With Wild Herzegovina 27 April to 04 May 2019
We arrived a day early for our week‐long guided tour of the natural world of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as arranged with Denis Bohm, the owner and leader of this unique "small adventure". We explored the old city of Mostar that day, then joined the departing guests from the previous tour to go to Dubrovnik Airport to meet our fellow arriving guests. This was our second time with Denis: the first was four years earlier when the tour was shorter. We decided to return for four main reasons; the country is spectacular, the people are friendly and helpful, the food is amazing (and more than ample) and Denis is superb at his job. Every year, he checks out beforehand the roads and tracks, looking out for additional locations. He is hugely knowledgeable about the flora and fauna of the country, and is a superb photographer. Added to that, his people skills and diplomacy are of the highest order. His tours tend to develop into happy events.
The concept is simple: the cost covers accommodation in Guesthouse Liska in Mostar, all food and drink, collection from and delivery to Dubrovnik Airport¹ and all tour travel in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including a sojourn or two into nearby Croatia, particularly to visit the Neretva Delta² . Every evening, guests can dine in the excellent Taurus Restaurant only a stone's throw from the Mostar Bridge³ , or can dine elsewhere of course at any time (and pay for it!).
Our tour was full, a total of 12 people who, with their birdwatching telescopes, fitted comfortably into the 17‐seater coach. Our driver, Edin⁴ , was superb on the mountain roads and tracks ‐ he's a fully‐qualified driving instructor! Although this time we had more rain than average for the time of year, Denis's knowledge of the local meteorological quirks, meant that on each rain‐affected day, we visited the least rain‐affected karst plateau valley and so lost little bird‐finding/watching time.
Each day began with breakfast at 07:00 in the tiny but welcoming Restaurant Liska, almost adjacent to the guesthouse, the names deriving we think from a shared, but unrelated surname. The daily trips are a mix of longer and shorter distance drives on the bus, but are interspersed with multiple stops to visit good birding, geographical or cultural sites. Some fit all three categories: one, a sheer 120‐metre cliff with Alpine Swift, Common Swift, Crag Martin, Blue Rock Thrush and Western Rock Nuthatch nesting, overhangs an emergent river fed underground by water absorbed through karst fields, but is opposite a monastery of Whirling Dervishes!
Other highlights were a visit to the spectacular waterfall at Kravica; finding Pallid Swifts that nest under a major road bridge over the Neretva; walking in a grassy valley where Montagu's Harriers were numerous; obtaining brief views of Rock Partridge (although we heard them elsewhere ‐ the low cloud had discouraged them somewhat), and in the mountains sighting a 40+ strong kettle of Ravens wheeling and zooming in pairs vigorously in the breeze. We also experienced Rock Buntings singing only a few metres away, located singing Cirl Buntings in lower valleys and encountered Sombre Tit on the trip from Dubrovnik singing and only a few days later found the same species nesting in a hole in a garden wall. In a wooded public picnic park on a rainy day we were entranced by 5 woodpecker species⁵ and many singing Common Nightingales and Golden Orioles. We also were fascinated by the combative Spanish Sparrows.
On several days, Short‐toed Eagles flew close by, but passerine return migration generally was late, Lesser Whitethroat arriving in numbers midweek. Only a single male Red‐backed Shrike was on territory. Only two Woodchat Shrikes were recorded. Tawny Pipits had begun arriving, but Hoopoes and Common Cuckoo seemed to materialise everywhere. From our accommodation in the city, we could hear Scops Owl at night, calling from trees that had grown in a former two‐storey house shattered by mortar fire in the 1990s conflict; Common Nightingales sang throughout the day. On our evening 400‐metre stroll to the Taurus (quite often in rain) we failed to find a city‐dwelling Dipper, but we caught up with the species elsewhere.
Most of the lower Neretva watershed consists of pellucid streams that traverse superb woodland. However, the Neretva is the only major river system of Bosnia and Herzegovina that flows southwest into the Adriatic. Further inland, the mountain chain that occurs from northwest to southeast creates a divide between watersheds; beyond it, water drains to the north and east eventually reaching the Danube and thence empties into the distant Black Sea. Consequently, natural and manmade waterbodies on the Mostar side of the divide are important breeding areas for waterbirds and waders and are vital stopover points for long‐distance migrants.
Hutovo Blato is one such artificial lake some 35km south of Mostar. It's home to White‐tailed Eagle, Glossy Ibis, Penduline Tit, Squacco Heron, Night Heron and quite recently to Western Cattle Egret. The lake has artificial tides, because a distant hydro‐electric scheme operating turbines at the foot of several massive pipes that run from a mountain reservoir down to low level drains into Hutovo Blato, where the workers have to control the water level by releasing that water via the irrigated fields into the nearby Neretva. At night, water is pumped back up to the mountain reservoir to help replenish it for the next day. Although tides in the Adriatic are small, at times they force water from the Neretva upstream towards Hutovo Blato, which can make the job of the dam workers a little tricky!
Even the best guides find that fortune doesn't always favour them, as in the case where Denis was engrossed in conversation with one of our group a little ahead of the rest of us when a Black Woodpecker flew behind Denis and continued past us, giving us excellent close-up views...
On one visit to a karst field, the track had become unsuitable for the bus because of earlier rains, and so we walked for some distance, at last encountering newly arrived Red‐footed Falcons, all female bar one, zipping around in tight manoeuvres chasing dragonflies and other large insects. This trove of food attracted several Hobbies that joined the aerial display. Throw in some Marsh and Montagu's Harriers and you get some idea of the whirl of activity. Karst fields, wooded or treeless, have an abundance of rocks that provide perching places for Eastern Black‐eared Wheatear (Recently shown to be only distantly related to Western Black‐eared Wheatear, although both species have black ‐ or white‐chinned morphs.)⁶
What else did we see that UK birders might seek? Crested Tit obliged at close quarters, Great Reed Warblers were far from shy on reed‐tops, Turtle Doves were their usual purring selves, Ferruginous Duck occurred across the low‐altitude ponds, Black‐necked Grebe haunted open ponds and lakes that attracted few other birds, Pygmy Cormorants abounded, Little Bitterns skulked through reedbeds, Purple Herons, though wary, panicked into flight instead of remaining hidden and a few Honey Buzzards migrated through.
Green Sandpiper was commoner than on our 2015 trip, Curlew Sandpipers, transitioning into summer plumage rested, awaiting the melt on their high‐Arctic breeding grounds, a couple of Collared Pratincoles attended the rolling upwind‐feeding⁷ Black, White‐winged and Whiskered Terns and we saw one, but heard several Greater Short‐toed Larks at the same grasslands that provided us with a passage of Red‐rumped Swallows at close quarters. Alpine Chough favours certain mountain ridges, where they obliged with spectacular aerobatics. Sporadic Firecrest and Eastern Bonelli's Warbler⁸ sightings were probably symptomatic of delayed migrants, as were the low numbers of Eastern Olivaceous and Icterine Warblers, but Eastern Subalpine⁹ and Eastern Orphean Warblers were nesting. Rock Thrush paused close enough for photography, as did a male Common Crossbill, but Hawfinch was an elusive, glimpsed species.
However, the most spectacular sight was at a sand and gravel quarry just south of Mostar Airport. Here, thousands of pairs of Sand Martins nest, as do large numbers of European Bee‐eaters. The quarry management, thanks to Denis Bohm's persuasive nature, now avoids extracting at the sand cliffs during the nesting season and creates new sand walls whenever the old ones are demolished. The experience of standing close to the colonies during flocking behaviour is overwhelming. The birds ignore the day‐to‐day quarry operations as well as people walking slowly and quietly past.
For those whose main interests lie in butterflies, orchids, amphibians, mammals, dragonflies, fish or reptiles¹º , Denis is knowledgeable on these subjects, too, and so we keen birdwatchers all learned much about the rest of nature in this fascinating land.
We would gladly go on this tour for a third time (We certainly wouldn't be the first to do so) because there is so much to see and so little recording has been done of flora and fauna across much of the country, but we must confess that it is a superb eating safari, too. The local breads are reminiscent of what our grannies used to bake some 60 years ago and the restaurant food is startingly good all round. Perhaps our favourite meal was at a riverside restaurant; the outdoor tables were on an island reached by a handrail‐free bridge, where we were served trout that had been captured that morning...
¹ About 2.5 hours, with a birdwatching/coffee stop en route after being picked up. Stops on the return to Dubrovnik are dependent on guests' flight departure times.
² The same river that runs through Mostar.
³ The Taurus is adjacent to the Crooked Bridge, a miniature version of the more famous Old Bridge.
⁴ Confusingly, the guesthouse owner is also called Edin (we called him Edin1), our driver became Edin 2 and the restaurant manager, yes, you've guessed it, Edin 3...
⁵ Including singing Wrynecks.
⁶ Schweizer, M, V Warmuth, NA Kakhki, M Aliabadian, M Förschler, H Shirihai, A Suh and R Burri. 2018: Parallel plumage color evolution and introgressive hybridization in wheatears. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 32, 100–110.
⁷ The marsh terns almost dance just above the surface as they use the headwind to feed on insects while flying slowly over several hundred metres, then they pop up and fly rapidly downwind to their starting point to repeat the pattern.
⁸ Also called "Balkan Warbler".
⁹ The complex re‐evaluation of the populations previously grouped simply as "Subalpine Warbler" need not concern us because the only species from that work that occurs in the Balkans is Eastern Subalpine Warbler.
¹º There are checklists for each of these categories in Wild Herzegovina's goodies for guests.
- Mike Blair & Sue Fleming, Norfolk, 2019.
An extremely well-organised trip that took us to beautiful out‐of‐the‐way places from the Adriatic seashore to the caves and mountains of the dramatic Karst landscape of Herzegovina.
We enjoyed excellent views of many hard to find bird species, like Red‐footed Falcon, Crested, Sombre and Penduline Tits, and we enjoyed everywhere the wealth of wild flowers, especially orchids. Denis made sure that we avoided the worst of the unseasonal weather, and that we still visited all the key locations. Food and accommodation were excellent, likewise transport.
- Mandy and Edward Mayer , London, 2019.
We both thought that the whole trip was brilliant and great value. Thank you for the excellent research in locating all of the birds seen and even the ones that should have been "home" but playing hard to get.
We really enjoyed the different environments you took us to. This made for a broad variety of birds seen. The use of your scope was an added bonus to see the distant birds or just to get a better view. The 4‐5000 Sand Martins and 100 or so European Bee‐eaters stands out as simply amazing. There were too many bird sightings to mention but another exceptional spot was the flock of Red‐footed Falcons of which this was one of many "Life" ticks for us both.
We also enjoyed the company of the small party of like minded birders especially Jim who expanded our interests into the world of Butterflies, Moths and Orchids.
Your generosity is very much appreciated in supplying wonderful food, drink and, of course, the flask and mug too.
- Jane and Graham Dawe , Bristol, 2019.
Susan and myself thoroughly enjoyed our trip with you into Bosnia and Herzegovina, every day there was surprises, fantastic locations, beautiful views, all with wonderful birding and great places to eat our lunches with local dishes, and evening dining in the old town of Mostar what atmosphere!
We would truly recommend this to any like minded person who enjoys wildlife, discovering local history while meeting the pleasant and helpful people of Bosnia and Herzegovina the memories will stay with us for ever.
- Susan and John Hayward , Bedfordshire, 2019.
We have just returned from a week with Denis Bohm of Wild Herzegovina. There were ten of us from the Beds Natural History Society and we all thoroughly enjoyed the trip. Denis had put together a terrific itinerary based around the city of Mostar with a nice variety of activities and habitats to visit. These included caves ( conveniently timed when it was raining), waterfalls and boat rides out on the wetlands.
We had a dedicated and careful driver in a comfortable minibus which meant Denis could focus on his guiding. His local knowledge meant we were taken to some excellent and often beautiful sites, not just for birds but also butterflies and plants much to the pleasure of many group members.
Our Guesthouse accommodation was fine, perfectly clean, safe and functional. We were a short distance from the breakfast café and our evening meals were taken at a restaurant in the heart of the old town. The extensive menu meant that we could enjoy a different hearty and tasty meal on each of the seven nights. Lunch was often enjoyed at different venues and a particularly memorable meal was taken at a trout farm. Vegetarians were well catered for throughout the week. The pace of the trip was fairly casual and no long or steep walks were included.
We all agreed at the end we had experienced the wild side of Herzegovina in a safe, comfortable and enjoyable way with some terrific encounters with a wide range of wildlife and fantastic landscapes. Thank you Denis for making this possible.
- Mike Bird , Leighton Buzaard, 2019.
Thank you for arranging such a great holiday Denis. I thoroughly enjoyed myself seeing lots of interesting species. The fact that we also enjoyed great scenery and food really enhanced the experience.
- Marion Hession , Bedford, 2019.
I went on one of the May 2019 tours in Herzegovina and it fully lived up to my expectations, despite disappointing weather which brought snow to some of the high mountains!
The birding was excellent, and I clocked up six "lifers", after expecting only five! The highlight of these was a large flock of Red‐footed Falcons over the Hutovo Blato marshes, following a magical three‐hour boat trip in glorious sunshine. Although I'm a birder, rather than an all‐round naturalist, it was great to have a butterfly specialist and botanists in the group, with superb wildflowers, especially orchids, even if the butterflies were relatively thin on the ground because of the cold and cloudy weather for most of the week.
Denis is an excellent leader with a great sense of humour and looked after us unobtrusively but well. In addition to the wildlife, which was our primary purpose, he was very good at including cultural visits in the tour, especially our requested return visit to a beautiful medieval village.
Magnificent scenery, excellent birding, wonderful wildflowers and great local cuisine ‐ what's not to like!
- Giles Pepler , Bagillt, 2019.
Thank you very much for a great week. It was only my second birdwatching holiday and I wondered if it might be a bit intense. It proved to be the very opposite, thanks to your relaxed and humorous manner, which combined with your excellent knowledge of birds and Herzegovina made for an unforgettable experience. The locations we visited were varied and beautiful and the local cuisine and wine were outstanding. All in all, it was a 5 star holiday.
I hope to see you at Birdfair or perhaps in Herzegovina again some time.
- Stephen Mc Mullen , Co. Down, 2019.
I thoroughly enjoyed my recent bird tour with Denis Bohm from Wild Herzegovina. Apart from his knowledge of the region's birds and landscapes, Denis is extremely well‐organised, yet easy-going. And thanks to his versatility, we were able to make the most of the (not‐so‐perfect) weather. Nothing was left to chance: from the accommodation and restaurants, to the daily field programme.
Thank you, Denis, for a wonderful week!
- Julia Alikki , Athens, 2019.
Thank you for an enjoyable holiday in Herzegovina, you were very helpful and considerate, I will always remember the way you looked after us. I’ll look out for you at the Bird Fair.
- Kenneth Knowles , Sheffield, 2019.
Thank you for making our trip to Herzegovina so enjoyable. When we to told friends where we were going they mostly asked where? And I admit I had to take a look at the map to find the country. I had a good idea of course as we had driven from Germany to Greece through Yugoslavia in 1980.
We loved the format of the tour. No 5am starts and leisurely lunches with everyone eating together in the evening. This was a bit different to some tours we have been on. It was great that the group got along well and I would like to think we parted as friends. The itinerary was perfect with visits to good birding sites and also to places such as the waterfalls which were beautiful.
We are happy just to hear Nightingales and Golden Orioles but the variety of birds we saw was astounding.
I am now trying to sort out my pictures as the local RSPB group want me to write for their newsletter and give a talk later. I will of course give you lots of praise and hope to encourage more of them to visit Herzegovina.
Thank you once again and I may see you at the bird fair.
- Kathleen and Christopher Wyeth , Weymouth, 2019.
I have been going to write since our return to thank you for an amazing week. My first birding holiday and it will always be with me.
You are a brilliant guide ‐ quietly knowledgeable, subtly funny and so diplomatic and patient. It was to lovely to stop and eat locally at lunch times too.
John and I led a walk for Cheltenham bird club this morning and I know several went home to look you up!!
I hope the rest of your season is successful and you continue to go from strength to strength.
Many thanks again.
- Jane Bailey and John Casswell , Cheltenham, 2019.
Just wanted to thank you for a very enjoyable holiday. Good birds, especially the quarry with the sand martins and bee eaters,
good food and good company.
- Sandra and Ian Caldwell , Hertfordshire, 2019.
Who better to lead us into the wild and beautiful Herzegovinian countryside but the wonderful Denis who we cannot speak highly enough of? The only thing he didn't do for our comfort and wellbeing was tuck us up at night.
Not only did he drive us everywhere on all sorts of roads and tracks but he provided coffee and tea (a Fortnum and Mason box of selected varieties), choccy biscuits, folding picnic seats and our own flasks and drinking mugs with bright and cheerful pictures of birds and scenery.
His bird knowledge was exceptional and he was fantastic at locating them and had clearly researched all the places we visited very thoroughly to include finding quite a few well‐hidden nests. He even managed to avoid the rain when it was forecast. Three cheers for Denis!
We met five super new companions to experience all the joys of this country with: birds, flowers, butterflies, insects and Edin's picnics. Our comfortable guest house was five minutes walk from the Mostar Bridge in an area of cobbled streets where every evening we sat at our waterside table enjoying a good meal in the Taurus Restaurant.
A final word on the birds ‐ 146 species and a constant backdrop of fluting Golden Orioles, wonderful Nightingales and exotic Beeaters.
- Nigel and Debbie Colgate , West Sussex, 2018.
From the moment we first met Denis and his family at the Bird Fair, we knew we just had to go on one of his trips.
Here is a man who is passionate about birds; his knowledge of his homeland and its birdlife is unsurpassed, and his enthusiasm and easy manner mean that the whole trip from beginning to end was wonderful.
Denis' commitment to his clients' needs and comfort is full and thorough and he will do his utmost to ensure that on his trips if the bird is there he will try to find it for you, even if it is elusive!
We clocked 147 species of birds, including quite a few "lifers", as well as butterflies, orchids and other wildlife.
The accommodation is very good ‐ breakfast sets you up for the day and if you are picnicking, then Edin's rolls are very substantial. If not picnicking, then be ready for a full lunch! Eating dinner at the Taurus restaurant was great fun and the food was excellent.
Though the days were full and action packed, the pace was easy and comfortable, and though the temptation to tick and move on is always lurking there, we had time to stop and take photographs and enjoy the surroundings.
We both unreservedly recommend you go!
- Jim and Pippa Preston , Worcestershire, 2018.
I enjoyed every minute of this trip. Denis's attention to detail was impressive, he knew all the best locations for the birds, and was careful that each member of the group saw as much as possible.
He chose lovely restaurants and peaceful picnic spots. He also joined in with our (terrible) jokes.
Herzegovina has wonderful landscapes and the wildflowers and butterflies were beautiful. Thanks also to Edin, the guesthouse owner who gave us a plentiful breakfast each day and made us feel very welcome.
I thoroughly recommend this trip.
- Barbara Woodhouse , Leicestershire, 2018.
We have just returned from a very enjoyable week Bird Watching in Herzegovina.
From the moment we were met at the airport by our guide, the extremely likeable Denis Bohm, from Wild Herzegovina, everything ran very smoothly.
Denis has thought of so many little extras to make the experience relaxed and pleasurable. We visited several very different habitats, with the bonus of many butterflies and wild flowers.
The "Konoba Taurus", where we ate our evening meals, was excellent, with an extensive menu.
We stayed at the Guest House Liska, where the owner Edin, made us very welcome. We enjoyed good breakfasts, comfortable beds and plentiful hot water.
All in all a great week with of course, new birds to add to our list. We hope to return,
Many thanks Denis.
- Sandra and Tony Eady , Essex, 2018.
Many thanks for our hugely enjoyable Wild Herzegovina tour ‐ April 2018. We were lucky to be in a small group who all got on well.
The vehicle was very comfortable and Denis was a safe and smooth driver. Denis's field craft, knowledge of the region and the range of habitats made every day interesting. Our week's birding represented excellent value for money.
Also worthy of mention is the accommodation at GH Liska which was great. After doing the checklist I made it 130 species seen by me, including 2 lifers in Sombre Tit and Rock Nuthatch which I'm well pleased with.
We have so many good memories from the holiday.
- Shaun Wells and Sally Robinson , Chepstow, 2018.
A fun, relaxed week with Denis as a really knowledgeable and enthusiastic leader and some great travelling companions. Good range of birdlife in beautiful and varied environments ‐ with truly spectacular spring wildflowers as a bonus.
Accommodation in Mostar was just right and the restaurant in the old town for our evening meals was a delight. We were able to add on two days in Dubrovnik and would thoroughly recommend this: the chance to explore two such extraordinary and historic old towns is yet another plus.
Altogether a memorable and rewarding trip ‐ many thanks Denis.
- John and Janet Groom , Berkshire, 2018.
Yes, we had a really nice time in Herzegovina on your tour and saw some nice birds, two new ticks for Julia and 1 for me was good, as we have been birding in Europe for a long time!
We enjoyed the different habitat, the relaxed lunches, and the length of the day, which gave us time to clean up and go out into Mostar for our evening meal. We enjoyed the situation of the restaurant that you chose, then going to the Black Dog Pub and also the ice cream sold in Mostar by the Old Bridge.
We found the Liska Guest House very comfortable and enjoyed the breakfasts; Edin could not do enough for us, he was very, very helpful!
Finally, we enjoyed the company of the others on the trip; they added to our enjoyment, and we all got on well in the minibus each day. We have seen the list of the birds on the 2 days we missed, and will have to find a way of doing them next year!
- Robin and Julia Springett , Dartmouth, 2018.
Herzegovina may not be the first place people think of as a birding destination but when a tour is so well organized as Denis has managed to provide then it probably should be.
Thanks to Denis's birdwatching skills and local knowledge we had 7 days fantastic birding (140+ species of birds plus numerous butterflies, dragonflies, plants and other wildlife) seeing numerous new species for us as well as exceptional views of birds we struggle to see well in Britain.
Our accommodation was clean and simple providing us with everything we needed thanks to our friendly host. The restaurant for our evening meal was just a short walk away with friendly service and excellent (and plentiful!) food and drink.
We would definitely recommend this holiday to anybody who enjoys birdwatching whether an expert or relative beginner.
- Michael and Christine Robinson , Halifax, 2018.
Got back and have just flopped after a great week in Herzegovina. We had so many magnificent sights that it is hard to pick a favourite, though the Sand Martins "Throng" have to be well up there.
As the first birding trip we have taken abroad your tour exceeded our expectations, of the birds we saw over 30% were our first time views and great ones at that. It felt like the whole group knew each other for ages after just one day.
The elusive Rock Lobster Partridge (an on going joke within the group) eventually showing itself after we began to doubt if there was such a thing, but worth the wait sitting up and posing on a rock. The quality of the views of the birds and butterflies was fantastic as was the scenery which was as varied as the wildlife its‐self.
The sound of the bee eaters and Golden Orioles are still playing in our ears.
Your enthusiasm for the wildlife was also a pleasure as it wasn't just a tick and move on, we got to enjoy the scene. I will certainly recommend you and your tour to anyone I meet as the undisturbed nature of Herzegovina deserves to be seen by more.
- Paul and Stella Isaac , Northamptonshire, 2018.
My trip to Herzegovina fully lived up to expectations. Denis was an excellent guide, knowledgeable and helpful, with a good ear for the birds. He had a great sense of humour and helped to make the trip fun. The birdwatching was excellent and was well‐paced, giving opportunities to observe the species well and to take photographs. Although it was sometimes over rough ground, the walking was generally easy.
Finding Denis at Dubrovnik Airport was easy as it was not very big or busy. His Mercedes vehicle was very comfortable and easy to get in and out of and, with the seats facing together, the group of seven quickly got to know each other. Denis had everything well organised, even down to reusable personalised mugs and water‐bottles to avoid unnecessary use of plastic bottles.
At the Liska Hotel we were given a friendly welcome by Edin. My comfortable room was well fitted‐out and the breakfasts were good. At night I could hear the nearby Scops Owls calling and Nightingales singing, but I was initially puzzled on hearing Edin's pet canaries in the morning. The substantial evening meals at the Knoba Taurus restaurant, near Stari Most bridge, were delicious and the local wine was very palatable.
We saw several raptors during the tour, some very well such as the Montagu's Harriers gently quartering the Mostarsko Blato karst‐field and Booted and Short‐toed Eagles. The spectacle of the two thousand or more Sand Martins around their nest‐bank in a quarry will stay in my memory as will the gorgeous Bee‐eaters nesting at another. Other highlights for me were the Gargany, Spoonbills and Glossy Ibis at Hutovo Blato, wonderful views of Ortolan Buntings bathing in a small stream at Prenj Mountain in the Dinaric Alps and the co‐operative Lesser‐Spotted Woodpecker by the Buna River.
The impressive scenery with its interesting karst landscapes, mountains, crystal‐clear rivers and spectacular waterfalls was an added bonus, as were the butterflies, dragonflies and flowers. The Rock Partridge eluded me again, but I enjoyed looking for it and it gives me an excuse to visit Herzegovina again in the future.
- Gillian Flinn , Surrey, 2018.
Wild Herzegovina was a wonderful exploration of a very interesting corner of the world with high, rugged mountains and vast plateaus surrounding Mostar where our group of 7 stayed for the week in the comfortable Liska House.
Denis Bohm is a very thoughtful and responsible tour leader and an excellent birder. He knows the area very well and selects which sites to go to each day according to which are likely to be most productive.
I would recommend this tour for anyone wishing to explore springtime Southern‐European birds in a most interesting environment.
- Edna Alvarez , Los Angeles, CA, 2018.
I thought the range of habitats that we visited within reasonable distance of Mostar was remarkable and I thought you did a marvelous job locating birds and then ensuring that everybody had a good chance to see them.
Then there was the food! All the restaurants we visited at lunchtime and in the evening were exceptionally good and it was a real pleasure to enjoy such high quality and varied meals in such good company.
To sum it all up ‐ you promised beforehand that the trip would be exceptional and I think you delivered 100% on that promise.
- Martin Francis , Lincolnshire, 2018.
Thank you for a relaxed and enjoyable birdwatching holiday, led and organised by you.We certainly saw a large number of birds, many of which I had not seen before.I also enjoyed the variety of scenery flora and fauna.Our guesthouse in Mostar was of good standard and we were made to feel most welcome.
I will certainly recommend a holiday in Herzegovina with you to my birdwatching friends.
- Victor Fielding , Wiltshire, 2018.
Sue and I would like to say thanks again for the wonderful week we spent with you in Wild Herzegovina.
Everything was just perfect, you made the trip exceptional, as promised. The sights , the sounds and the weather
were memorable, an unforgettable birding adventure, with beautiful wild flowers too!
- Digby & Sue Greenhill , Devon, 2017.
I thoroughly enjoyed our week with you. The planning and organisation were excellent. We visited beautiful and varied habitats every day, with so much to look at in addition to the birds. Everyone was excited to see so many first-time birds.
I certainly hope to return some day.
- Clive Burton , Bristol, 2017.
Denis' powers of observation and especially his hearing are second to none.
His easy going and relaxed style helped to blend the small group together very quickly.
The Mercedes transport with its opposing rear seats was an excellent choice of vehicle and contributed a lot to the cohesion of the group.
His flexibility throughout the week ensured that everyone had the opportunity to see whatever they wanted.
Over 160 species in a week for the group without having to get up at the crack of dawn, or keep going till dark has to rank as success in anybody's books.
With all meals and drink included in the price, the holiday was superb value for money.
Denis had clearly done his homework before we arrived, because virtually everything he said we'd see at a site was indeed there.
Finally, very many thanks for making our visit to BiH so memorable.We saw scenery quite unlike anything we've seen in Britain. I personally saw 6 new bird species ‐ 5 more than I expected. I also had 5 new odonates at Hutovo Blato and besides 17 species in a day at one site in Britain would be very difficult, especially so early in the year. We found Mostar a very interesting place and what a superb job has been done on repairing the Old Bridge and its surroundings from the devastation of the war. You can easily understand why it is so iconic.
Thanks again and we look forward to seeing you at the "Birdfair"
- Tim & Cindy Bennett, Cambridgeshire, 2017.
I really enjoyed the birdwatching holiday in May. We saw far more species, and better views of them, than I expected. There were over 50 new to me ( a novice to Continental birding), but it was also good to see British migrants in their different surroundings, and lovely to hear nightingales all over the place!
I was also very impressed with the country ‐ how varied were the habitats we visited, the beautiful unspoilt countryside and the interesting city of Mostar. I hope to come again some day and see a bit more.
I have recommended you to birdwarching friends.
- Kate Cashmore , Bristol, 2017.
Denis, thank you very much once again for arranging and leading our excellent trip to Herzegovina which I believe was a great success. I'm glad you found us fun to be with ‐ I think it makes a difference that most of us already knew most of the others before the start of the trip which is the advantage of coming from the same bird club.
We loved both countries and thought them very beautiful. We spent our days at Cavtat walking around the town and taking the water ferry to Dubrovnik (worth suggesting to other groups) for a tour of that lovely city.
The traditional bird‐of‐the‐trip question provoked a variety of replies. The twitchier element chose Rock Partridge but I think the most popular bird was actually the Rock Thrush, with species like Bee-eater and Crane close behind.
We were extremely happy with your organisation and guiding services and would recommend them to anyone else thinking of a visit to Herzegovina, either individually or as a group. I'm sure all the participants will join me in wishing you continued and growing success with your birding company.
- Jane Cumming , Bristol, 2017.
Our recent visit to Herzegovina was everything that the brochure promised. The landscapes were awe inspiring and the birdwatching was fantastic. Even the weather was kind.
The arrangements made by Dennis and Wild Herzegovina worked perfectly. The accommodation was simple but perfectly adequate. Breakfast was a very short walk from the rooms, and our hosts went out of their way to meet our breakfast preferences. The evening meals, in the Taurus restaurant, were nothing short of delicious, and in a most beautiful setting in Mostar old town.
Denis has obviously spent many, many hours in the field around Mostar and beyond. He was able to take us to see all of our target species, whilst showing us some very beautiful country. Every day was different, but every day provided brilliant birding.
Thank you Denis, for a really memorable trip.
- Andrew Senior , Bristol, 2017.
Thank you Denis for a very nice week and nice company. We all are very happy with the trip.
Well organised, generous, good food, nice accommodation, beautiful countryside and exciting birds! Looking forward to coming back with new group 2019!
- Gigi Sahlstrand, Sweden, 2017.
Thank you for an unforgettable week in your country with you as our guide watching birds. Everything was so well planned.
The birdwatching, lunches, coffee pauses, dinners and the small family hotel we lived in were excellent!
And you had really given us the best weather in a marvellous nature.
- Laila Lindgren , Sweden, 2017.
I really enjoyed the visit to Herzegovina!
Thank you for your guidence in the lovely nature with so many faces.
And the birds where there of course ‐ you knew where to find them!
- Elsbeth Hök, Sweden, 2017.
I must say, that the visit to Herzegovina was all exiting, both all the birds and the landscape, and also history, brought to us by your telling.
You drove us to so many different types of landscapes, you had really an excellent knowledge of where to find the birds. And also good knowledge of restaurangs in the neibourhood ;-).
I have told my friends of the experiences I had, and showed them photos I took. They got interested!
I wish you the best in the future, and hopefully a lot of laughing too...
Warm greatings from a not so warm summer in the north of Sweden
- Gunnel Brolin, Sweden, 2017.
I would be delighted to give you a glowing testimonial ‐ your tour was wonderful.
I loved visiting the very distinct habitats you chose for us, which were absolute wonderlands of beauty and interest.
I haven't birdwatched in the Mediterranean before, so of the 136 species we saw, 44 were new to me ‐ almost a third.
Accommodation, food, transport all very good.
Your guiding was superb, and you are such a nice person to be with!
- Lois Pryce, Bristol, 2017.
Just to say thanks for a another wonderful six days birding in Herzegovina.
This the second time l have visited Bosnia Herzegovina in late April with Wild Herzegovina Holidays and Denis Bohm. The weather this year was again kind to us apart from a couple of days which were quite windy, never the less Denis with his intensive knowledge of the area and excellent birding skills we still managed to see 129 species over the six days including some really close views of the elusive Rock Partridge and some stunning sounds and sights of 1500+ pairs of Sand Martins.
A few people in our party of seven had a would like to see tick list and all went home with a smile on their face.
Over the six days we covered many diverse habitats from mountains to coastal in order to maximise our chances of seeing not only birds but the wonderful flora, fauna and stunning vista's that Herzegovina has to offer.
Denis's style of guiding is informative, relaxed and well organised with a little humour thrown in , he knows the country well as he lived in Mostar for many years before moving to the UK.
Once again we're based in the wonderful city of Mostar at the Pansion Liska B&B in a quiet part of the city but only ten
minutes walk from the old town were the Knoba Taurus restaurant is situated (where we ate our evening meals) and the world famous bridge which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
All the rooms at Pansion Liska are on suite, air conditioned, very clean and comfortable. Edin the owner provides a substantial continental style breakfast with warm fresh breads from the local bakery every morning and if you want any thing different to what's been provided just ask and Edin will do his best to accommodate(nothing to much trouble).
The restaurant Knoba Taurus has a very extensive menu, the food and service are excellent(the portions are large).
To sum up, would I return to Herzegovina and use Wild Herzegovina Holidays and Denis Bohm as my guide? That's a definite Yes.
Great place, Nice people and Wonderful wildlife.
- Alan Cordin, Nottingham, 2017.
Thank you for guiding us round Herzegovina, we had a lovely holiday, and 50 new bird species definitely exceeded my expectations! We loved the variety of habitats and landscapes we visited, the guest house was great, the food was delicious (especially the polenta and garlic yoghurt!) and your passion for the country and the birdlife was evident. Many, many thanks for a wonderful trip!
See you at BirdFair,
- Jennifer & Patricia Grewal, Wiltshire, 2017.
I admit I had felt slighltly apprehensive ‐ as woman on her own ‐ going off on a birding trip. How mistaken I was! After being met at the airport by a very friendly Denis and then safely transported into the AMAZING countryside of Herzegovina any apprehension quickly disappeared.
My room in the Guest House ‐ run by a very kind and helpful gentleman called Edin ‐ was excellent. Denis had everything organised in the finest detail ‐ nothing was overlooked. As for the Flora & Fauna ‐ I cannot begin to relate how impressive the variety is; the birds especially were just incredible, the scenery has to be seen to be believed. Spectacular locations for picnics, lunches and evening meals were an additional bonus too.
The vast experience and knowledge that Denis has, is remarkable. I feel so privileged to have had such a worthy guide during my stay and know that I want to return, to take advantage of travelling to other sites in the region.
I thoroughly recommend this holiday to everyone who appreciates the wonder of Mother Nature, I can guarantee they certainly would not be disappointed.
- Judith Gault, Poole, 2016.
On my second visit to Herzegovina Bosnia with Denis ‐ proved to be even better than the first. More different birds seen AND in greater numbers. Denis made the whole experience so enjoyable and informative. We visited lots of contrasting locations, had delicious meals both at lunch time and in the evenings too. All little details were taken into account i.e. along with coffee ‐ there was a wonderful selection of tea bags to chose from! Nothing was too much trouble for Denis and most of all, for me, IT WAS FUN!!
Once again thank you so very much and I will be back for a 3rd time I'm sure.
- Judith Gault, Poole, 2017.
My THIRD visit to the wonderful countryside of Herzegovina proved to be as delightful as before! The various locations we visited were spectacular, the food in restaurants was so tempting and delicious and quantities ‐large‐ as before. Then ‐ the bird life found by you was so plentiful.
I'll never forget the flock of Bee Eaters around the sheep field,(where the Black Woodpecker put in an appearance) the abundance of Sand Martins, the Hobby's and Montague Harriers and then the icing on the cake for me, TWO 'lifers' the Little Bittern and Ring Ouzel.
The meadows of Orchids and higher up of Gentians, pastures and woodland areas of cowslips, Karst fields ablaze with yellow & white flowers ‐ it was all magical for me. Thank you.
Do hope you have remaining successful tours with appreciative groups of people ‐ I for one can't thank you enough.
- Judith Gault, Poole, 2019.
Quite apart from your intimate knowledge of your (very large) "patch", we were fortunate with both the weather and the group members who got along very well with each other and (a bonus for me) seemed to share a similar sense of humour. There were very few silences during our travels! The various types of limestone country we visited reminded us of the Malham area and a few other sites in the Yorkshire Dales quite near to our home, although covering a vastly greater area of course and with much more variety. Our karst country also lacks Rock Partridge! Congratulations are due to you for persisting when it seemed we may not find one.
It is difficult to pick a favourite from the various habitats on offer, but although we much enjoyed the day in the Dinaric Alps and the Sand Martin colony is just stunning, the experience at Buna is our choice. Six woodpecker species with a very cooperative Syrian Woodpecker at the nest, the active Lesser Grey Shrikes plus so many Golden Orioles; having the latter and Green Woodpeckers accompany our excellent lunch made it a special day indeed.
We did not expect to have such a large bird list of over 150 species. There was a good range of butterflies, dragonflies, other insects, amphibians, flowers, etc., despite the relatively early date, plus the occasional encounter with a few mammals. I particularly enjoyed meeting the Glass Lizard which posed helpfully for so long!
We are very happy that, just for once, the sparse flights from and to the north of England fell on just the right days, and from our nearest airport to boot! It enabled us to have a really good time in a country we knew little about apart from the famous Old Bridge in Mostar. Edin's guesthouse was comfortable and the Taurus Restaurant most enjoyable and its proximity to the Old Bridge a bonus. When we walked to and from the Taurus we raised the average age of the evening throngs in Mostar considerably!
- David & Kathryn Beeken, Yorkshire, 2017.
Wild Herzegovina is an exceptional birding tour. Denis Bohm is a marvellous guide. From the minute he picked us up from our hotel near the airport it was clear that we were in good hands. He is an excellent and safe driver (non smoking) and his Mercedes Vanio is very comfortable, accommodating 7 people plus driver. The seats inside the cab have 3 seats facing the other 3 seats. This works well and there are sliding doors at both sides making rapid exits easy. Birding started at Dubrovnik airport where hawfinches were spotted.
The drive to Mostar takes about two hours but Denis organised a packed lunch then a walk in karst fields with lots of birds to see as well as butterflies and lizards.
On to historic Mostar which is an attractive town, easy and safe to walk around. Accommodation in Mostar is simple but comfortable and scrupulously clean. Though in the middle of town, the place is surrounded by Scops owls that can be heard hooting through the night ‐ our group saw 2 of these owls in the Muslim graveyard in town. Breakfast is produced by the owner Edin each morning. The following days passed in a flash ‐ Denis scouts out the birding sites and obtains permission from landowners in advance. He is extremely sharp in both spotting and hearing birds and knows his warblers! You start around 7.30 with a drive of anything up to an hour from Mostar. A different habitat is visited each day and the contrast in magnificent scenery and different birds is amazing. Lunch at one of several excellent restaurants is followed by birding in the afternoon, before returning to Mostar where dinner in a Mostar restaurant is provided.
Over 150 species of birds were seen but some of the sights were astonishing ‐ being in the midst of several thousand Sand Martins was an experience not to be forgotten. At one site we saw 6 woodpecker species and plenty of Golden Orioles. Plenty of Wrynecks was a new experience for me.
There is some walking but nothing too strenuous.
On the last day Denis took our group to the airport then drove us into Dubrovnik where we spent a couple of days decompressing from all these birds. This trip would suit the expert birder but Denis is happy to share his (considerable) knowledge with the less expert. One final thing ‐ you are unlikely to meet others with scopes and binoculars as there are virtually no birdwatchers in Herzegovina!
- Colin and Rowena Paton, Bedford, 2017.
I travelled with "Wild Herzegovina" for a five day stay in late April. Denis our guide was an excellent host and delighted in showing us the best of his homeland. The countryside was stunningly beautiful and the birds lived up to and indeed exceeded my expectations. Highlights included superb views of the normally illusive Rock Partridge and the largest and most spectacular mixed Sand Martin and Bee-eater colony I have ever seen, and just so so much more.
I have no hesitation in recommending this trip to anyone who wants a bird filled, stress free and fun holiday.
- Neil Bowman, Norfolk, 2017.
A Trip to Wild Herzegovina
This was my kind of birding holiday. I've been on "holidays" where the group waits to see the 101st Whitethroat and misses other habitats because the day's run out, or the leader is determined to keep you out in the burning midday sun to identify the differences between such and such at all costs. Not this one. Denis paced the holiday to suit his guests and we were the "lazy birdwatchers". We all very much enjoyed the relaxed pace he allowed us with time to really see the birds and take photos. With a total of 121 species seen and more heard, we didn't miss anything either. There is certainly plenty of "Wild" to enjoy and explore in the variety of habitats and landscapes Denis took us to.
On getting out of the car for our first birding and lunch stop I was overwhelmed by the wonderful waft of mint enveloping us while we munched our sandwiches, one of the many perfumes from herbs and trees pervading our senses during the trip. Butterflies too were in good supply: Swallowtails too flittery to photograph with Grizzled and Dingy Skippers obligingly settling on damp patches. And not to forget the amazingly intense blue of Beautiful Demoiselles chasing along a river edge. In mid May we were still in time for some orchids and gentians while the hedgerows were a medley of colour.
What were the bird highlights for me? Well, where in the UK would one see within a few metres: 2 Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers at their nests, a Syrian Woodpecker at the nest and Wryneck at the nest?
Not to mention the Hoopoes getting lost in the long grass on the other side of the river. The Golden Oriole peeking from the top of a tree, Bee‐eaters near and far, a large, thriving colony of Sand Martins, and delightful views of Black‐headed Buntings and a Subalpine Warbler were real treats. Then there were the searches for the elusive Eastern Orphean Warbler, Ortolan Bunting and Rock Partridge ‐ great adventures to be had.
Our family run hotel was clean and comfortable with fresh baked still warm breakfast rolls. A gentle evening stroll led to the restaurant for our evening meal where the portions were massive ‐ we mostly shared ‐ and the local wine was delicious. Denis had a few surprises up his sleeve for us to try on our lunch stops!
I was intrigued to visit a lesser travelled European destination. How was Herzegovina faring now after that cataclysmic implosion which shook the whole region? One can't get under the surface of a place in a week but the people we came across were enterprising, resilient and welcoming of quirky Brits who like watching birds!
- Pat Rumpus, Hitchin, 2016.
I had the privilege of visiting Herzegovina in Spring 2016. Denis, our guide, was friendly, looked after us well and took us to some great landscapes and some great birds, in the comfort of a Mercedes van with leather seats, coffee, water and a bag of assorted field guides ‐ nice touches.
There is no way we could have seen all that we did without someone who knows the country. Our week long tour clocked up over 150 species without rushing around too much. As for the birds... Golden Orioles and Nightingales were singing all over the place, Bee‐eaters, Hoopoes, Eastern Orphean, Eastern Subalpine, Great Reed, and Moustached Warblers, Western Rock Nuthatch, Quail, Corncrake, Black, and White‐winged Terns, Montagu's Harriers, Red‐footed Falcons, White‐tailed Eagle, Syrian, Middle‐spotted, Lesser Spotted, and Grey‐headed Woodpeckers, Wrynecks, Rock Thrush, Blue Rock Thrush, Alpine, and Pallid Swifts, Black‐eared Wheatears, Rock Partridge, Pygmy Cormorant, Ferruginous Duck, Red‐crested Pochard, Garganey and every regular European heron species.
The food and accommodation were very good too! Thank you Denis for making it possible ‐ I would very much like to visit Herzegovina again.
- David Chandler, Cambridge, 2016.
We had an excellent 7 day’s birding with Denis in Bosnia and Herzegovina in late May 2016. We experienced a mixed bag of weather from dry, warm and sunny, to wet and windy. The wet and windy episodes did make birding challenging and we had to work hard for views of birds as they were keeping a low profile but Denis did his best to ensure we were rewarded for our efforts.
For us seeing Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers emerging and returning to their nests, providing excellent photo opportunities was a highlight, as was seeing a Rock Partridge run across the track in front of the van, and two Golden Eagles flew overhead when we stopped for a picnic lunch one day.
We particularly enjoyed the restaurant lunches where we were introduced to the specialities of the area. The breakfast at the B & B was a continental with ample to satisfy us. Fresh rolls and croissants from the bakery every morning with meat, cheese, eggs, etc. We found the B & B simple, very clean and spacious and the owner, Edin friendly and helpful. A kitchenette is available to make tea, coffee and snacks if required. The accommodation is ideally located in Mostar for excursions into the mountains and to the sea.
Denis works very hard to match the tour, as much as possible, to customer expectations with the emphasis being on birding. We enjoyed the whole experience and hope we get the opportunity to return.
- Lynn & Stephen Scarrott, Bicester, 2016.
We really enjoyed our bird watching trip with you and were very impressed with your great knowledge and enthusiasm for your Herzegovina homeland. Every day you took us to a different habitat which allowed us to see the many different bird species.
We found the accommodation and the Taurus restaurant very comfortable and friendly. We will have no hesitation in recommending your services to any of our birding friends. The Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and the Hoopoe made our day!
- Paul and Myrtle Greenough, Beaconsfield, 2016.
This was my first time to go bird‐watching and visit Herzegovina. It was a most interesting experience to locate and see some absolutely beautiful birds under the guidance of Denis who was our very knowledgeable tour leader and guide.
The landscape was beautiful, unspoilt and varied depending on the locations we visited to spot the birds in their habitats. When we stumbled on the wonderful fauna and flora in different areas it added more excitement to our day.
Herzegovina was relaxing and unspoilt and offered us some excellent traditional cuisine. All provisions and the accommodation were just as we would require. It was all most comfortable.
Denis provided us with an excellent holiday and the organisation was superb.
- Valerie Leung, Berkshire, 2016.
Herzegovina as introduced by Denis was a spectacular discovery. We covered a wide range of rich and unspoilt habitat brimming with diverse birds, insects and flowers. It reminded me in parts of the Camargue forty years ago with the abundant Bee-eaters, Orioles, Penduline tits, Shrikes, Warblers, Herons etc.
Denis was a wonderfully informed and generous guide to this fascinating country; his balanced presentation of its history, and guide to its culinary nuances, as well as his awareness of the Geology made for a far richer trip than a traditional Nature tour ‐ even though the Nature alone was fabulous. I would be very happy to go back.
- Dermot Cooper, Cambridge, 2014.
Well, I said last year that I would be happy to go back again to Herzegovina on Denis' tour and so I did at precisely the same time.
Again this year Denis was as informed, enthusiastic and energetic as ever. Even with a slightly larger group he responded to everybody's agendas. Again the Nature was superb, the birds ‐ a slightly different cross‐section this year ‐ one fabulous stream of Honey Buzzards, waves of Montagu's Harriers, Cuckoos and Golden Orioles gave a real sense of migration as well as beautiful Collared Flycatcher and Collared Pratincole ‐ down to twenty metres!
Again every aspect of the trip was flawless and again I would be very tempted to repeat it next year!
- Dermot Cooper, Cambridge, 2015.
Well, I said last year (and the year before) that I would be tempted to go back again this year. Well I did!
It was a slightly earlier this and the weather was a little cooler and damper than usual, but this made for more visible migration and longer access to birds in the field.
I continue to be overwhelmed by the countryside, the landscape, the plant‐life and butterflies. But the birds just keep taking one's breath away. Sights like parades of Purple Heron rising from the reeds, rushes of unexpected waders moving north in summer plumage ‐ a party of 13 Black Terns weaving around a lake in gorgeous plumage, six woodpecker species, four Wryneck together on a path at one point, exotic warblers in abundance ‐ Orpheans were very noisy this year, not to mention an enormous White‐tailed Eagle. No visit is the same but they are all spectacular. It's really not the numbers although we registered over 150 species for the week, it's the unexpected combinations against gorgeous backdrops.
Denis remains an enthusiastic, warm, tireless and widely‐informed guide. I will be tempted to return next year.
- Dermot Cooper, Cambridge, 2016.
Wild Herzegovina with Denis Bohm
We travelled with "Wild Herzegovina" in early May 2015.
Apart from arranging our own flights to Dubrovnik, everything was organised by Denis Bohm. Pick-up, transport, accommodation, food and really important ... valuable local knowledge.
The vehicle we travelled in daily was very comfortable ‐ we especially liked the darkened windows which meant the inside didn't get toasted in sunshine. Denis is a safe and considerate driver.
The accommodation had many nice features ‐ a lovely veranda for morning breakfast and group "relax and chat" at the end of each day; a small kitchen where tea/coffee could be made at any time, and quiet bedrooms with air-con. Plus it was a pleasant stroll into the lovely Old Town of Mostar.
But most important to convey is the "feel" of Herzegovina. Despite some evidence of its troubled past there is so much for a visitor to experience; the unspoilt, open and varied countryside, local restaurants taking great pride in their regional food and a wonderful diversity of wild flowers, birds and wildlife. A bonus for us, was that every day was sunny!
Threading through our trip, Denis was the organiser ‐ taking us each day to a different location, depending on weather and circumstance.
Mountains with meadows full of wild flowers (un‐grazed land helps!) like bright blue Gentians, green hellebores, narcissi and everywhere recumbent Juniper bushes. Snow still lingered on the top of the mountains, the air was clean and the views uplifting.
Rivers and lakes. Meandering rivers with clean, clear water and lakes with reed beds and water meadows.
Our main focus was on birds, and we saw many species 150; some in amazing numbers, for example a huge colony of zooming Sand Martins at their nest site, while also making use of the sand cliff were good numbers of beautiful Beeaters. Cuckoos were heard every day ‐ a real treat, as well as the fluty sounds of the Golden Orioles. Pygmy Cormorants were present where there was water and we often heard the purring sound of Turtle Doves.
One of the group was a sound recorder (with all the gear) which made us much more aware of bird sounds for identifying what was around - an interesting facet of the trip.
Food was also an important part of our stay. Trying local specialities, eating in small local restaurants and having local honey, fantastic bread, herb tea, local cheeses and fish was all very "tasty!" Local wine and beer are also worth having!
Overall, a fascinating holiday, full of new experiences, good birding spots, lovely locations and very enjoyable company. We were lucky with sunny days and the timing of the visit, so I have no hesitation in commending this trip.
Herzegovina is a delight as seen through "Wild Herzegovina" and the company of the very capable, knowledgeable, amusing and likeable Denis.
- Iris de Carteret & Brian Shepherd, Hampton, 2015.
Should you decide to commit yourself to a five day adventure with "Wild Herzegovina" you will not regret it. From landing to departure you are in the hands of a true expert, a man of varied skills, who will ensure that nothing gets in the way of a truly memorable holiday.
True, Denis has the advantage of a wonderful canvas upon which to paint his picture but in a beautiful yet unforgiving landscape the best secrets of Herzegovina are not won easily. To appreciate the very best of this region it was a joy for all of our group to be in his company as he allowed us to discover this area that he both knows and loves.
Denis certainly has all the credentials that allow him to offer a superb service to his clients but perhaps the best tribute we could offer him is that - he's a damned good bloke.
PS We are not really record keepers (we saw 120+ species) but you will see a great many species. At one venue my head went into a spin as I didn't now whether to focus on a LSW, a Wryneck, a Nightingale or a Hawfinch. Such an eventuality may be your biggest problem of the week...
- Eric Davies & Dilys Powell, Kidderminster, 2015.
We really enjoyed our trip to this largely under explored part of Europe.
It was nice to find an easy paced, small group, single centre based (a comfortable hotel in old town Mostar) tour, with day trips never taking us more than an hour from "home".
This might all sound a bit restrictive but nothing could be further from the truth.
We saw a thorough and comprehensive range of birds and other flora and fauna that the country has to offer all in a great range of wonderfully scenic habitats; and we had plenty of time to sample some fine local cuisine!
Denis was a first class leader, careful driver with an excellent vehicle, provider of great picnics and "in the field" snacks etc etc. Nothing had been overlooked.
So thanks Denis; we look forward to seeing you on your stand at The British Birdwatching Fair in August.
- Tim & Irene Loseby, Norfolk, 2015.
Stunning and diverse scenery, ranging from wetlands and marshes to mountains and pastures, all with spectacular birds and an array of colourful wild flowers, not to mention dragonflies and butterflies; these combined with Denis' informative comments about the culture and history of his country ensured that our holiday with Wild Herzegovina an extremely memorable and interesting experience.
Denis is an exceptional guide and a brilliant birder, with a wonderful sense of humour, and he went out of his way to make our days out extra special and enjoyable.
Our transport was comfortable and spacious with plenty of room for all our birding gear, and Denis was an extremely careful, thoughtful and patient driver.
Denis' ability to make each day different and interesting was greatly appreciated by all of us on the trip and I am sure we would all be more than happy to repeat this unique experience.
- Kathy Gay, Norfolk, 2015.
The Wild Herzegovina website claims to offer a comprehensive tour of the country, with comfortable transport and a generous host. And this is precisely what Denis delivers.
His management and organisation of our week's tour was faultless; his generosity and continuous awareness of our needs and wishes made the whole trip so memorable. He went the extra mile on many occasions such as producing punnets of fresh strawberries to go with lunch; miraculously getting a pair of spectacles repaired within minutes of them being broken; providing unexpected refreshment in the middle of a very hot walk.
His itinerary was so varied as to produce constant interest and a wide variety of birds. His knowledge of the country, its history and politics contributed to our enjoyment and his continued good humour ensured a relaxed atmosphere with plenty of laughs. Birds there were aplenty, with some stunning views obtained of species we had rarely seen before.
Transport was genuinely comfortable with quick and easy exit when a likely bird was spotted. Altogether, a most enjoyable and memorable holiday which we are very happy to recommend. Thank you Denis.
- David & Pamela Manger, Ashford, 2015.
With Wild Herzegovina
Is going on the guided tour Wild Herzegovina for you? Denis Bohm is the tour organiser and leader. The tour, based in Mostar comprises a maximum of Denis plus 7 people. This is our assessment:
- Website (www.wild-herzegovina.com): Excellent. Comprehensive, detailed and up‐to‐date.
- Dates: Mostly Spring, mostly 5 days, but two trips are 7 days. An autumn option is being considered. Denis is flexible about whether you arrive by air, train, coach or car, but he collects and delivers to Dubrovnik Airport in Croatia as part of the deal. We drove¹ to Mostar², but our friends flew out. Both our journeys were problem-free.
- Accommodation: Excellent. A comfortable, recently-completed B&B in the centre of Mostar close to the Old City, but away from the main thoroughfares. The B&B owner was cheerful, well-organised and quick to meet requests about our comfort, or breakfast, which was taken on an elevated patio from which we could hear Nightingale and Golden Oriole! Scops Owl called at night. We much enjoyed our stay there³.
- Food: Evening meals were at a superb restaurant in the Old Town beside a stream that feeds into the Neretva River just below Mostar Bridge. The menu was extensive⁴ and varied and the hospitality wonderful. The roast vegetables were addictive! Midday meals either were pre-prepared picnics or taken at restaurants at the halfway point in our daily excursions.
- Daily Itineraries: Because Denis had carried out detailed reconnaissances beforehand, each day's itinerary covered several habitats or biomes, from sea‐level to rugged mountains. That said, the Mediterranean latitude and a mostly montane region can lend a degree of unpredictability to the weather and so Denis can modify his programme to suit most eventualities. Fortunately, we had mostly superb weather, although earlier heavy rainfall prevented any visits to cave systems in the limestone mountains.
- Birds, flora and landscape: These were all magical. The streams and rivers are practically free of turbidity, the variety of karst landscapes seemed infinite, the multitude of orchids spellbinding, and the birds were very cooperative, in that few sightings were momentary.
- Degree of difficulty: Essentially easy. The transport is a comfortable Mercedes Viano ‐ two sets of 3 seats face one another, the seventh tour member being up front with Denis. There is ample room for small backpacks and telescopes. If people were tired, it was due only to the fresh air, for almost all walking was on level, or near-level ground. The whole itinerary is designed not to do too much, and so anyone who can amble for about 5 km per day should have no difficulty. Consequently, all seven of us could relax in each other's company, but here we must commend Denis for his endless good humour, his extensive knowledge of the natural history and culture of the area, and in particular for his excellent driving, an essential aspect of travelling on often poor roads filled with poor drivers!
We would love to return sometime soon. Do you need a guide? Probably not, but no matter how well you did your preparation, you would not see so much in so short a time, nor would you find all the locations we visited ‐ the locals know Denis, but might not cooperate with strangers met for the first time in a remote area. We thought (and our friends are experienced tour leaders themselves in remote parts of the world) that the value for money given by our Wild Herzegovina trip was terrific.⁵
¹ It's essential to follow AA or RAC advice on the differing motoring requirements of the countries you are visiting. You may need to change your motor insurance provider to obtain insurance for Bosnia‐Herzegovina.
² We drove to Mostar via Croatia, where the new toll motorway (€30) from Slovenia almost reaches Mostar.
³ All accommodation costs for the tour period are covered in your payment for the trip.
⁴ All food costs for the tour period are covered in your payment for the trip.
⁵ We're compiling a narrative describing our trip. Once it's complete it will be available through Denis.
- Mike Blair & Sue Fleming, Norfolk, 2015.
We have just returned from a marvellous holiday courtesy of Wild Herzegovina. Everything was dedicated to ensuring our enjoyment. Breathtaking scenery, stunning views of the diverse array of birds, dragonflies and butterflies, a very hospitable small hotel and lots of chances to eat high quality local food.
He obviously customises his trips to meet your needs and abilities and is very informative on history and culture as well as nature. The spectacle of sand martin and bee-eater colonies in a working quarry and the boat trip in Hutovo Blato were unforgettable.
We would wholeheartedly recommend Wild Herzegovina to anyone who wants a truly memorable and enjoyable holiday.
- Richard & Jean Attenborrow, Ipswich, 2015.
- Andrew & Margaret Gregory, Ipswich, 2015.
We had never been on a birdwatching holiday before. What a memorable experience!
Not just birds but flowers, butterflies, dragonflies (16 species), snakes and lizards, mountains, rivers and waterfalls, tasty food, friendly people and to cap it all ‐ VIP transport throughout.
Thank you, Denis, for sharing your amazing country with us.
- Peter & Lee Jessen, London, 2015.
We would certainly recommend "Wild Herzegovina" to any one interested in the flora and fauna of that area. You certainly know your birds and you knew where to find them too!
We shall never forget the sight of over 100 Red‐footed Falcons feeding over that wetland lake, the biggest colony of Sand Martins we have ever seen and the Rock Nuthatch with its nest to name only a few of the highlights.You took us to different habitats every day and the surrounding countryside was wonderful and unspoilt.
Accommodation was excellent and I think we all agreed that the restaurant we used all week was perfect in every way. Consistently excellent meals in friendly surroundings with great staff.
All in all a really good trip. Not been to that part of the world before but would certainly love to go again. Many thanks Denis.
- John Cottis & Barbara Padbury, Maidstone, 2015.
I just wanted to say a huge thank you for making my holiday such a memorable experience. When Moe and Ian told me about their holiday last year, I had high expectations and I wasn't disappointed.
I was stunned by the diverse habitats and the number of bird species seen. The food and accommodation were superb too. I would not hesitate in recommending this holiday, and I hope to return.
- Hazel Jessett, Faversham, 2015.
I had a very good time on this trip - Herzegovina is an interesting country with a great selection of wildlife.
Denis' attention to detail and organisation was outstanding. He placed us in a very nice hotel and introduced us to superb restaurants.
- Trevor Hatton, Chatham, 2015.
I thoroughly enjoyed my holiday.
As a guide you have an excellent eye for finding and seeing the birds, together with your local knowledge and sense of humour made for an unforgettable week.
Nothing was too much trouble for you, and I would definitely recommend your tours to both experienced and beginners bird‐watchers.
- David Richardson, Whitby, 2015.
Many thanks to Denis for a wonderful and extremely interesting holiday. The food, company and accommodation was excellent.
I never realised that this part of Europe has such impressive natural scenery as well as an abundance of wildlife.
- Michael Gardner, Lancaster, 2015.
Denis is all you could wish for in a tour leader ‐ organised and flexible, knowledgeable and dependable, calm and unflappable. He is a responsible and careful non-smoking driver and the tour vehicle is spacious, air‐conditioned and comfortable. By making advance arrangements, he was able to ensure that both our hotel and all the restaurants we visited catered amply for our vegan diet ‐ the food was fresh, varied and tasty, and much of it locally grown and organic.
We had travelled widely in the Balkans before but while with Wild Herzegovina we added no fewer than 10 new bird species to our life list, as well as enjoying great views of species we have seen before but never grow tired of seeing again ‐ Alpine and Pallid Swifts, Bee‐eaters, Crested Tits and both Rock Thrushes, for example.
This is more than a birdwatching tour, though ‐ the landscapes of Herzegovina are astonishing and the local culture rich and exciting, and Denis makes a balanced, well‐informed and funny guide to this little visited part of Europe.
- Stephen Rigden & Claire Langford, London, 2014.
We enjoyed our Wild Herzegovina experience so much in June 2014 that we came back for more in April 2015. If possible, we had an even better time this year. Knowing us from last year, our guide Denis was able to adapt and personalise our tour even more to our tastes and interests, and took us to some beautiful off‐the‐beaten‐track locations, both for birdwatching and for lunch. With Denis, you are in safe hands ‐ super‐knowledgeable birdwatcher, local expert, and one of the most decent and likeable human beings you will ever meet.
Last year, we decided to stay in an historic boutique hotel in Mostar but, this time, we took up Denis' recommendation of the local bed and breakfast Pansion Liska. The Pansion really is the better choice ‐ at least equal in comfort, but with a much more personal touch and genuine hospitality. We are vegan, and the Pansion owner prepared us a tremendous vegan breakfast every morning, and was welcoming and helpful. And, just like last year, the three‐course dinners at Konoba Taurus were truly exceptional ‐ we have never been as well looked after as we have by the team at Taurus.
Birds vary according to the season, of course. We saw Alpine Choughs from our Pansion window in Mostar every morning, because we were there in mid‐April. Elsewhere, we had wonderful views of such memorable birds as Great Egrets and Purple Herons, Hoopoes and Wryneck, Ortolan Buntings and Sombre Tits ‐ over 100 species in six days. Perhaps you'll come for the birds, but you'll leave loving the whole Herzegovina experience ‐ the landscapes and the flora, the architecture and history, the culture and the cuisine. We are already planning our next trip for 2016.
- Stephen Rigden & Claire Langford, London, 2015.
What a great experience our holiday with "Wild Herzegovina" was. The accommodation was very good; the food was wonderful; and the nature part of the holiday was not to missed, we are looking forward to returning next year.
- Ian & Moe Parker, Faversham, 2014.
This is the second year we have been to Herzegovina with Denis. We were so pleased last year, we wanted to come back. Denis arranged for a group from the Faversham Natural History Group to come over for a weeks "field trip". The weather was not so kind as last year, but Denis found places to go and find all the Natural History we wanted.
If anybody wants to find birds, flowers, butterflies, etc., then go to Herzegovina and let Denis be your guide. You will not be disappointed.
- Ian & Moe Parker, Faversham, 2015.
Our experience with Wild Herzegovina was fabulous. Denis' company has attracted similar minded birders who do not take themselves too seriously (there were many laugh out loud moments) but are generous with their knowledge and experience.
We learnt not just about the many birds of the area but also about the flora, fauna, geology and history, the politics and the cuisine. No two days were the same and nothing was too much trouble before the holiday, on the road, at our accommodation and at the many restaurants we visited.
I can't recommend the experience highly enough and would urge you to go and see this amazing and varied country, with an experienced and knowledgeable guide.
- Jane Burgess & John Lamport, Derbyshire, 2014.
I booked a trip with Wild Herzegovina for mid‐May 2014 and can confirm that it met all expectations and I had a great time. Denis delivered exactly what his website claimed.
We had good accommodation, safe and comfortable transport, interesting local cuisine and excellent bird watching in a range of fascinating habitats. As the wildlife in the country is not well surveyed it was good to also be adding to national knowledge.
- Ian Draycott, Herefordshire, 2014.
We just wanted to say how much we enjoyed the trip. It was so interesting and the birds, scenery, food, flowers, wildlife and company were great. We have already recommended you to several people.
- Chris & Bill Ashby, Lancashire, 2014.
This was our first visit to Herzegovina and we couldn't have been more pleased. The accommodation was excellent, clean and very comfortable and well located for visiting the Old Town and Bridge in Mostar. The birds were just brilliant. We achieved a list of nearly 100 in just 5 days and the various locations were as diverse as they were beautiful.
Denis looked after us so well and made sure we were fed to bursting with delicious and interesting local dishes (including vegetarian) each day. We can highly recommend Wild Herzegovina and would have no hesitation at using them again.
- Jenny & Dave Wright, Shropshire, 2014.
Denis, a big thank you from both Nora and myself for all your kindness, hard work and good company. We thoroughly enjoyed the "Wild Herzegovina" experience and will be back.
- Sinclair & Nora Manson, Highland, 2014.
My visit to Herzegovina early in May was most enjoyable. Herzegovina sounded an interesting country to visit and indeed it was. Denis is a knowledgeable and entertaining guide, and being brought up in Mostar, has an intimate knowledge of the country and the countryside.
We drove in comfort to a variety of amazing habitats, from wetland to mountain to moonscape, in this very scenic country and we had some memorable walks. We learned a lot about the history of the country, we sampled the local cuisine, we drank local wine and met some of the local inhabitants. This aspect was especially appreciated, as on so many tours this experience is not built in.
Our accommodation in Mostar was excellent and the old town, with its rebuilt bridge and occasional shell-shattered building, was an interesting base.
Denis found us great birds and exotic reptiles, and we saw beautiful butterflies and flowers. To hear more nightingales than blackbirds and hear cuckoos all day long was amazing.
I added 3 days to the start of my trip, enjoying the sights and sounds (Alpine Swifts!) of the Old City of Dubrovnik and took a trip to the island of Lokrum. This was a pleasant add-on to my bird tour and Denis helped me find accommodation in Dubrovnik. Nothing was too much trouble.
I highly recommend this varied and fascinating holiday.
- Sheila Brooke, Bedfordshire, 2014.
I had a wonderful holiday with Wild Herzegovina in May this year. From start to finish it was brilliantly organised by Denis. the owner and tour guide. From collection in Dubrovnik, accommodation in Mostar to eating in stunning locations everything went smoothly.
The bird watching was excellent. I feel I came away from this trip having had a real travel experience. Great value for money. Definitely a 10 out of 10 holiday.
- Charles Martin, Gloucester, 2014.