Welcome to Uvac National Park, the place that is filled with nature and warmth that can only be seen in the central Balkan peninsula. This is a place like no other on Earth and its geography, fauna and flora are something that can only be seen in this beautiful environment. Follow us through this amazing nature gem!
1. What is Uvac?
Uvac is a Special Nature Reserve. It is located in the southwestern Serbia near Nova Varos and Sjenica in the Zlatibor district. The protected area comprieses the valley of the Uvac river, inculding the Uvac Gorge.
The Uvac valley is surrounded by the mountains of Zlatar on the west, Murtenica and Čemernica on the north, Javor on the east and Jadovnik on the south.
The valley cuts into the gorge making beautiful meanders by creating Uvac and Radonja lakes.
2. Why should you visit Uvac?
Uvac National Reserve is magnificent to the eye, but can it offer more than just its beauty? I’m assuring You that it can! Besides its incredible meanders, there are numerous karst plains, uvalas, sinkholes, caves, pits, rock shelters and lakes. Uvac is also home to endemic plant and animal species, which of the most famous one is the bird named griffon vulture.
Caves are abundant and vary in size. The most famous is the cave system that consists of two caves, Usak and Ledena cave. So far, around 6000m of the cave have been explored, making it the third longest cave in Serbia.
The waters of the Uvac river are used for three hydroelectric power stations within the reserve, each one with an artificial lake: Radoinja, Zlatar and Sjenica.
Space around Uvac National Park can be divided in two main sections:
· Upper meander from Krstac to Rastok between Zlatar and Javor mountains (average elevation 1250m).
· Lower meander from Kokin Brod to Radojna lake between Zlatar and Zlatibor (average elevation 950m).
3. Upper meanders: Molitva and Ledena
The two main sightings points in Uvac are Molitva and Ledena. They are located just across one another on the Zlatar’s part of the canyon. Both sightings points can be reached with a motor vehicle. The roads are in a pretty good condition. You can also reach Ledena by boat and make a stop to visit the Ledena cave.
The ornaments in the Ledena cave are in the shape of a drapery and can reach a length up to ten meters. The entrance to the cave is often submerged, but is accessible by boat. Of course, the beauty of this hidden world is reserved for the experienced and the brave adventurers as a large part of the cave is unexplored and unknown.
Molitva sighting point is reachable by foot by a trail passing through the heart of the natural reserve. The route is 7 kilometers long and begins from the camp near the reserve entrance. The path is pretty friendly without much climbing.
In the first half of the trail, the road goes through tame pastures up to Devojačka stena, after which there is an ascent to the rocky plateau where you will enjoy a beautiful view on the meanders.
4. Lower (Radoinja) meanders
Many people often associate Uvac with the already described upper meanders but that’s not the only thing to be discovered in this amazing nature reserve.
The River Uvac meanders again, cutting into the gorge from Kokin Brod to Radojna Lake, between Zlatar and Zlatibor mountains. The river sightings points offer perfect views from both sides of this part of the gorge!
South Zlatar part is more tame and approachable. There are sightings points that are connected with a precise marked forest path that begins from the ethno-village Varnesa. The circle tour of 5km connects all five sightings points with an optional descent to the river and it takes up only 2 hours.
On the other hand, the northern Zlatibor side, around the Negbina village is a far more difficult path but you will have the opportunity to experience the beauty of the untouched nature! You can really feel the excitement when behind all those forest trees, suddenly appears a river view.
5. “Special nature reserve”
The territory around the Uvac River received the status of “Special nature reserve” thanks to the unique flora and fauna that can be encountered here.
The most significant animal is the Griffon Vulture, one of the 140 species of birds that live in the wild area of the natural reserve. It’s native exclusively from the Uvac national reserve. It is one of the rarest and most beautiful birds in the whole world.
They nest on the sides of the gorge and enjoy great popularity from the locals as well as the tourists. It’s specie of vulture eagle that almost died out two decades ago on those lands.
Today, there are about 500 living Griffon Vulture. They are also called “the kings of the skies” due to their wing span of around 3m and weight of 7-8kgs.
They can be seen anywhere around the Uvac River and for those who are fond of bird-watching, don’t forget to bring your binoculars!
Apart from the Griffon Vulture, the Uvac’s River gorge is the host of the Golden Eagle, also a rare and endangered predator, as well as the mountain puzgavac, some owls and kingfishers. In the caves you can see a large number of bats and otters, type of mammals enlisted on the European red list.
The gorge is surrounded by forests of spruce and birch and on the lush meadows can be found about 50 species of medicinal plants.
6. Cultural tourist attractions you can visit in Uvac
There are quite a few monuments to see in the Uvac national reserve other than its natural beauty.
The difficult access to the Uvac canyon was an ideal natural protection dam suitable for building many monasteries of great significance for the identity of inhabitants of these regions. The most famous ones are the Uvac and Dubrava monasteries.
Here was once settled the famous Janja monastery Janja monastery praised in the epic poem “Miloš u Latinima”. This monastery is no longer in this place, even though it was one of the most famous architectural buildings of the Nemanic dynasty.
At 60-70m under the water was preserved the one and only arc of the sunken stone bridge that had three slender arcs. At the lake rims, there can be seen the outlines of the “King’s” road that once connected Sarajevo and Carigrad and which cobbles have now deeply sunken into the lake waters.
If the story about the Uvac natural reserve have attracted Your attention and tickled Your imagination, you need to know that the best time to visit this place is after May. Only then, the natural reserve which is mostly located above an altitude of a thousand meters, offer clear views and makes the nature shine in all its glory.
7. Uvac Hotels
There are many places where you can stay beside this magnificent national reserve gem. Here is a list of the few better ones. Enjoy Your stay!
7.1. Hotel Zlatarski Zlatnik ***star
This charming hotel with black tiled roof is located on the Zlatar mountain, right next to road 29 and 13 km far from the Zlatar Lake.
Comfortable rooms with hand-made wooden furniture have flat-screen TV’s. Apartments have private living rooms. There is also a nice restaurant with walls covered with wood and a bar!
7.2. Hotel Lane ***star
Hotel Lane is one of the preffered hotels in Sjenica and it’s just 3km away from the Uvac national reserve.
The hotel is composed of restaurant, 24/7 reception, room service and a free Wi-Fi. There is a free parking and bicycle renting for the guests.
Every room contains a wardrobe, a working table, a flat-screen TV and it’s own bathroom. Ski renting is also available.
7.3. Hotel Zlatarski Biseri (Zlatar Pearls) ****star
This laid back hotel is located on the lower slopes of the Zlatar mountain, next to the road 29, 14 km from the Zlatar Lake and 43 km away from the zip-line Zlatibor – Ljubis.
The rooms have a warm setup. Each room has a balcony with a wonderful view on the mountain, a flat-screen TV and a free Wi-Fi. There is also a pleasant restaurant with wooden ceiling. The Hotel also has a sauna with a Jacuzzi, a congress room and a parking.