Tara Canyon - "European Colorado"
In the surroundings of wonderful plunging into the abysses, bellow the steep slopes sometimes more of a thousand meters deep, cutting forcibly its very way between the Durmitor, Bjelasica, Sinjajevina and Ljubisnja mountains, flows one of the most beautiful Montenegro rivers, the TARA RIVER. Impressive Tara Canyon is a part of DURMITOR National Park.
Like a cut furrow between mountain peaks, the clear-water mountain river flows, and its very waters, from time to time make for wonderful landscapes in tame and fertile valleys in which acres, orchards, forests and meadows may be seen, with its flocks of sheep and goats, very often together with game graze. The river flows even further through the abyss, over it, on its stony slopes the lonely pines to skies pointing, which, the poet would say, from the very stone grow, the stone which plunges itself down, to the depths.
The river flows, like hiding from amorous looks regarding the cascades, the stones hidden well bellow, in the depths of the river waters, but, like many things hidden, seen because of its very clear waters. And so Tara flows, like looking for somebody innocent, like herself, to give herself to him. So beautiful, so clear all along its flow, forcing those in love with her to name her "TEAR OF EUROPE".
It is also called the "JEWEL OF EUROPE". With the length of 144 km Tara is longest river in Monte Negro. Tara river springs in Komovi mountains, near the border with Albania, on the east of Monte Negro. Tara being born as the confluence of Opasnica and Verusa, giving birth, together with Piva river, to the Drina river, just beside Scepan polje. The canyon is 78 kilometers long. Tara river generally flows towards northwest. Its last 80 km, before it meets Piva river at Scepan Polje and they make Drina river, Tara spends in Europe’s deepest canyon, also called the "COLORADO OF EUROPE". On some places Tara canyon is 1300 m deep while below Veliki Stuoc (2104m) peak on Durmitor side of Tara’s canyon is more than 1300 m deep!
Crystal clear waters of Tara, which have light blue and green color, made its canyon in rough limestone mountains even before the Ice Age. Water has carbon dioxide in it which turns calcium carbonate into calcium bicarbonate that dissolves in water.
Tara got its name after Autarijati tribe of Illyrian people that lived here before Slavs came.
In the beginning Tara flows towards north, through gentle and fertile valley between Sinjajevina mountain on the west and Bjelasica mountain on the east. It passes through towns of Kolasin and then Mojkovac where it suddenly turns towards west-northwest. Some kilometers after Mojkovac, after the place where it is joined by Bistrica river, Tara enters its canyon which is a deep scar between Sinjajevina, Durmitor and Pivska Planina mountains on the south and Lisac, Obzir and Ljubisnja mountains on the north.
Tara, at its end making confluence with Piva, and giving birth to Drina, is some hundred and fifty kilometers long, and is the longest Montenegro river. In its part through Durmitor National Park, Tara has a mean fall of 3.6 meters/kilometer, making a host of waterfalls and cascades possible, thus creating with its uniqueness "Montenegrin Colorado".
All along its flow, Tara gets large quantities of water from numerous sources, and quite a few tributaries. The most important tributaries on the left Tara side are Ljutica and Susica, and the most important tributaries from the right side being Vaskovaska rijeka and Draga. The most important source is the source Bajlovica Sige, a source placed on the left bank of the Tara river giving to the Tara a few hundred liters per second, where the water sourcing from the Bucevica Cave falls into the Tara more than thirty meters high, and more than a hundred and fifty meters bright.
Very special are the Tara cascades. The roar from the cascades is heard on the very peaks of the canyon. There are more than 40 cascades, the most famous being: Djavolje Lazi, Sokolovina, Bijeli Kamen, Gornji Tepacki Buk, Donji Tepacki Buk etc.
If you are visiting Durmitor National Park, don't miss Tara Rafting. That's a really amazing and unforgetable experience! You can choose from one, two, or three days of Tara Rafting. Only with rafting you can feel all beauty of Tara river play.
Because of the quality of its water, and because of its unique ecological system, Tara in 1977 was put into the programme “Covjek i biosfera” (Men and Biosphere) and inscribed into the ecological biosphere reservations of the World, being thus protected under an internationally issued convention.
The flora of the Tara has right to this day many species of plant life saved from ancient times. What’s more interesting, many species have succeeded in guarding some of its primeval qualities, which were characteristic for times past. Thus, in the Tara valleys you can find some leftovers of the tercial flora right out of the last glacier period. Beside this flora, the plant life in the canyon is characterized by forests having very different species: cerris, ash tree, beech, black beech and birch.
Great parts of the canyon are overgrown with needle trees, a special place being reserved for the black pine. The most interesting specimens of the black pine are those which hang on naked stony slopes by its very roots, and thus hang over precipitous abysses. But, the most famous locality of the black pine is the locality where the black pine is part of the primeval forest, in a part of the canyon called Crna poda. The Crna poda are a very closely guarded natural habitat, a Natural Preserve on its own. Here some specimens of black pine may be found, some more than 50 meters high, some of which are more than 400 years old.
The massive of the canyon is a excellent habitat for the wild goat (rams). This very nearness of canyon and mountain gives the wild goat the possibility to seasonally migrate, in the winter from the cold peaks to the canyon, and vice verse, in the summer from the hot canyon to the lofty peaks. The wild goat, is, an inhabitant of lofty peaks and stony slopes, easily moving on stony places and mountain canyons. Beside the wild goat, as regular inhabitants of the canyon region there is the roe deer, and wild boar. The Tara is rich in fish species. In the river the brook trout may be found, huchen, chub, the clamp etc.
In the place called Djurdjevica Tara there is the great bridge, the building of which was started in 1938, and finished in 1940. This bridge in time became one of the symbols of the river. Disregarding that the bridge for sure was built by human hand, by its very beauty, by its noble lines, when looked upon from the lofty peaks its certainly looks like one of the Tara curves on its long journey to the confluence, it perfectly became part of the natural surroundings like the very bridge be built by Nature itself. During second World War the bridge was destroyed, like much else, but in the year 1946 it was rebuilt. The bridge is 154 m long, and at its highest bow it is 135 m above the banks of the Tara.
An excursion to the very precipitous slopes of the canyon is an adventure in its own right, the view is breathtaking. From this viewing places especially viewpoint Curevac (1625) is to be mentioned. From this viewing place on one side the panorama of Durmitor might be seen, and on the other hand the meandering flow of the Tara, among the stony peaks. From Curevac a wonderful look on the village of Tepca (more than 1000 m below) may be cast, with its houses and gardens, spread in an enlarging in the canyon. If on Curovac you hold your breath and listen carefully, you may hear the roar of Veliki buk, more than a thousand meters bellow. Its a place of very strong positive vibrations: you will leave content, happy and with an unforgettable experience. Nearby are Tmora a place only seven kilometers from Zabljak, a place you will reach walking through a wonderful primeval forest were you may hear the silence of the primeval peace and feel the perfection of the whole nature.
Your look will reach also wonderful, colorful villages, you may see ye olde bridges on the Tara, you may talk to the locals which will tell you the story of the cohabitation with Durmitor. But, above and beyond all: you will learn to respect and understand mother nature and its gifts.
All this beauties and celebrities of the "TEAR OF EUROPE" are nothing unless you once drink from the pure, cold and tasty Tara water, unless you hear the roar of Tara cascades, unless you look down to the very bosom of the Tara. If you live it through, you will eternally fall in love with Tara, always to return.
The best way to discover entire beauty of amazing Tara river and incredible deep Tara canyon is a take a part in rafting or kayaking adventure. Second option is opservation of Tara Canyon from many viewpoints. Most popular and for sure the best known is Curevac (Churevac) viewpoint, placed above beautiful Tepca village, 8 km far from Zabljak town. Also, you can use very nice view of Tara canyon which is located above Podgora village.
People mostly preffer organized tours which are organized in Zabljak (1456 m) town, in the touristic centre of Durmitor National Park. All informations about that you can get in tourist agencies in Zabljak. But also, you can start with your rafting/kayaking trip from rafting camps which are placed near Tara river. Best known camps are Sljivansko, Radovan Luka (Radovan's Port), Brstanovica and Scepan Polje.
You can choose between one day, two days or three days rafting trip. Of course, three days rafting adventure is most impressive, while you can enjoy in extraordinary 62 km long rafting adventure.
Only through rafting the true anatomy of the canyon may be discovered, and all of its handwriting. It is the only way to see what there is to be seen, the charm and the beauty of its abundance. Rafting may give to all this its special dimension, the very personal contact to the pureness of nature. Every new kilometer, even so a meter, all along the way, gives another hue, another sight-seeing, another challenge.
It is the most beautiful and the most attractive way to see and feel all this beauty and to enjoy in the well-being, the nature’s own way, created by Mother Nature.
The rafting attractions of Tara gained Mark 4, very near to the most attractive rafting-rivers in the world – like Colorado in USA which gained Mark 5. That means that Tara can give, regarding attractions and adventure the most practically any river in the world can give.
Many agencies offer rafting in rubber boats. Arrangements can be made for a day, for two days, or even three days of rafting, the length of the passage being from 15 to 85 kilometers. If you take even the shortest rafting adventure (nothing to be said about the longest adventure) you will enjoy its ports, camps made in nature untouched, in starry nights, and that inimitable sound of water in still nights, a prerequisite for wonderful dreams.
The start is a place called Splaviste, whence you may see the Ljutica falls, the Djurdjevica Tara bridge over the Tara (165 meters high), the old Roman passage, Lever Tara, and than right down the river to the wild Funjic cascades and Bijele ploce, you will pass Misevo vrelo, where the canyon is deepest (1100 meters), below the Curevac peak (1650 meters), the falls of Draga river, and to the Radovan Luka (Radovan's Port). The part that still is to come will take your breath away by its shear beauty and the wonderful cascades – the Tepca Cascades, the canyon of the Susica, the Bailovica Sige (stalactites - a truly one-time waterfall in its own) and Brstanovic cascades. The rafting – unfortunately – is over by the Scepan Polje (Scepan's Field). The one day rafting, in the length of 18 kilometers will take 2–3 hours, in this parts there is the maximum height difference between the starting and the ending point of the rafting. Don’t be sorry for taking the one-day rafting only! In this parts there are 21 cascades from 50 on the Tara: Brstanovac, Pecine, and especially the dangerous Vjernovac... Lunch or dinner, just beside the river, depending on the programme you have chosen, where the culinary specialties from these parts may be eaten – cream, cheese, roasted lamb, and peasant bread made under an earthenware cup will make for a wonderful ending of your rafting tour.
Down the Tara river the rafting is performed in very special rubber boats, especially made for wild waters, with eight independent air compartments making them absolutely unsinkable. Every tourist gets as a matter of fact his own lifebelt, and children get crash helmets. If it is raining you get plastic capes. But don't worry! Down the canyon very experienced guides will be by your side who know every single stone in the river bed, every bend in the river every danger imaginable. So your adventure will be wonderful, but also safe.
1. Docks Zugica Luka - Lever Tara - Luka Ninkovica - Radovan Luka: 24 km
This tour include 9 waterfalls, category II and III, 2 areas for rest and swimming, the longest gorge, the arm Ljutice Lake, 3 hot karsts in the mouth of the rivers Draga and Selacke. On the right coast of the Tresnjevickih Waterfalls there is the restored monastery of Archangel Mihailo. The first phase ends at the Radovan Luka docks, where there is a hotel, kayaking home and a camp set up for tents. That's optimal place for you to stay there.
2. Radovan Luka - Tepca - Sige Bajlovica - Usce Susice - Nozdruc - Obrt - Brstanovica: 23 km
This tour inlude 18 waterfalls category II and III, 5 hot karsts and 3 additional waterfalls at the mouth of the Susica River. There special wonder in the canyon are crystalline calcium deposits Bajlovic Sige and a small lake found in a cave near waterfalls. From the Tepackih Waterfalls to the Jovovic deposits, traveling is only possible by lake. Brstanovica is a large port where there is a camp set up to contain over 100 tents. There is a macadam road from Scepan Polje to the docks on the left coast which has a link between Polja Crkvickog and Trs, to Zabljak which serves for the quickest and shorts road for transporting food and equipment for this phase.
3. Brstanovica - Uzlup - Scapan Polje (bridge): 15 km
That's the shortest but most impressive and most powerfull rafting tour on Tara river. "ADRENALIN TOUR"! This tour include the greatest number of waterfalls which are category II, III and IV (22 waterfalls), 2 hot krasts and 3 brooks at the mouth of the river. The dock that needs to be reached is on the left side of the coast 50 meters under the bridge. On the right of the coast, right next to the bridge, is the border between Montenegro and the Republic of Srpska. From Scepan Polja to Brstanovice there is a macadam road built so that this phase can be repeated throughout the day. Over Scepan Polja is the main highway of Niksic, by the Foca Canyon the Piva River and next to the HE Mratinje Lake. The canyon is covered since 2002 with the GSM Pro Monte net, which makes the experience safer then ever.
Gateway to Tara Canyon in the Durmitor National Park is Zabljak (1456 m) town. Information how to get there:
~To Beograd (Belgrade, Serbia&Montenegro capital) airport. Than with plane to Podgorica, capital of Montenegro, or with bus or car to Zabljak town.
~To Podgorica airport. Than with bus or car to Zabljak town.
Information about flights find on the sites of JAT Airways, a former Yugoslav airlines, or on Montenegro Airlines.
Buses go to Zabljak from Beograd (Belgrade) 4 times per day and from Podgorica, Niksic, Pljevlja and Mojkovac several times per day.
~Beograd (Belgrade)-Zlatibor-Nova Varos-Prijepolje-Pljevlja-Zabljak
~Niksic - Savnik (47km) - Zabljak (37km): 84km; Niksic to Zabljak approach from south.
~Niksic - Savnik (35km) - Zabljak (37km): 72km;
~Podgorica - Niksic (55 km)-Savnik (47 km)-Zabljak (37 km): 139 km; Add this length if you are going to Zabljak from Podgorica via Niksic. Road to Niksic from Podgorica is good.
~Podgorica - Kolasin (71km) - Mojkovac (21km) - Zabljak (67km): 159km; road is good all the way to Zabljak. Behind Podgorica (56m) you go inside Moraca River canyon (one of spectacular Montenegrin canyons). It is up to 1000m deep and has wild sides. That's spectacular drive. After that, from "Djurdjevica Tara" bridge to Zabljak - 23 km.
Zabljak - Curevac Viewpoint: 8 km long asphalt road. Then by walk more about 20-30 min (hiking) to the summit of Curevac (1626 m).
People usually spend night in Zabljak town before rafting tour on Tara river. You can rent some appartments and rooms in Zabljak.
Price for 2-beds appartment with kitchen and bathroom: 12-14 Euro (6-7 Euro daily per person). 4-beds appartment with kitchen and bathroom: 24-28 Euro (6-7 Euro daily per person).
In Ivan Do camp price for camping is 4 Euro per day.
If you use 2 days or 3 days rafting tour, you will spend night(s) in some rafting camp near Tara river.
You can start with your rafting/kayaking trip from RAFTING CAMPS which are placed near Tara river. Best known camps are Sljivansko, Radovan Luka (Radovan's Port) and Brstanovica.
The price for 1 day rafting tour is about 55 euro, for 2 days about 185 euro (included rafting, Jeep driving, camp accomodation and food).
Weather ConditionsThe best weather forecast on Internet for Durmitor National Park (Zabljak town) is VREME YUBC NET site. You can see 5 days forecast for Durmitor area, 4-times-daily forecast.
No fees or extra fees for entering the National Park.
No permits needed either.
Usual rules of behaviour for NPs do apply.