What is owning a 4×4 vehicle all about? Offroad racing? Certainly not (at least not for us). The purpose of having an offroader is, in my opinion, in being able to reach some remote, hardly accessible places deep in the wild, where you’re certain that nobody would bother you in a million years, and enjoy them with your friends. And the confluence of Perast and Tisnica rivers at the border of Kučaj and Homolje mountains in eastern Serbia, is one of such places. A real heaven on earth, a hideout for those who know how to get there.
A springtime heaven
There are several things that make this place very special. One of them is certainly the magical forest landscape surrounding it – the waterfall at the confluence of the two rivers, and the beautiful cascades that stretch out for several hundred metres up Perast river. Those cascades only exist in spring, until some time mid May, when the Perast river runs dry. So early springtime is the right time to experience this place in all it’s beauty.
Another thing that makes this place very special is the enchanting 4×4 trail that leads to it – some 3 kilometres of a narrow trail hopping accross the Tisnica river all the time (and in some places leading through the river), slipping between narrow rocky gates through deep forest. Although demanding a good 4×4 vehicle and tyres, it is not extreme nor dangerous, so it’s a heavenly experience for every overlander who values beauty of the landscape more than technical challenges. It gives you the feeling as if passing through the gates of Eden, and when you finally reach the wide plateau right before the waterfalls, you have an unmistakable feeling that you’ve crossed to the other side, into another dimension 🙂
Being out of reach
I guess it’s no surprise that we’ve chosen this spot for a camping season opening this April. We wanted to find a place where there would be zero percent chance of someone stumbling upon us – effectively it’s a dead-end trail, where we had to clear the thick growth in the last 300 m with chainsaws in order to pass through. The trail leading further up was obviously abandoned decades ago, since there are trees growing in the middle of it. So nobody would want to pass here – in theory we could meet only those who want to get to the very same place as we do – and such crazy chaps are almost an endangered species in Serbia, with only several specimens left 😉
We arrived to the spot early with two vehicles, clearing the way for the rest of the pack, preparing the firewood and getting everything ready for those who might arrive late in the night. There was no problem to gather sufficient amounts of firewood, since dead trees and dry branches lay in abundance everywhere around. So we didn’t lose any time, and hurried to pick some wild nettle in order to prepare hot soup for the late arriving guys – it’s still cold in mid April, and the chilly night air starts to bite as soon as the sun has hidden below the horizon.
Magic of the night
The remaining three cars arrived in two groups – we were worried about the Dacia Duster being able to pass the muddy portion of the trail, but it arrived with ease! The problem occured where we least expected it, when the Wrangler Rubicon slipped off the steep riverbank due to nighttime driving, and we had to help winch him out. So the lesson from this incident is that you should never either underestimate, or overestimate a 4×4 vehicle! 😎
The lazy day
We know this area very well – it’s a huge mountainous forest full of small stream valleys, abandoned shepperd huts in some clearings that are being overgrown with bushes every year more, far from any human settlement. There are interesting forest trails everywhere around (mostly unused these days) that could be explored, giving us a bit of 4×4 excitement too. But we decided to be lazy instead, and enjoy the day to the fullest, without moving our campsite out of this heavenly spot.
We’ve spent the day preparing breakfast, then lunch, and finally dinner, with a few strolls around waterfalls between the meals, just in order not to be totally inactive. The birds were singing their beautiful songs all day long, and the constant humming of the river and waterfall and cracking of the campfire was a welcome supplement to clear our minds from urban pollution. It’s a place where you simply have a hard time thinking of a reason why to move out 🙂
The final night
As the second day came to it’s end, the dinner was ready, followed by pancakes (we call it palačinke). Another pleasent night by the fire, enjoying our little escape, but also kind of sad, because we knew that most of us had to go back to the stinky, psychotic, big town tomorrow. Packing the camp could be postponed a bit, but eventually, after lunch, we’d have to call it a day. So we just took a deep breath and enjoyed the moment, knowing that we’ll get a chance to return to this magical place again and again 😎