New for 2022! A delightful week in Bulgaria’s richest herpetological area – Struma River valley, with its magnificent gorges, separating the plains along its flow and the adjacent mountains, it provides a big variety of habitats and rich biodiversity to explore during this trip.
The southwestern corner of Bulgaria is distinguished by some of the highest mountains in the Balkan peninsula – Rila and Pirin – and the deep river valleys of Struma and Mesta, that carve theirs ways through the mountains towards the Aegean coast of Greece. This combination guarantees not only diverse habitats, flora and fauna, but also tremendous landscapes and views to be admired and photographed.
Struma River Valley and the adjacent mountain slopes of Pirin, Slavyanka, Belasitsa, Osogovo and Maleshevska are the prime herpetological area of Bulgaria, which holds some of the most notable and sought-after species in the country. In the wetlands of the area we’ll look for Balkan and European Pond Terrapins, Dice Snake, Eurasian Sand Boa, Balkan Stream Frog, Balkan Spadefoot and Yellow-bellied Toad. In steppe-like habitats of the area we can expect to find Spur-thighed and Eastern Hermann’s Tortoises, Balkan Wall, European Glass and Balkan Green Lizards, Nose-horned Viper and Eurasian Worm Snake. The low mountains and gorges of the area holds jewels like the Leopard Snake, Dahl’s Whip Snake, Caspian Whip Snake, Four-lined Snake, Eastern Montpellier Snake and Erhard’s Wall Lizard, while if we venture into the high mountains of the area we can find Balkan Cross Adder and Sand Lizard. Some of the evenings we will also look for Kotschy’s Gecko around our hotel in Sandanski.
Early October is excellent time of the year to do this tour as we will miss the heat of the summer that makes both people and reptiles to look for deep shade and will give us longer hours to look for snakes and lizards in the field.
Our only hotel during this trip will be in the town of Sandanski, famous with its thermal mineral waters and spa resorts. The area is also famous with its Roman and Byzantine archeological sites and is believed to be the homeland of Spartacus – a Thracian gladiator and one of the leaders of the slave uprising against the Roman Empire in the Third Servile War.