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39 days. 4 countries. 1,000km of kayaking. 1 River. The Sava. April 24th – June 1st 2020.

This has been our idea for many years, and in 2020 we are making it a reality! Balkan Rivers Tour 5 will see our crew put in kayaks at the source of the Sava River in Slovenia on April 24th and then paddle the entire length of it through Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina to Serbia, where we will take out with a grand finale on June 1st, the International Day of Sava, in Belgrade.


To show how stunning the Sava is; how many different animal and plant species still call it home, how flood forests protect the cities along its flow, how many incredible tributaries add to its waters, and how it connects different landscapes, nations, and traditions while remaining the river which defines the Balkan peninsula.

The Sava in flood mode.

But unfortunately, there’s another ‘Why?

It’s because we want to create a counterweight to absurd ideas of what decision-makers call development. On top of 9 already existing (highly destructive) hydropower plants on Sava river in Slovenia, there are plans for at least 14 new HPPs in Slovenia and Croatia, a channel connecting Sava and Danube in Croatia and many other projects that would turn the Sava River into a series of dead reservoirs (and this way kill one of the last corridors for wildlife in Europe). On top of that, there are more than 500 new HPPs planned in the Sava catchment.

“No more dams like that.”

So, the goal of Balkan Rivers Tour 5 is to unite everyone who understands the value of wild rivers for humanity and build up the momentum along a 39 day-long action with a big final event in Belgrade, where we will make clear statement directed at decision-makers; the Sava is an integral part of Europe’s greater freshwater ecosystem, acknowledge it as a climate change mitigation tool and provide better biodiversity protection while supporting ecotourism and economy. Instead of mass destruction through HPPs (which would be heavily subsidized by taxpayer’s money, this way enabling rampant corruption and completely unnecessary devastation), we will demand from decision-makers and investment institutions to back out from hydro and rather support way cheaper and real green alternatives all combined in one simple concept; giving rivers more space through announcement of new protected areas and restoration of degraded stretches of rivers, solar panels on already existing infrastructure, and general transition to sustainable economy with smaller general power consumption in the future. 

How can you join in?

Well, come paddle with us and show that protecting the Sava and the tributaries is a demand coming from all over the world. We are giving you a promise you will have a blast hanging around with a bunch of special people, experiencing cool cultures, and seeing some incredible stretches of river. Best times to join us are the first stage (April 24th – May 3rd) with cool whitewater sections and the last stage (May 25th – June 1st) if you are into flatwater kayaking and lots of parties. You can find the full program here.

How can you get directly involved?

In order to prove fighting for Balkan rivers is a movement rather than a project, we are inviting you to create your River Action on any of the numerous rivers in the Sava catchment. Use your connections, wild ideas and imaginations to come up with it. To help you a bit, here are our guidelines.

See you on the Sava or its tributary!
Rok and the BRT5 crew