NATIONAL PARK SUTJESKA - Highlander Rafting Camp

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National Park Sutjeska


Sutjeska National Park is the most preserved natural jewel of the Republic of Srpska and Bosnia and Herzegovina. It consists of parts of the Maglic Mountains, the Vučevo Plateau, the Volujak Mountains, Bioč, Zelengora, Lelija, then Perućica - one of the four last remaining European rainforests, nine mountain lakes, and as many as 17 rivers and streams. In it is the settlement of Tjentište, where the "Valley of Heroes" memorial complex was built, the monument and ossuary to the fallen fighters of the "Battle of Sutjeska" and the memorial museum dedicated to the partisans who died in the Second World War.

Sutjeska National Park covers about 17,000 hectares. It is tucked away at the crossing from eastern Bosnia to eastern Herzegovina. NP Sutjeska is, by the way, the oldest and largest national park in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was declared the largest natural protection zone in 1962.

Today, Sutjeska National Park is also a symbol of an active vacation. In addition to visiting the historical complex in Tjentište, many visitors come for hiking on the slopes of Maglić and Zelengora, as well as rafting in the nearby Tara Canyon. In recent years, cycling tours in the mountains of the Sutjeska National Park have also become quite popular. Those who don't have the strength to conquer climbs and plateaus by pedaling can always opt for a jeep safari tour of almost untouched natural beauty. However, among the biggest attractions and challenges in Sutjeska Park is canyoning on the Hrčavka River, but this adventure requires good physical condition.

The History Of The Sutjeska Park

The first official steps towards protecting certain parts of today's Sutjeska Park were made at the end of the 19th century during the Austro-Hungarian administration in Bosnia and Herzegovina. From the archived documents, it can be seen that in 1893 a decision was made to protect the game in the area of the Zelengora, Volujak, and Maglić mountains. Hunting of roe deer, deer, and chamois was very popular at that time as well, whose meat was highly prized among the people and on the tables of the Austro-Hungarian rich. The governors who managed that area realized that excessive hunting would exterminate all that game, so it was decided that not everyone could hunt as much and as often as they wanted. The hunting zone and the period of the year when hunting is allowed have been determined. This decision also contributed to adopting the Law on Hunting, Management of Hunting Grounds and Game in the Austro-Hungarian occupation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Later, in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, this hunting ground in the area of today's Sutjeska National Park was significantly expanded.

The foresters, who were visiting the forests and making plans for felling trees in 1938, came to the edge of the Perućica rainforest and were shocked. They found huge, giant beech, spruce, and fir trees. They were over 60 meters high. Several people had to hold hands around a beech tree to hug it. They were supposed to be several hundred years old. This is where the idea was born that this natural forest wealth should be protected, but the Second World War quickly began. The experts did not forget that, and in 1952 the Government of the Yugoslav Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina set aside the area of Perućica, with slightly more than 1,000 hectares, from regular forest management. This meant that logging was prohibited in that area. Perućica Rainforest has been declared a forest resource needed for scientific research and teaching. Two years later, it was slightly expanded and placed under the protection of the state as a nature reserve.

As the famous Sutjeska battle took place in the valley of the Sutjeska River in 1943, in which around 7,500 partisans died, the communist government in Yugoslavia in 1958 protected the battle sites in their memory and declared them an area of national-historical importance.

In a logical sequence, to save priceless natural resources from human hands, destruction, and pollution, the entire area of Sutjeska was declared a National Park on January 13, 1962. It still has that status today, with the fact that in 2012 it expanded to part of the municipality of Kalinovik to include Lake Orlovačko.

Geographical Location

Sutjeska National Park is located in the southeastern part of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It practically adjoins the city of Foča. Since Foča is at the crossing point from the region of Bosnia to the region of Herzegovina, there is a story that a man asked a group of Foča people if they were Bosnians or Herzegovinans, and they answered him, we are the "and". So it can be said about Sutjeska Park that it is "and" - a natural connection between two regions - Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Sutjeska Park is surrounded by natural boundaries: the mountains Zelengora, Volujak, Bioč, Maglić, and Vučevo. All these mountains have peaks above 2,000 meters above sea level. At 2,386 meters, Maglić is the highest peak in the Republic of Srpska and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Two dominant rivers, Sutjeska and Hrčavka, which flow from south to north, cut their beds through the center of the national park.
The advantage of Sutjeska National Park is that these untouched natural beauties are located on both sides of the main road from Belgrade to Trebinje, and further to Herceg Novi or Dubrovnik. Arrival is also possible from Sarajevo and Mostar. So when you go on a journey, and the goal is Sutjeska Park, it is convenient and easy to get to. All you need is some money, goodwill, and a desire for adventure.

Rivers In Sutjeska National Park

The largest river of NP Sutjeska is the Sutjeska River, and the Hrčavka and Jabučnica rivers are smaller, which are also attractive because of their almost untouched deep canyons, cascades, and smaller waterfalls. The Perućica stream, which bears the same name as the Perućica rainforest, through which it roars, is also famous for the magnificent Skakavac waterfall. It is also interesting that in Sutjeska National Park, there is another waterfall with the same name but at the exit from the canyon of the Hrčavka River. However, that Grasshopper is three times smaller than the one in the Perućica rainforest.

Sutjeska River


The heart of Sutjeska National Park is the river Sutjeska, which cuts through it with its canyon in the middle. The national park was named after her. By the way, the word "sutjeska" means a narrow and deep river valley above which very steep and high rocks rise vertically. Experts say, "If the canyon is long, it is called a canyon, and if it is short, it is called a sutjeska". With its canyon, the river Sutjeska separates Zelengora from Maglić and Volujak. In some parts, its canyon is as deep as 1,200 meters. However, in one part, it also creates a slightly more spacious valley - Tjentište.

The river Sutjeska rises from the Vlasulja peak of the Volujak mountain and flows into the Drina upstream of Foča near the village of Kosmana. It is only 36 kilometers long. Its tributaries are the Suški Brook and Perućica Brook, Trlorišnica, Klobučarica, Jabušnica, Prijevor Brook, Usovički Brook, and Hrčavka River. All these rivers and brooks form water capillaries circulating through Sutjeska National Park. These are fast, clear, clean, and cold mountain waters where brown trout live.

Hrčavka River

In recent years, the Hrčavka River is best known for canyoning. It originates in the springs of the Zelengora ridges and flows into the Sutjeska. It is also its largest tributary and is only 13.5 kilometers long. Like Sutjeska, it has dug out a deep canyon for itself, full of cascades and waterfalls, where it is fast and swift, but on the other hand, there are also natural pools, where at times its cold water calms down, one might even say that it falls asleep. For everyone who goes canyoning, which has been organized since 2014, it is recommended to wear thicker diving suits because the temperature in Hrčavka is around 7 - 8 degrees. The nature around it is still wild and untouched, and that is why it attracts many adventurers.


Tjentište is a valley in the central course of the river Sutjeska. It stretches three kilometers in length and one kilometer in width. It is also a populated area in the Sutjeska National Park, where about 80 people live.

They say that Tjentište got its name from the Latin word "tentorium", which means tent. It is assumed that in the past, merchant caravans carrying goods from Dubrovnik to cities in the continent's interior stopped there for the night.

One of the sights of Tjentište is a huge swimming pool built in the seventies of the last century. It is so big that its area is 16,000 square meters, like several football fields. It has clean, flowing water because it is filled by the river Sutjeska. That's why it's a bit chilly to swim in, but regardless, it's very popular in July and August. In addition to the swimming pool, there are other fields for sports and recreation, such as football and basketball courts.

However, Tjentište is best known for its house in the "Valley of Heroes" memorial complex, dedicated to the partisan fighters who died in the Battle of Sutjeska.

The Battle Of Sutjeska

The Battle of Sutjeska was fought for a month, from May 15 to June 15, 1943. Partisan and German forces clashed in it during the Second World War. About 17,000 partisans led by Josip Broz Tito and with 3,500 wounded were surrounded by as many as 127,000 German and Italian soldiers. The Germans called this military action "Operation Schwarz", and the goal was to destroy the Partisan forces. The battles were fought to break the partisans out of the ring, mostly on the grounds of Zelengora and Vučevo. That's where most people died. According to the data, 7,543 partisans died, of which about 200 remained unidentified. Among them, commander Sava Kovačević was killed, then Veselin Masleša, Nurija Pozderac, doctor Sima Milošević, poet Ivan Goran Kovačić, and Tito were wounded. The battle's epilogue is the partisans' breakthrough, which is why it is considered successful and heroic despite the huge human losses. The survivors escaped further towards Jahorina and eastern Bosnia.

The Valley Of The Heros

The Battle of Sutjeska was fought for a month, from May 15 to June 15, 1943. Partisan and German forces clashed in it during the Second World War. About 17,000 partisans led by Josip Broz Tito and with 3,500 wounded were surrounded by as many as 127,000 German and Italian soldiers. The Germans called this military action "Operation Schwarz", and the goal was to destroy the Partisan forces. The battles were fought to break the partisans out of the ring, mostly on the grounds of Zelengora and Vučevo. That's where most people died. According to the data, 7,543 partisans died, of which about 200 remained unidentified. Among them, commander Sava Kovačević was killed, then Veselin Masleša, Nurija Pozderac, doctor Sima Milošević, poet Ivan Goran Kovačić, and Tito were wounded. The battle's epilogue is the partisans' breakthrough, which is why it is considered successful and heroic despite the huge human losses. The survivors escaped further towards Jahorina and eastern Bosnia.

Prašuma Perućica

As we have already mentioned, the Perućica rainforest is one of the last four rainforests in Europe. It is a true natural treasure, which the people of that region have managed to preserve for centuries, and especially in the last 150 years when forests everywhere in the world have been involuntarily cleared.

The Perućica rainforest stretches in a bay at the foot of Maglić, Volujak, and the canyon of the river Sutjeska on the western side. It spread over six and a half kilometers in length and from one to three kilometers in width, depending on which part.

Huge "wild" trees and numerous vegetation make Perućica almost impassable for humans. Beech trees, spruces, and firs dominate, there are also maples, white and black pines, spruces, and experts have counted as many as 170 species of trees and shrubs and more than 2,000 herbaceous plants. Some hundreds of years old trees reach tens of meters into the "sky". A giant spruce was also found in the rainforest, as high as 63 meters, but it collapsed a few years ago. Numerous plants are endemic species that do not grow anywhere else on planet Earth but only in that locality in Sutjeska Park. Many rare ones are on the red list of endangered species in the world and are threatened with extinction.

Nevertheless, paths have been paved through certain rainforest parts so nature lovers can visit them. Knowing that you should not go there alone and without a guide is important. ENTERING THE PERUĆICA RAINFOREST IS ALLOWED ONLY WITH THE ACCOMPANIMENT OF A GUIDE.

The animal world in the Perućica reserve consists of all the animals characteristic of the Western Balkans. There are brown bears, wolves, foxes, lynxes, wild boars, rabbits, roe deer, goats, badgers, squirrels, numerous species of snakes, birds - eagles, hawks, blackbirds, and rare butterflies. They say that there are 90 species of butterflies and 114 species of birds. Many birds are seasonal, so they move to this forest reserve only in warm periods of the year. Perućica is also the habitat of the most poisonous snake in Europe - the viper. About a hundred edible mushrooms grow in the rainforest, and many more, are said to be possible to taste only once.

Several cameras have been installed in the Perućica reserve, where the movement of wild animals can be observed.

Skakavac Waterfall

The Perućica rainforest, apart from the Suški stream (on the edge of the Sutjeska National Park), which produces many small and noisy beaches and is partly a sinkhole, flows the Perućica stream of the same name. The famous Skakavac waterfall is on it. In the forest's heart, it falls from a 75-meter-high cliff, creating a great roar. In the spring, when heavy rains and snow melts, it is difficult to approach the Grasshopper, sometimes impossible. Otherwise, the entire Perućica River is "covered" with numerous plants and juniper trees.

Zelengora Mountain

While all the other mountains are huddled on the eastern side of the Sutjeska River, the Zelengora mountain spreads out and dominates the western part of the Sutjeska National Park. They didn't get their name without a reason. The specific green color of its vast pastures and forests distinguishes it from all other surrounding mountains. In the lower areas, dense conifer and deciduous forests dominate, and when you get above 1,500 meters above sea level, the view "bursts" over green meadows. Because of its beautiful landscapes and precisely that unreal view, many people call it the "mountain queen of Herzegovina".

Zelengora has several impressive peaks, and Orlovac, Videž, Klek, and Vilinjak stand out due to their steep slopes dotted with white stone. However, the most famous is Bregoč, which is also the highest at 2,014 meters. From its vantage point, there is a view of the entire Sutjeska Park.

The meadows of Zelengora used to host Herzegovinian herdsmen en masse, who drove their herds of sheep and cattle out to graze in the summer and stayed on the mountain from May to October. They can still be found today but in much smaller numbers. On the other hand, Zelengora today hosts many tourists and mountaineers. Its slopes, forests, and pastures are crisscrossed by a network of hiking trails suitable for serious mountaineers and recreationists. Almost all year round, groups can be seen meandering through its green meadows with backpacks on their backs.

The trademark of this mountain is blueberries, which ripen at the beginning of August and are everywhere in the higher areas. Everyone who hikes in that month also enjoys picking them.

"Mountain Eyes" Of Zelengora

A special story, but also the attraction of Mount Zelengora, is its lakes. There are nine of them, located at the foot of its peaks: Crno Lake, Bijelo Lake, Orlovačko, Štirinsko, Kotlaničko, Borilovačko, Gornje bare, Donje bare, and Kladopoljsko lake. All of them, except Borilovacki, belong to glacial lakes called "mountain eyes" in a different and flattering way. They were created by the erosive work of glaciers, which for centuries hollowed out the soil in which water collects from the rain and snow that melts and flows from the peaks of Zelengora.

Borilovačko Lake is the only artificial lake that was created by damming. Interestingly, Kladopolj Lake got its name because there are wooden logs at its bottom, for which the story of where they came from has been lost since ancient times since there is no forest around, but the name remains. Otherwise, all these "mountain eyes" are small ponds, round in shape, clean and clear, emerald or blue in color.

Maglić Mountain

If, for Zelengora, we can say that it spread out and scattered through the Sutjeska National Park, occupying half of its territory, then Maglić towered over all the others like some kind of karst mountain. With its eponymous peak - "Maglić," at 2,386 meters above sea level, it has grown into the highest mountain of the Sutjeska Park and the whole of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

However, it spread to the territory of Montenegro, so there is another of its peaks, Veliki Vitao, which is ten meters higher than Maglić.

It is assumed that Maglić Mountain got its name because its top is often covered with fog or clouds that are "close" to its heights. Those fogs are precisely a feature of this mountain, so you should take care when hiking and what the weather conditions are like because sometimes they can suddenly change and the fog suddenly descends on Maglić.

The Maglić mountain is also rich in coniferous and deciduous forest, at its foot is the Perućica rainforest, but above 1,600 meters above sea level, there are mostly pastures, meadows, and rocks. Maglić has always been a herding mountain in the summer, and even today, there is an open cottage on it where shepherds sleep, warm themselves, and make cheese and cream while tending their livestock to summer grazing.

Like all areas in the NP Sutjeska and Maglić, it is rich in water and numerous springs, especially at the foot of the mountain. One of the most famous springs is Tsarev Do, which is quite a small spring, but it never dries up.

There is also a large Prijevor plateau on the mountain, which can be reached by car on Maglić, but there is no road beyond. There is a wonderful lookout point from where you can see Zelengora, Perućica, and a large part of the national park.

Trnovac Lake

Maglić hides a special pearl in itself - Trnovac Lake. It is nested in a valley surrounded by rocky cliffs at over 1,500 meters above sea level. It is located on the other side of the Maglić Peak and on the territory of Montenegro. Many consider it one of the most beautiful mountain lakes. It is particularly attractive because of its heart-shaped shape and intense blue color. Lake Trnovac is 825 meters long and 715 meters wide; its greatest depth is nine meters. It is frozen during the winter.

Apart from Trnovački, there are two other miniature lakes in the Piva on Maglić Nature Park - Larg and Small Mratinjsko Lakes. The large Mratinjsko Lake is 80 meters long and 60 meters wide. Its depth is usually one and a half meters, although in some places, it goes down to three meters.

The small lake of Mratinj is about half a kilometer away from Veliki and has a diameter of only 20 meters. Both waters is clear and fresh, as in all mountain lakes.

Activities In Sutjeska National Park

Anyone who comes to the Sutjeska National Park can choose from a number of activities to fill their time with quality. It is important that they all take place in beautiful landscapes, preserved nature, and a clean environment where people can breathe aromatic and fresh air due to the diverse plants.

The offer is numerous, from the most popular rafting on the Tara River, through hiking and conquering mountain peaks and "pearl" lakes, cycling cruises through Maglić, a tour of the "Valley of Heroes", adrenaline canyoning through Hrčavka, to jeep safaris and horse riding. You can try all these excursions and adventures through the Highlander camp, whose trained and extremely responsible guides will take you through all the streams, roads, and paths of the Sutjeska National Park.

Rafting On Tara River


Rafting On Tara River is certainly this region's most popular and famous recreation. Whoever in a rubber boat gets a taste of going down its rapids, who gets splashed by its foaming waves, will undoubtedly take home unforgettable memories. The excitement experienced requires a safe return to one of the most attractive rafting sections from Brštanovica to Šćepan polje. On the way, they will stop and enjoy the Šipčanica stream and waterfall, the stone of love, and then roar among the Tar rocks.

Rafting in Tara in April and May is only for those who are ready and skilled and who enjoy adrenaline challenges because then, due to snow melting, the water level is high, and the river is much stronger, faster, colder, and more violent. But then the experience is more intense, and adrenaline dominates both body and mind.

Since mid-June, Tara has been much calmer but far from boring and tame. Even in the summer months, she is very attractive and demanding and likes to splash you when you run into her rapids. Although rafting is not recommended for children under the age of 8, who must also be excellent swimmers, going down Tara in July and August is not so extreme, so it can be a great recreation for them too. A3 is our most requested arrangement.

Perućica Rainforest

Perućica Rainforest - untouched forest for centuries. You can hardly see it anywhere anymore because, for example, the Amazon is quite far from the Balkans. People don't even seem to realize how exclusive it is. At only a few hours' drive from all directions in the region, some even closer, you can step where wild animals only walk. To see the wonderful, giant spruce trees, beeches... There are paths through one part of Perućica so you can still go through this impassable forest and see this natural wonder. But the man, who is used to being careless, started to spoil things and leave behind garbage, so some people even thought of having a barbecue. To prevent such troubles, it was introduced that whoever wants to enter the heart of the rainforest and see its miraculous Skakavac waterfall from a meter away must pay 200 marks - about 100 euros.  Highlander guides recommend the arrangement A28.

Trip To The Valley Of Heroes

is a daily history lesson that should not be missed when you come to the Sutjeska National Park. The grandiose monument in the Tjentište Valley bears witness to the Partisan army's suffering on these hills and gorges. For a month, they fought with ten times more numerous enemies in order not to break out of the tight circle. And they succeeded. However, a third of the fighters remained forever in the area of Sutjeska. In the Memorial House, you can read all their names and honor them because they died fighting for freedom. During this trip, you can also visit the grave of commander Sava Kovačević on Krekovi or Nurije Pozderac on Dragoš saddle and see the memorials of all the partisan units that fought then on Sutjeska. You can find more about this offer on this link.

Canyoning On Hrčavka

Canyoning On Hrčavka is certainly one of the most challenging adventures. In order to successfully go down the riverbed where the Hrčavka River flows, you need to be in decent physical condition. You have to step over its rapids, go down its cascades, jump from a waterfall into cold pools, descend with the help of ropes down its vertical cliffs, tread its cold water up to your waist in some places... And all this for five to six hours. Once you start there, there is no going back because sometimes it is impossible, and the only possible way is forward. Our trained guides from the Highlander camp will help you to safely cope with this unforgettable adventure, to say the least, the details of which can be viewed in arrangement A11

Hiking And Trekking

are experiencing unprecedented expansion throughout Europe, and the Sutjeska National Park is the perfect space for this recreation. There is so much to see and pass that a person simply doesn't know where to start and what to visit without regretting that he didn't get to something. Hiking along the numerous paths of Zelengora, discovering its beautiful lakes, climbing to the top of Bregoč, climbing from Prijevor to the top of Maglić, marching to the emerald Trnovačka lake, conquering the expanses of the huge Vučevo plateau.

All of these are numerous hiking routes on which one hike for hours, but they are worth every step, every breath, and every look.

The most popular route is to Lake Trnovac. Zelengora is also recommended for those who are just gaining experience in mountaineering. It is not too demanding, and its trails are gentle. It is also suitable for children, which can be seen in this arrangement. The ascent to Maglić is a slightly more serious route and requires more strength, but every effort is worth it - see this arrangement.

Jeep Safari

Jeep Safari is an option for all those who want to visit all the beauties of Sutjeska NP in one day and at least see all the beauties of Sutjeska NP from the car - see this arrangement.

Mountain Biking

Mountain Biking attracts more and more those who would like to visit all the natural sights a little more and a little faster with the help of a bicycle, instead of just walking. Biking routes are made for beginners and those who want physically more serious tours. It can be chosen. If you want easier tours, the Highlander guide recommends cycling around several Zelengora lakes or visiting the plateau, pastures, and forests of the Vučeva mountain range.

Details can be found in the arrangement A29. Mountain biking is quite demanding, but it has its enthusiasts, who wouldn't trade a two-wheeler for anything, so they hike exclusively on bicycles.

Find out more about natural attractions in our recent posts:

  1. Durmitor National Park
  2. The River Tara and The Canyon of The River Tara


highlander caption

National Park Sutjeska

For one Highlander, it is difficult to ignore the "call of the wilderness", which slowly starts to speed up its pulse in the spring, and the view begins to disappear somewhere on the horizon, looking for mountain massifs waiting to be conquered again.

Nacionalni park Durmitor
Mountain And National Park Durmitor

Did you know that Durmitor comes from the Celtic words "dru mi tore, " meaning "mountain full of water"? Believe it or not, but on the Durmitor massif, there are as many as 18 glacial lakes.


People have a strange need to strive in life to reach some existential peaks, which become much more valuable than life itself.