In the Southwestern corner of Serbia lies one of natures most spectacular creations, the Uvac River Meanders. Over eons of years, the Uvac River has carved its way through the limestone karst massif Pešter plateau to create the most breathtaking twists and turns through the Uvac Canyon.
The Uvac Canyon and Sjenica Lake fall within the Uvac Special Nature Reserve, a protected area known for its successful project in the preservation of the griffon vulture. Locals and conservationists have cleared an area where they regularly drop animal carcasses for the vultures to feed on. This has had a dramatic impact and has helped increase the colony to more than 50 vultures. making it the largest Griffon vulture colony in Europe.
We had spent the night wild camping right on the dam wall of Sjenica Lake and couldn’t wait for our boat trip to see the Uvac River meanders. We met our boatman and fellow tourists on the jetty at 10 am and off we set.
The boat made its way across the lake and then veered right down a large tributary. The scenery in the canyon was stunning with steep cliffs of dense green forest on either side of us. It took about 40minutes to get to the river bends and soon enough we docked next to some steps. Climbing out of the boat we navigated our way up a steep path to the entrance of a large cavern. This was the entrance to the Uvac caves system, one of the longest cave systems in Serbia.
The cave is commonly known as the Ice Cave due to its constant temperature of 8 degrees Celsius no matter what the outside temperature is. The Ice Cave is 2.5 km long and at its highest point, the cave is 50metres high. It had some incredibly impressive cave stalactite and stalagmite formations.
The cave was pitch black and our guide didn’t have torches for us, so I turned the flash on my phone and shuffled along with assistance from Tai. Being night-blind in pitch-black caves really is not my idea of fun, but Tai is an avid spelunker and being that I’m such an awesome Mom, I keep plunging myself into these caves.
We had a lovely Serbian family with us and the father had studied in America so spoke brilliant English. He walked behind me in the cave, very kindly translating the guide’s explanations.
Back at the boat, we went 100m downstream and once again all piled out. This time it was to do a seriously strenuous climb up to the viewpoint. I was doing a lot of huffing and heaving by the time I reached the top, but the views made it so worth it… just WOW!
The meanders were so magical to behold, that we stayed at the viewpoint just drinking in all the beauty for almost an hour. On the walk back down to the boat, we were treated to two Griffon Vultures circling right overhead. What an incredible sight they were and so graceful in flight.
We go back to the parking lot and Miles at 3 pm after a really wonderous tour.
TOUR COSTS: 1500 Dinar (13 Euros)
TOUR TIMES: Tours leave the jetty at 10 am every morning, so no need to book, just arrive.
This wild camping spot was great! Right on the dam wall. Nice and flat and the tours leave from the jetty here at 10 am every morning to take you to the Uvac River Meander and to the cave. From the dam wall, look up to the hills and you will see a clearing with about 50 Griffin Vultures. The locals put food here for them. Quite a sight!
GPS: 43.41843, 19.92612