Tara National Park – Tara Mountain

Tara National Park – Tara Mountain

Tara Mountain is the oasis of intact and well-preserved and protected pure nature and true pristine and wilderness in west Serbia, which belongs to the Dinarides – Dinaric Mountains. Tara Mountain and the National Park is located about 170 km south of Belgrade via Sabac-Valjevo road and 250 km via Uzice, and about 250 km away from Novi Sad, via Sabac. Tara Mountain is about 50 km long and 20 km wide, with the average altitude of 1200 meters, and numerous observation points from where spread magic and breathtaking vistas. The highest peak of the Tara Mountain is the picturesque peak of the Kozji Rid, 1591 meters. Tara Mountain area was declared in 1981 the Tara National Park of Serbia due to rare herbal and animal and endemic plant species and their preserved communities. Tara Mountain is considered the eco oasis and one of the most beautiful mountains of Serbia, featuring picturesque landscapes covered by bushy larch and deciduous forests and fragrant meadows and endless fields, ideal for various outdoor activities – hiking, abseil, climbing, MTB, mountaineering, horse back riding, skiing, sledging, boat ride, stand-up-paddling, zip line, canyoning, canoe ride…. with guidance and conduct of expert local guides and professional outdoor instructors. In the area of the Tara Mountain-National Park there are numerous producers of authentic natural products and accommodation facilities, cottages and traditional rural households which provide tourist services.

The tiny Tara mountainous village /hamlet/ of Jagoštica is situated on the wonderful slopes of Tara Mt, probably the most inaccessible mountainous village in Serbia, on the Zvezda Mountain elevation – the very border with Bosnia and Herzegovina, surrounded from three sides with the nature reserves, and on the northern and western sides bordered with the Drina River Canyon. Local population of Tara Mountain is traditionally engaged in mountain agriculture and stock breeding, wood exploit and rural tourism. Livestock farming has centuries old tradition in this region – meat, milk, cheese, clotted cream produced here are the top quality food found at local markets and served in traditional restaurants and rural households. Besides the delicious organic food of the Tara Mountain, this area is famous for extraordinary homemade “sljivovica rakija” – plum brandy.

Tara National Park is spread on 19.200 hectares of protected land while the forests cover some 13.000 hectares. More than 1000 plant species were identified on Tara Mountain including Serbian spruce – “the Empress of all European endemites”. Tara Mountain is shelter for over 140 bird species, and 28 species of fish, and 58 mammals species, as well as the largest population of brown bear in Serbia.

Some tips on bear watching by SALLY WRITES – freelance outdoors and travel writer:

Suggested image: https://unsplash.com/search/bear?photo=kZ8dyUT0h30

What You Need to Know to Have the Best Animal Tracking Experience

Want to see a bear in its natural habitat? These massive majestic creatures are a delight for people of all ages, and they are one of the main attractions at Tara National Park. To ensure you have the best experience possible, we have put together a few animal tracking tips.

Animal Tracking Is in Our DNA

Our ancestors could stay well fed and safe thanks to their ability to track animals. Of course, tracking is much more than a hunter/gatherer endeavor. It can also improve your outdoor experience by helping you make discoveries others may have missed. It also teaches you to slow down and look around you. Something we could all use more of these days.

Everything leaves behind tracks. Stop, listen, and look when you find tracks. It helps to know what critters are in the area you visit. However, you can figure out the weight, size, and speed of an animal by its tracks. A discreet trail camera will allow you to observe the creature behind the tracks and maintain contact with the area even when you’re in a remote location.

The First Print Will Start You on Your Journey

Once you find tracks, try to figure out which way the animal went. Observe other signs like sounds, stomped down grass, or even droppings. You must first make a general assessment of what you think the animal is doing. You are essentially a detective. Part of the chase is being aware, collecting clues, and having a creative imagination. You will see more as you look deeper. Here are a few tips to help you understand what is going on:

  • ·         The depth of a track will tell you how heavy the animal is. Bigger animals leave a deeper footprint.
  • ·         If you find droppings that still look quite moist despite it being a warm and dry day, it means the animal is nearby.
  • ·         If the tracks are elongated and less of a perfect outline of the animal’s paws, then you can assume the animal was moving quickly.
  • ·         If you assess that you are close to the animal you are tracking, proceed with caution. You do not want to frighten the critter.

Bear Tracking in Tara National Park

One of the many outdoor adventures that PanaComp offers is a bear watching expedition in Tara National Park. Within the park, there are four bear feeding grounds used to supplement the bears’ normal diet. Near each of the feeding areas is a wooden watching hide that fits four people and keeps them safe from the bears while providing a terrific view of these beautiful beasts.

Throughout the Tara National Park there are numerous archaeological sites and monuments dating from the Neolithic period to modern times. Most important are the medieval Racа Monastery and the necropolis with tombstones in Perucac and Rastiste, which are nominated for UNESCO World Heritage List. Touristic highlights are the Drina River Canyon with Perucac lake, where boat trips are organized, and numerous hikes to the breathtaking viewpoints such as Banjska and Biljeska rock, Sjenic, Crnjeskovo and Oslusa. Thanks to wonderful nature of the Tara National Park, there are numerous outdoor activities awaiting visitors – hiking, riding a mount bike, stand-up-paddling, canyoning, riding a canoe-kayak, caving, bear watching, horse-back riding….

Entire area of Tara National Park includes the Tara Mountain, Crni Vrh /Black peak/, Zvijezda /Star/, Stolac, magnificent Drina River Canyon with Raca River Canyon and the Perucac Lake and surroundings of Bajina Basta. Kaluđerske Bare tourist center is 16 km away from Bajina Bašta, in the south-eastern part of the Tara Mountain which makes its most popular tourist center. The wonderful forests of black and white pine, spruce and fir grow on the karst soil surfaces of the Tara National Park. In tourist sense the Kaluđerske bare area probably makes the most beautiful part of the Tara National Park, at the elevation of 1059 meters, which features well marked hiking trails, as well as ski runs and sledding paths. Mitrovac on Tara Mountain is the settlement of the Tara National park, 28km on the road from Bajina Basta to Zaovine Lake, at the altitude of 1080 meters. Zaovine Lake is set near the Zaovine village and belongs to the Municipality of Bajina Basta. It is an artificial lake, created by construction of the dam between 1975 and 1983, by the peak of Kik /958 meters/ and the Djurici village, when the course of the Beli Rzav River /White Rzav River/ was partitioned. In the period of the highest waters, the surface of the Zaovine lake reaches the elevation of 881 meters. The deepest point of the Zaovine lake is 110 meters. The Zaovine Lake is filled by two streams, and the Konjska River and the Beli Rzav River and suitable for various water sports, like exciting paddling. In summer months, the Zaovine lake attracts a number of visitors and nature lovers. It is surrounded with green hills, covered with pine forests, and thanks to the fact that there are no tourist facilities on its shores – the Zaovine lake is extraordinary quiet place.

There are 5 well arranged and secured observation points at the Tara National Park, that provide memorable and stunning panorama and unique experiences to visitors : Crnjeskovo, Banjska stena, Biljeska stena, Oslusa and Sjenic. The Banjska stena viewing point is 10 km away from Mitrovac, to where leads well-market tiny road with benches and safety guard fence. The name of Banjska stena comes from the Banjsko Vrelo term which springs at the foot of the viewing point, that is of carst origin and water temperature of 4C.  Banja is the Turkish word which designates the spring of hot water. Locals of the Tara Mountain used this water also in winter as there was always plenty of hot water. the Banjsko Vrelo was submerged when the Perucac Lake was constructed.

This part of the Tara Mountain is particularly beautiful and unique, combined with breathtaking Drina River Canyon and several small canyons of tributaries of the Drina river, which are also gorgeous, hide some of the most attractive observation points in Serbia. Endless forests are the main feature of the Oslusa observation point, most of which are nearly entirely inaccessible. Here prevail spruce, white and black pine, juniper, fir… Clearings and meadows are set between the forest areas of Oslusa, and are abundant in various mountainous medicinal herbs. The Crnjeskovo observation point on the Tara Mountain is some 900 meters away from the Manastirski stanovi point with the church on the Kaludjerske bare center. The Crnjeskovo observation point is located at the elevation of 1035 meters, some 15 minutes of walk through the forest. From the Crnjeskovo observation point spreads view over the Raca River Canyon – the protected Nature reserve and direction Bajina Basta. The Nature Reserve of the Raca River Canyon includes the steep sides of the mountain and the deeply intersected valley of the Raca River.

From Bajina Bašta to Tara Mountain it is 16 km distance before the start of the 18 well marked mountaineering and hiking trails. Total length of the Tara Mountain hiking trails is 100 km, with starting points at the tourist centers and the mountain points. From the Predov Krst point, at elevation of 1138 meters spreads majestic panorama of the Drina River. Predov Krst is situated in the most remote part of the Tara National Park, on the turn of the mountain ranges, surrounded from all sides by the curve of the Perucac Lake on Drina River, entirely away from the roads, in the last bear sanctuary of Serbia.

Some parts of the Tara National Park and especially the canyon of the Rača River are dangerous and almost inaccessible, and assistance or guidance of local rangers and professional climbers is strongly recommended. The Zaovine Lake is artificial reversible accumulation created by rearrangement of the upper course of the small river of Beli Rzav at the elevation of 892 meters, which is fed in high water levels by waters from the Perucac Lake through batch of tubes 9759 meters long. Zaovine area are famous for discovery of the living plant fossil of the Pancic Spruce. The famous botanists Josif Pancic had in the tiny village of Djurici discovered in 1875 the new endemic relic form of dicidous plant which is called the Pancic Spruce (Picea omorika). Zaovine area is the only habitat of the Pancic Spruce on serpentines at the locality of Kik – Sklopovi with its classical locality of locus classicus. Geomorphological attractions in the valley of the Beli Rzav River on the Luka site: Grad with remains of medieval stronghold which is connected with legends on a nobleman and his unfaithful wife; The Crkvine site at the foot of Grad and remains of the medieval basilica. Excursion spots and viewing points of Zmajevac, Bela Voda and Gavran; Part of the cultural heritage of this area are also structures of traditional architecture as material inherited testimony of building traditions : the Stari Vlah wooden house and accessory structures of the household and bacije structures used seasonally for accommodation of shepherds. In this area there is well preserved tradition of stock breeding so meat, milk, cheese, kaymak are products that proudly rank among the highest quality food in domestic market. Rivers are very rich in fish, while various sport activities and water sports are recommended on the Zaovine and Perucac Lake, along with the very popular stand up paddling.

In the Kaluđerske bare tourist center, on Tara Mountain, right next to the Monastery of Serbian Saints, there is the “Dora” Horse-back Riding Club, founded in September, 2008. Activities of the Horse Club greatly contribute to the positive image of activities of the Tara Mountain, development of tourist and sport, first of all for various excellent conditions for horse sport thanks to a number of deserted meadows and high quality food for horses. The Dora Horse riding Club on Tara Mountain is member of the Horse Sport Association of Serbia and represents a sport association of citizens, with the aim of gathering and organization of its members – horse lovers and their care about the horses, sport and re-creative riding. The Dora Horse riding Club on Tara Mountain provides visitors wonderful opportunity to learn the basics of the terrain horse-back riding, the carriage ride and the introduction into the hypo therapy for curing children with special needs.

Visitors of the Tara National Park can stay in nearby nicely appointed rural households and mountain huts/wooden houses which provide tourist services, accommodation and food, or choose accommodation in apartments of the Education Center of the Tara National Park. Apartments of the Tara National Park are located on the 5th km of the road from Kaluđerske bare to Mitrovac and contain of four accommodation units – apartments with total of 14 beds and common living room. Structure of apartments is 3 double apartments (with one extra bed) and 1 triple apartment /with 2 extra beds/. All apartments feature TV, fridge, mini oven and dishes. For further details and booking please contact our agency.

Brown bear, a wild goat and especially local endemic Pancic’s Grasshopper have their outstanding place among numerous fauna species of Tara Mountain. Pancic’s Spruce has, since its discovery in 1876 provoked great interest in scientific circles. The Pancic spruce is a relic species originating from the Tertiary when it was spread across extensive ranges in Europe and parts of Asia. Tara Mountain is shelter for over 130 bird species and more than 60 animal species, among them is the largest population in Serbia of Brown Bear. 37 fish species inhabit the crystal-clear waters of the National Park. The Tara National Park with the Drina River Canyon belongs to the UNESCO Tentative List intending to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List. Two archaeological sites of the Medieval tombstones known as “stećci”, Mramorje and Bagruša, dating possibly from the 14th and the 15th century are located in the Tara National Park. Tara Necropolis comes to the best preserved and the most significant ancient sites in Serbia and have been proclaimed the cultural monuments of exceptional importance.

In Tara National Park there are numerous possibilities for true relief and joyful and invigorating vacations and memorable team-building programs, as there are excellent mountaineering and relaxing terrains and various well-organized facilities and conditions for outdoor activities and sports. The 15 cycling routes of total 400 km have been marked within the West Serbia area, in favor of the active bikers and cyclists outdoor vacations. In this way the marked cycling routes connect tourist destination which provide visitors and locals choice of their wishes and physical conditions, as well as to choose tourist attractions they want to visit. Zlatibor is connected with the Tara Mountain via Mokra gora, Divčibare with the Užice area, Kosjerić and Požega. Arilje and Ivanjica are connected with the Golija Mountain, Uvac Special Nature Reserve, Pešter Plateau, Zlatar and Prijepolje. The cycling routes are well marked with the tourist signposts, there are wooden coverage in the resting points for cyclists, hikers and mountaineers. For the active vacations in Serbia, there are available bikes to rent.

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