Uvac Canyon stands out as one of nature's most marvellous geological creations. Its winding meanders make even the river Thames jealous with their beauty as they cut through the hills to create a magnificent river sharing the same name. Where the cliffs peak at around 350m tall designates the Uvac nature reserve, an area known for its unique wildlife and mysterious cave systems.
The sight of the canyon alone is enough to entice most tourists looking to visit Serbia, but the area itself is not short of fascinating spots worth a visit. The abundance of untouched nature has proven to become a safe haven for some endangered wildlife, leading to the Serbian government taking the valley under its protection in order to limit nearby developments and preserve its natural beauty, and it's not hard to see why. The sublime shape of this spot is enough to grab the attention of anyone and proves to be a great way to clear the mind and refresh the soul.
Reaching the Reserve
The only notable downside to planning a visit to Uvac Canyon is the process of actually making your way there. The valley itself has no public transport routes associated with it, because of this the majority of time, the valley itself is pretty sparse on visitors with most of them being locals that drive over. If you do want to visit, then your best option is to head over to Nova Varos, the largest town in the surrounding area that can be reached via bus from the capitals of Serbia and Montenegro or by train. Once you’re there, the easiest way to reach the Canyon is via taxi that won’t run you for much more than 500 RSD (About £3.60)
Due to the protection that the Government provides for Uvac Canyon, excursions throughout the valley are heavily monitored. As such, there are no independent options for guided visits, leaving you only with official organised venues. They can be contacted via email@example.com to book yourself an authorised river tour, which should cost around 1,100 RSD (£8). If you’re looking for something off the beaten path, there are a selection of local guesthouse operators that offer the same service, but these services are known to be fairly pricey, will take you longer, and will likely involve a lot of uphill trekking. Ultimately it depends on what your preference is to figure out the best move for yourself, either a more carefully regulated river tour, or something a bit more adventurous. Regardless of what you pick, you’ll certainly be in for a treat!
The mighty meanders of the cavern stretch wide along the valley in an incredibly uncanny fashion, beyond being a fascinating geographical marvel, the effect it’s had on the nearby cliffs is equally enchanting. With such sharp twists and turns it’s no surprise that the river has carved a few of its own surprises into the surrounding cliffs, with a wide variety of eye-catching caves having formed along the river’s path.
These caverns are vast and adorned with gorgeous stalactites and stalagmites making them an eerily beautiful part of any guided river tour. The most famous amongst these are the Usacka and Tubica caves, running for a collective 6.185 m. Access to the caves is determined by the ebb and flow of the river itself as the entrances to these caves find themselves occasionally submerged and inaccessible. If you get yourself a tour that’s heading over at just the right time, it’s worth checking out Icy Cave, a part of the Usacki cave system that is considered the most beautiful in the valley. Located on the left bank of the Sjenica Lake, running at around 2.5km in length and 50 metres tall, this chilly cove earned its name from the peculiar trait of constantly staying around 8 degrees Celsius regardless of how hot or cold it is outside.
One creature in particular loves to call Uvac Canyon its home, that being the Griffon Vulture. The species that has been awarded the moniker ‘heavenly king’ due to its imposing size has been on the verge of extinction for the past 2 decades, but many of what remains of this feathered flock has taken roost in this magical valley. There are around 500 of these birds today in the canyon, mainly holing up on the steep edges of the rocky cliffs on either sides of the river, mostly around 10am to 5pm.
These birds are fascinating for a number of reasons, not the least of which is their size. With a wingspan of around 3 metres and an average weight of 7-8 kilos, making them the largest birds in Serbia. They are also a particularly romantic species, choosing to spend their 30 odd years of life with a single partner, should they lose their partner they will not take another for the remainder of their time on Earth.
They are careful predators, choosing to mainly feast on already deceased animals as to avoid infections, they tend to only finish off already injured animals. They like to keep close to their nests, not that they couldn’t search further for food as they can easily reach speeds of 60km/h with minimal effort, but for the sake of finding food for the pack, they keep relatively closely knit during hunting time. To catch them descending upon their prey would be a sight to behold.
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