Balkan - Dzhendema Reserve and Botev peak

Days 5  Distance 59 km   Ascent 4100 m   Descent 4200 m

This lovely trail represents the whole diversity of the most central part of the Balkan National Park. It involves the most alpine part of the mountain with its highest point-the peak of Botev, the Natural Reserves Dzhendema and the Severen Dzhendem. They are two of the nine nature reserves in the boundaries of the park, designated to preserve the rare plant and animal species in Bulgaria. Their names, which literally mean «the Hell and the Northern Hell» respectively, come from the inaccessible and wild terrain that they encompass at the upper segments of the mountains. It is a complex of nearly vertical slopes below Botev Peak, short and steep steps under the sparkling water of the springs, overhanging cliffs, rock bridges, deep precipices, and numerous waterfalls. At the lower parts of the mountain run rivers that are surrounded by ancient forests, refuge of many wild plants and animals. Actually the reserves are a paradise for the wild live. The main attractions of the trail are: the rise to the peak of Botev and the highest waterfall in Bulgaria- Rayskoto Praskalo. 

What to expect:

Five-day hut to hut hike along the main ridge of the Balkan Mountains;
To be leaded by experienced guide (if guided option is chosen);
Easy orienting (for the self-guided option);
To spend the nights at warm and cozy huts;
Breakfast and dinner provided by the hut-keepers;

Trip Highlights
  • A walk through the heart of the Central Balkan National Park;
  • A night in the amazing surrounds of the hut Ray and the highest waterfall in Bulgaria, Raysko Praskalo;
  • Real wilderness, well balanced with high-quality tourism facilities;
  • A climb to the highest peak of the Balkan, Botev peak;
  • Impressive views from the peaks along the hike;
  • Variety of landscapes: forests, pastures and rock outcrops.
Trek Suitability
For those who want to join, should be:
  • Fit and active traveller as it is a challenging walk. The central part of the trail is on the so called Tarzanova path. The terrain is rocky and the climb up is steep. The path is supported by a metal rope and stone steps cut into the rocks. Elsewhere it is broad and the peaks are high-mountain pastures.
  • Ready to spend 4 nights in mountain huts and one night in a mountain hotel. Each night the accommodation is in a different place so it is important to pack light.
  • Walk 5 days (5-7 hours) up to 20 km each day. 

Difficulty: It is a demanding hike as some of the days you should be ready to overcome 1400 m ascending or 1600 m descending. The path to the peak of Botev is narrow and stony. You should have a head for heights there.

Accommodation: The huts are well-maintained; the hut-keepers offer food and beverages. The huts are frequently visited, so you need to book the beds in advance. Despite the fact that the conditions are basic, the most of the huts offer hot shower.

Transport: 

  • To the starting point: The town of Kalofer is connected with the capital Sofia by train. Also there are buses to/from the town of Kazanlak. Kazanlak itself is served by a regular bus line from the capital Sofia. 
  • From the finishing point:The village of Tazha is connected by train with the capital Sofia. 

Security: The trail is totally secure. The most part of the trail is along well maintained hiking trails.  Nevertheless, we recommend using a navigation application on the mobile phone or a real GPS device as from time to time the region can experience foggy conditions. The area is served by the mountain rescue teams.  

Itinerary
Ask for more information here:
Prices per person for 5 days / 4 nights:

169 EUR per person /self guided trail

What is included in the price:

 

OPTION
SELF-GUIDED 
GUIDED TRIP
Accommodation in the huts
Detailed Itinerary
GPS Track of your trail
Time tables of public transport
Taxi companies contacts 
Phone and e-mail assistance
English speaking guide
X
Luggage transfer 
X
X
Meals and drinks
X
X
Travel insurance
X
X
Travel to and from Bulgaria
X
X

 

In Brief
RANGE
Active
TRIP TYPE
Hut to hut tour
STARTS
Kalofertown
ENDS
Tazhavillage
DEPARTS
June - October
GROUP SIZE
Min 1 / Max 20
ACCOMMODATION
Common/private rooms
TOUR GUIDE
Yes/No - guided/self guided
MEALS
Yes, against payment
COUNTRY
Bulgaria
Book here:

The Prices Start From 169 EUR*
* per person in self-guided option.

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Day1one

Start of the trip

Kalofer town - Ray hut

Walk from the Kalofer town to the hut Ray. This beautiful and popular walk starts off from the resort Panitsite. It is located just 6 km north of the town of Kalofer, at the foot of the mountain, in the valley of the Tundja River. After overcoming a steep ascend along a winding path rutted from rains the path follows a dirt road that leads to the entrance in a cool forest. It crosses sparkling sweeping streams by small bridges. This trail is well famous for its beauty due to these streams. They form small water jumps and clear pools. The path passes by several water fountains, one of it nicely shaped as a bear head. The hut Ray is settled on a big grassy clearing in front of the Raiskite Skali cliffs- part of the vertical rocky southern flank of the peak Botev.

Day2two

Ray hut - Botev Shelter
Ray hut - Botev shelter

Walk from the hut Ray to the shelter Botev. It sets off with steep serpents that lead to a point from which could be admired the nature phenomenon- Rayskoto Praskalo waterfall. From the top of the Raiskite Skali descends the highest waterfall in Bulgaria – Rayskoto praskalo. Among the inaccessible precipices, rock ridges, and marvelous nature is located this Bulgarian beloved beauty. Rayskoto praskalo waterfall is the highest waterfall not only in Bulgaria, but also on the whole Balkan Peninsula. Its height is 124,5 m. It collects its water from the “eternal” snow patch located on the very peak of Botev, to jump down the Raiskite Skali cliffs.
To the very peak of Botev heads off a path that is cut in them. The path was tracked in 1941 by the meteorologist and mountaineer Todor Bozhkov, with the nickname Tarzan. This path is very steep, narrow, exposed to the gullies. It is supported by a metal rope. Despite this, the track is very amusing, squeezing through the rocks and offering nice views all the time. The Botev shelter is located on the western slopes of the peak of Botev. It was built in 1936 by the Plovdiv and Karlovo tourists to facilitate the trekking to the peak. Despite the name “Shelter”, it is yearly manned and its keepers provide food and drinks.

Day3three
Botev shelter - Apriltsi town
Botev - Apriltsi

Walk from the hut Botev to a hotel in Apriltsi town. This is an awesome touristic path cut through the inaccessible northern flank of the ridge. This beautiful and wild part of the Balkan crosses the area of its highest natural reserve- the Severen Dzhendem Reserve. The path passes by the hut Pleven before its end near the town of Apriltsi. Pleven hut is arguably the hut with the best panorama in the whole mountains. It is worth to pay it a visit even only for those views. Continuing down along the ridge on which the hut Pleven is settled, you will reach eventually the town of Apriltsi. Once, this path connected the hut Pleven with the hut Vidima. As it does not function nowadays, you can use the family hotel nearby. 

Day4four
Apriltsi town - Tazha hut
Apriltsi - Tazha

Walk from the family hotel in Apriltsi to the hut Tazha. The path starts off along the river Praskalska. It is famous with its waterfall Vidimsko Praskalo, which drops down from the height of 80m. The path switches to the path that comes from Ostrets, a neighbourhood of the town Apriltsi and climbs up the beautiful rocky peak of Rusalka. The appeal of the path is on the views towards the vertical northern slopes below Botev Peak and the main spine of the Balkan. The rest is a pleasant descend to the hut Tazha.

Day5five

End of the trip
Tazha hut - Tazha village

Walk from the hut Tazha to the village of Tazha. It is a pleasant walk along a macadam road in the valley of the river Tazha. It is cut on the western flank of the peak Golyam Kademlia, a mighty peak that gives a start of many streams. Some of them jump over the vertical rocks and precipices thus forming beautiful waterfalls as the Babskoto praskalo and Kademlyiskoto praskalo. They are easily accessible from the road.

How the “Self-guided trip” option works:

If you prefer to explore the mountain at your own pace, than chose the option “Self-guided trip”. In this case we will provide you a package of materials, including a written hike description together with a customized travel itinerary, GPS tracks of your trail and local information. In order to make your independent hiking tour a success we will do all of the necessary arrangements. That is why the accommodations in the package are prepaid.

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The prices start from 169 EUR*

* per person in self-guided option.

Book your Trip Here

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