Magic of eastern Serbia, part two
July 16th - 22nd 2017
Building on the success of Eastern Serbian Nomad's Adventure, we take the journey further south. Stara planina left the participants in true overlander's extasy - the sheer beauty of the mountain, the rich experience of the landscapes, combined with demanding trails, make you crave to return! So we're starting our south Serbian journey from there. Southeast Serbia is the home to all the highest Serbian mountains, giving you the opportunity to float on endless grassy ridges. The kind of landscape typical for Stara planina goes on for an entire week in this tour, revealing to the participants mountains such as Ruj, Vardenik, Suva, Besna Kobila and Dukat.
Duration - 8 days (July 16th to 22nd 2017)
Price - 560 € per vehicle
Wild camping (your own camping gear)
Approximate length - 1200 km (incl. pavement)
Technical difficulty - moderate
AT or MT class tyres recommended
Syllicone protective sheets advised
Taking registrations now!
Serbia offers EVERYTHING you desire!
Approximate area of the tour(precise tracks available to participants)
Days four and five – detour to Suva planina
Suva planina is the solitary giant south of the city of Niš, a dry, rocky spine of epic dimensions, reaching the high point at the Trem peak, 1810 m above the sea. It is a favorite destination for hikers during all seasons, but from a 4×4 perspective it’s a real jewel that offers a lot to be discovered. Although heavily forested, the mountain is almost completely dry (that is where it’s name comes from), having one single water source on it’s huge southern highland plateau. So be sure to fill up your water tanks before starting up Suva planina!
Suva planina will be the opening of our tour, which we will approach from the west side and we will set up our camp at the Smrdan scenic view point, which will probably grant us a marvelous sunset and a chance for a short hike with overwhelming photographic opportunities. On day 5 we will proceed off the mountain, in the direction of the next epic mountain of Serbia, Stara planina. Beware that Suva planina is technically challenging terrain, mostly for it’s extremely rocky trails.
We’ll devote the central three days to her majesty Stara planina, taking it easy through the heavenly highland landscape that left a lasting impression on participants of Eastern Serbian Nomad’s Adventure. Furthermore, we’ll not only cover the main, well known landmarks such as the Babin Zub and Midžor peaks (2169 m, highest peak of eastern Serbia), the Bratkova strana ridge, several famous waterfalls and the Arbinje valley, but we’ll continue our journey of Stara planina further southwards, covering more enchanting peaks and canyons such as the Rosomač river, or Srebrna Glava peak, the easternmost point of Serbia. On this journey we’ll pass several premiere trails, where offroad tours were never conducted before!
Our final challenge is the technically demanding Karibanja rainforest, where one should always be prepared for challenges such as mud, deep ruts, fallen trees or parts of the trail taken away by landslides. Only upon exiting the Karibanja rainforest we’ll leave the territory of Stara planina, but that will be just the grand opening of an exciting journey of discovery, which will end in the far south of Serbia…
Days 6-8 – the far south (Vardenik, Besna Kobila, Dukat)
After passing through the magnificent Jerma river canyon, it’s time to start riding the neverending, high southern ridges! We’ll start from Ruj, following Gramada and reaching the gorgeous Vlasina lake by the end of the day As soon as we depart from our campsite at the Vlasina lake, we’ll be headed towards the 1875 m high Strešer peak, the highest point of Vardenik mountain, and visit a few more impressive scenic peaks, including the 1923 m high Besna Kobila, before we end the day in a highlander’s village at 1400 m of altitude, where we’ll get the opportunity to experience the traditional way of life in the southeast of Serbia. Day 7 will be reserved for mastering the bordering ridges around the small town of Bosilegrad and climbing the awe inducing Dukat mountain, while the last day of the tour will take us down to the Pčinja river valley, for a touch of ancient history and a visit to a very unusual rock formation, called “The Devil’s rock”. Some quite scary legends are connected to the church built on Devil’s rock – you’ll judge for yourself do they seem convincing or not. And on the extra day of the tour, if there’s anyone still in a mood for something like that, we’ll traverse the dense jungles of the Kukavica mountain.
During the tour we’ll be sleeping on nice natural campsites in total wilderness, often near rivers, streams or lakes. Our average time of arrival to campsite is between 17:00 and 18:00, and morning departure time is usually between 8:30 and 9:30. Risk from wildlife in Serbia is only theoretical, so you can be relaxed during camping, requiring no extra protection. However, you’re advised to have warm clothing and good quality sleeping bags, because even in mid summer it can be quite chilly at higher altitudes (our average campsite altitude will be in the range 1200-1500 m). To make camping more comfortable, you should have folding tables and chairs, as well as cooking equipment for food, mobile refrigerator (12 V), etc. In case of bad weather, or if the mood of the group calls for it, there will be possibilities on some days to break the camping routine by renting rooms in some discrete, out of the way mountain hotels – we’ll consult the participants of the tour about it (not included in the base price of tour).
Tour preparation and execution
We shall travel during the tour in a convoy. We’ll timely supply you with a GPX track to the meeting point, as well as numeric coordinates, and the phone number of your guide. Please secure that you have your travel insurance before starting the tour. We expect you to arrive with a vehicle in good technical conditon, which can endure a week of active offroading. In case of a serious melfunction which renders the vehicle stationary, we’ll organize the handling of the problem with the nearest repair shop, and go on with the tour programme as soon as possible. You can rejoin us as soon as the defect has been repaired. This tour will require at least average offroad experience and skills. During the tour a chance to refuel will be available each 200-300 km (petrol, diesel, LPG). All major credit cards (Visa, Master, Maestro, etc.) work in Serbia (both on ATM machines and for paying goods), but it’s advisable to have some cash for covering small expenses, since we’ll be travelling in mountainous areas away from major towns. We will resupply on day 4 in Pirot or Dimitrovgrad, but you’re expected to reach the starting point of the tour with supplies for the first 3 days, and with full fuel tanks.
Average tour difficulty is medium, with some easy sections and a few harder ones (short). Although we will be travelling on decent quality dirt roads for most of the time, challenges such as mud or deep tire tracks, as well as serious rocky terrain, extreme ascents and descents, uneven or slippery terrain, tricky river crossings, stronger side angle, will occur in places. We will handle every problem systematically and with minimum risk. If we conclude that some problem is too risky, after consultation with the participants we may decide to make a detour (the guide vehicle always goes first to check out the problem difficulty). Our operational communication during the tour will be on CB radios (we mostly use channels 5 or 16 FM). Please make sure to use a CB radio with EU frequencies, since in some countries national frequencies are used, which have a shift compared to EU standards (just enough to make the communication incomprehensible).
Equipment of your vehicle for South Serbian tour should include
- AT or MT tyres
- a shovel
- a compact axe, and a saw
- 1 or more dynamic ropes for recovery
- complete personal camping equipment
- 12 V fridge and additonal equipment for preparing food
- additional fuel can with 10-20 l of fuel reserve
- CB radio (EU standard AM/FM CB frequency range)
You should also consider
- Winch (may speed up recovery in case of problems)
- A moderate lift – at least 2″
- Protective sheets over your paint (if you mind scratching)
Tour price covers
- one adequately equipped guide vehicle with our guide
- all fuel and other expenses for the guide vehicle
- personal counceling before and during the tour
- appropriate GPS maps and data, that can be made available to the participants, if they have compatible hardware
Tour price does not cover
- individual fuel and toll costs
- individual food and drink expenses
- servicing expenses by third parties
- individual accomodation expenses before and after the tour (on your way to Romania and back)
- optional sleeping in hotels during the tour (if the group decides to)
- other individual expenses