With its wild horses, varied activities and rich history, the small Balkan country embraces a bright new future of sustainable travel.
As our Jeep crests the hill we see them, gathering around a nearby waterhole, drinking, grazing, play-fighting. The vast Kruzi plateau stretches before us, edged by the foothills of Mount Cincar, an untamed landscape of scrub and limestone karst in south-west Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“Look, here come more,” says Matej, our safari guide, and sure enough a herd of wild horses gallops past, a whirlwind of manes and clattering hooves. Dozens of horses, once used for farming and transport, were set free more than 50 years ago and replaced by machines. Today they number upwards of 700, living in the mountains high above the village of Livno. It’s a magical sight, and another surprise on my tour.
I’d come to the country with tour operator Intrepid and international development agency USAID Turizam, who are working, along with the Resilience Council, to develop sustainable tourism here. A multi-pronged, multimillion-dollar initiative is supporting local businesses and communities to expand what’s on offer and encourage visitors to explore rural areas and smaller towns. Today’s off-road adventure takes us high up above Glamočko valley – where the views of the Dinaric Alps wow us – and we lunch on local cheese, cured meats and honey grappa in a remote mountain hut.