April 4th to 10th 2020
The Homolje mountains are a place where green pastures and rich forests on steep slopes were home for shepperds for centuries. And the hidden valleys, like a maze well tucked away from civilization, inspired people to resort to magic and sourcery, so it’s full of legends. But one of the strongest local traditions is that of gold panning in the rivers! So the locals will teach us that art, in the midst of touring caves of breathtaking beauty (also known as places of hidden gold), and conquering demanding offroad trails that surpass everything that you can expect in those, seemingly tame and pastoral hills. Embark on a unique early springtime 4×4 adventure!
What? How long? How hard? How much?
Duration – 7 days (April 14th to 20th 2019)
Hotel accomodation (HB)
Approximate length – 800 km
Technical difficulty – moderate with occasional hard elements
AT tyres minimum, MT recommended
Tour price – 690 € per vehicle
Extra accomodation expenses of 280 € per person (details upon inquiry)
This tour is a roundtrip of the Homolje and Kučaj mountains in the northern part of the Serbian Carpathians. Not exceeding the altitude of 1339 m, it passes through mostly uninhabited, heavily forested landscape, often coming out to picturesque meadows and inspirational peaks. The mystical valleys offer a lot of excitement, as the terrain can be muddy and technically challenging. Participants will see many beautiful spots during the tour, such as unique waterfalls, caves, stone arches, lakes and other wonders of nature.
On day one the group gathers at the Ždrelo Spa resort, a cozy place with natural thermal water pools, where we meet and prepare for the challenges of the first full driving day tomorrow. From there we will either take a clockwise or anticlockwise circle of these two mountain ranges, choosing the exact trails to drive depending on the technical capability of the vehicles in the group and the mood and expectations of the participants. Average difficulty of the trails is 2 to 3, occasionally venturing into category 4 of the German VDORD scale (can be ommited if the participants are not ready for that difficulty level). Water crossings will also be adjusted to vehicle capabilities, and will not require snorkels.
The Kučaj mountains are the biggest area of uninhabited wilderness in Serbia, and a perfect offroad playground. In their central part there are no towns or villages in diameter of more than 50 km, so the first days will be a pure wilderness trip. Be sure to fill up your fuel tanks before we venture into the wild, as we will complete some 200 km without a chance to refill. All the possible accomodation points (small hotels and challets) are situated at the bordering areas of Kučaj, as there is no infrastructure in this wilderness.
In the tour we will visit some caves that are arranged for tourist visits, such as Resavska, Lazareva, Rajkova and Ceremošnja, all being an impressive example of what water can sculpture underground. Lazareva is the longest cave in Serbia (overall length of channels exceeds 12 km), but is not the most impressive of them. The crown probably goes to Rajkova, near Majdanpek, which also has the longest tourist trail of more than 1,5 km.
However, the key area in the tour is concentrated around the small town of Majdanpek, which is the cradle of the gold panning tradition in the rivers of eastern Serbia. That’s where we will have a demonstration of the gold panning technique by the legendary gold panner Perica from Debeli Lug (you will also get a chance to try), and we will also have the opportunity for a 1-hour drive through the biggest copper and gold mine in the Balkans (including some fun play on it’s sand dunes 🙂 ).
Last tour day of the tour traditionally has a shorter and easier trail, leaving enough space to depart home in the early afternoon hours, or directly from the hotel early in the morning, if you prefer to do so.
Each night we sleep in comfortable 3 or 4 star small mountain hotels, most of them also featuring a swimming pool and sauna. All but one of them are outside of towns, surrounded by picturesque nature. We will have half board service, meaning that breakfast and dinner will be provided in the hotels, while for the picnic lunches along the way we will have to take care ourselves from what we’ve brought along in our mobile cooler boxes. They all have plenty of parking space, and you can also count on free wi-fi access.
We recommend that you do the shopping for lunch supplies before the tour start, or on the arrival day in the town of Petrovac (12 km before Zdrelo Spa resort). As we will not pass through major towns, a chance to replenish the supplies will be available only once, about midway through the tour (as well as when we reach the town of Majdanpek towards the end of the tour). Therefore we recommend that you equip your vehicle with large capacity / good quality compressor refrigerator, so that you can keep your food fresh over several days.
Every day we will make a lunchbreak sometime between 12:30 and 14:00 lasting for about 30 to 40 minutes. As traditional meals in Serbia are quite heavy, with a decent breakfast and dinner every day we don’t think you’ll be in a mood for some substantial lunch.
Equipment of your vehicle for Homolje Gold Rush should include
- AT tyres as minimum, but MT recommended in the very muddy early springtime conditions of eastern Serbia
- a shovel, a compact axe, and a saw
- 1 or more snake-ropes for recovery
- CB radio
We also highly recommend
- Protective foil over your paint (especially important in the narrow, thick growth Homolje trails – expect significant scratching without them)
- winch (it will make recovery in hard situations a lot simpler)
- lift kit (will make conquering trails with deep tyre tracks a lot easier)
Low gear capable transfer case vehicles are mandatory
Tour price coverage
Tour price includes
- our guide in own guide vehicle, and tour guidance during 7 days
- 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 include
- individual fuel and toll costs
- individual food and drink expenses
- mechanical servicing expenses by third parties
- individual accomodation expenses before and after the tour (on your way to Serbia and back)
- other individual expenses
What else you should know about the tour?
For this tour the meeting point will be at the Ždrelo spa 130 km southeast of Belgrade, the capitol of Serbia (you’ll be supplied with detailed access instructions, coordinates and GPX/KML tracks from your hometown to meeting point). Final details will be mailed to you timely. 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 offroading in the very demanding, muddy conditions of early springtime. This tour will require at least average offroad experience and skills. During the tour a chance to refuel will be available each 200-250 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 a small amount of cash for small expenses.
Image gallery from the tour area
Extra galleries from the Serbianoutdoor 4×4 blog
Tour booking form
If you have any more questions,
ask your guide!
Invoice and payment instructions will be e-mailed to you upon filling out and sending this registration form