible all year round. Jumping from the city bridges in Bihać and Bosanska Krupa are also very popular.
Drina River: The Drina is a river in eastern Bosnia that in its lower flow makes a natural border between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. In the ancient times, it was also a border between eastern and western part of the Roman Empire. The Drina valley has a long cultural history and the Drina river has been a lifeline to the development and growth of this area - from Foča to Višegrad many beautiful towns have been erected along its banks. The Drina is formed on the border of Montenegro where the Tara and the Piva rivers meet. By its course of 340 km, it passes through many places in Bosnia and Herzegovina (only the Sava river is longer) and finally flows into the Sava. To the north of Višegrad (near Žepa), there is the longest canyon of this river, in the length of 24 km.
Neretva River: A turquoise blue river that has created fertile valleys in Herzegovina and upon which most life in the region thrives. Since ancient times the Neretva has permitted the prosperity and growth of human communities. The source of the river is under the mountains Zelengora and Lebršnik in Bosnia and Herzegovina, at 1,095m above sea level. It flows through Bosnia and Herzegovina in the length of 205 km, and the last 20 km through Croatia. In its upper flow, the Neretva flows through numerous canyons and a smaller number of fertile valleys. Like all rivers in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the river initially flows towards the north/northwest, however passing to the north of the Prenj massif, the river turns south near the mouth of the tributary Rama, then it forces its way through the canyons between Prenj and Čvrsnica mountains until it reaches the Mostar Valley where it loses the character of a rapid mountain river. In this area, the Neretva pleasantly meanders through Čapljina into the delta between the Croatian towns of Metković and Ploče, from where it flows into the crystal clear Adriatic Sea.
Tara River: The Tara river traverses along the border of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, with 30 km of it in Bosnia and the rest belonging to the other side. It rises from the mountain ranges in the northern part of Montenegro and flows 140 km until meeting with the Piva river and forming the river Drina, one of the longest and largest rivers in the Balkans. Age-old earth erosion has created the 82 km-long canyon, the second largest canyon in the world after Colorado. At its deepest the canyon soars 1,300m high. In a few places the Tara gives the impression that its furious flow is beginning to calm, but it continues its dramatic flow to the Drina. Along the river banks the vegetation is very dense. This river is a good place for fishing and its water is clean and drinkable. Aside from nature lovers and fishermen, the river attracts a large number of adrenaline addicts. Whitewater rafting on the Tara river is one of the greatest adventures in the country. Rated at level 3-5, it offers some of the most intense and challenging rafting in Europe. The most attractive section for rafting is the last 25 km of the river. A ride on one of the “real” rafts, logs tied together and guided by a massive wooden rudder, is quite an experience. There are, of course, rafting outfits that provide sturdy and safe rubber raft with all the necessary gear. The major portion of the river (including its canyon) has been under protection of the UNESCO as a part of “The National Park Durmitor”.
Vrbas River: The Vrbas is a major river in western Bosnia and Herzegovina with a length of 250 km. It is a right tributary of the Sava river. It appears at the southern slope of Vranica mountain, at around 1,530m above sea level and the total length of the main watercourse is around 250 km. The Vrbas canyon is an ideal place for water adventures like rafting and kayaking, as well as for fishing, camping, hiking and walking. Around the canyon there are excellent hiking and walking trails with exceptional views of the river below. The canyon walls and cliffs are home to hawks, eagles and falcons.