Best remote kayaking spots - Zaovine, Beli Rzav and Drina

Milena Mihajlovic | Live the World

November 23, 2022

The Zaovine Lake looks like it used to belong to some emerald sea, but ended up out of place, landlocked in the stunning slopes of the Tara Mountain National Park in Serbia. The lake is artificial, located near the village of the same name - Zaovine. Surrounded by vast forests, green hills, and tranquil shores, it's an attractive nature destination. Alongside its parent river Beli Rzav, and the mighty Drina, Zaovine Lake offers some of the best remote kayaking spots in this part of Europe.

Although you won’t find here much touristic entertainment, like shops and luxury accommodation, this place is a true bliss for people who enjoy the beauties of nature. Being close to the water, you’ll have the impression of being near the seaside, where you can swim, hike or join an organized kayaking tour.

The lake is at 900 m altitude, and maximal depth is 110 m. Water is very clean, and while drinking directly from the lake is not advised for people used to the city water, some locals will do it.

The best of Zaovine Lake with kayaking tours

You can jump aboard one of the kayaking tours like the one from the nearby town of Uzice, organized by the eco-hostel Republik. Another option is to join a tour organized by the local adventure sports tour operator Green Bear. The trips start with a visit to the traditional villages, introducing the visitors to the culture and heritage of the area. The kayak ride begins on the lake Zaovine, and it offers amazing, stunning views towards the hills and hard-to-reach spots of Tara.

It is also possible to continue towards the canyon of Beli Rzav River (White Rzav) called Sklopovi, that offers equally exciting and just a bit challenging setting. Some local agencies and hostels usually brind tourists to do canyoning here during the hot summer months. Although the marked trail is of the smaller difficulty, it does get narrower at some points, and some essential physical preparation is necessary.

Make sure not to miss the Ravna Stena which sticks out from the valley of Beli Rzav River. In the Middle Ages, a unique medieval fortification used to stand on this attractive natural landmark, while nowadays it inspires stories and reminds us of an inevitable power of time.

Kayaking is also possible in the remote parts of the inexhaustible source of inspiration - the Drina River, where you can explore the curves and hidden spots of wild Western Serbia even further. Most kayaking tours will take you close to the attractive tiny house on the Drina River, where you can take up close photographs or even climb there and take a break on this famous spot.

Zaovine village and accommodation for visitors

The Zaovine village lies in the Tara hills, just aside the Zaovine Lake. It was in this area that Pancic discovered the rare Pancic Spruce, a living fossil of the plant kingdom. The village offers traditional accommodation with affordable prices - “House on the Lake Lazic” or “Mountain hut Petkovac” etc. It’s also possible to stay in the nearby touristic complex Mitrovac, or in one of the hotels in the surrounding towns of Bajina Basta or Uzice.

Parts of the cultural heritage of this area are ethnic households like log cottages, adjusted to simple shepherds’ lives. While enjoying the active holiday and remote kayaking in the Zaovine Lake or the rivers Drina and Beli Rzav, make sure to take enough energy in and try amazing local delicacies like creamy milk product called kajmak or smoked meats.

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