Rafting with the president of Bulgaria
“Know your country so you can love her”
The words of Aleko Konstantinov still echo today. The rafting on the Struma River was organized as a present for the birthday of President Rumen Radev by his wife, Desi Radeva. Until the last moment he did not know what he was expecting. The descent was held in the late afternoon. After full equipment, transportation to the start and short instruction, he entered the river.
The rafting boat was hitting the waves one by one. The President paddled strong with good technique .
Along the river is one of the important routes for the migration of birds from Africa to Europe – Via Aristotelis. It passes through Southwest Bulgaria, the Sofia Field and the Iskar River Valley.
The view of the Kresna Gorge and diving cormorants fascinates everyone. The valley of the Struma River in the Kresna Gorge shelters the great cormorant (Phalocrocorax carbo). The species is a specialized fish eater. Daily it eats 0.5 – 0.75 kg of fish. There is also a stable population of vultures in the area. They are among the largest birds in Bulgaria and Europe. Because of their large size, they prefer to glide in the air using wind currents. All species of vultures are protected by Bulgarian and international legislation.
Rafting is part of the adventure and sustainable tourism. It does not replace local livelihoods. It in no way damages the river and its inhabitants. The river has preserved its natural appearance – the corridors for the migration of the passing fish are without barriers and this allows the development of the rafting in the Struma rapids. Here are the fishes Stuka, Ukule, Soma, Perch, Black Barbell, Babushka, River Chifle and others. Eagles also met in the river, but after the construction of large irrigation barrages in Greece, the predatory fish stops appearing in our country. A critically endangered species in the world. Over the last 30 years it has disappeared from most habitats in Bulgaria and is included in the Red Book.
The paper bags made an impression on the President. For years, initiatives have been organized by local clubs to clean up the gorge, with a view to widening the public’s problem. The rivers are the mirror of a nation and it is our responsibility to take care of them.
The unspoilt Kresna gorge allows many people – Bulgarians and foreigners – to enjoy the sight of rare birds, reptiles, majestic rocks and to feel the thrill of descent into the white waters of the Struma River.
Everybody came out wet, tired and happy after the 12km of paddling.
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