Over its course of 119 km (74 miles), the Uvac River carves a deep and winding valley through a dramatic karst landscape of mountain peaks, towering escarpments, and expansive caves. Among such engaging terrain, the Meanders stand out as a particularly striking portion of the Uvac River’s ruggedly picturesque channel.
The Meanders are formed by a series of tightly packed, looping arches that the river has sculpted out of its limestone bed over the millennia. In this stretch, the canyon walls can soar up to 100 meters (328 feet) above the twisting and turning waters below. The result is a natural setting that is as impressive from any elevation.
The Uvac River Meanders are part of the Uvac Special Nature Reserve, a protected area first created in 1971 that now encompasses a total of 7543 ha (29 square miles). The reserve is home to several notable species of birds and fish, including the osprey, eagle owl, goosander, chub, barbel, huchen, and sneep.
The area is particularly popular among vulture lovers, as it serves as a sanctuary for the griffon vulture, a bird featured on many Serbian coats of arms whose wingspan can reach 3 meters (10 feet). The griffon vulture faced extinction as recently as 20 years ago, but is now thriving in the Uvac River Valley, thanks in large part to conservation groups that have set up large “outdoor restaurants” for the scavengers, stocked with carrion and slaughterhouse waste. The majestic birds can often be seen perched on the cliffs overlooking the Meanders.
Know Before You Go
Boat tours are available, but only via authorized guides, as restrictions are in place to limit numbers of visitors. Contact the local tourist bureau for information on booking a tour.