Serbia undoubtedly abounds in admirable natural beauties. There is also an increasing trend of tourist and outdoor offerings, so offers for hiking, canyoning, kayaking, and even ferrates or speleology tours can be relatively easy to find. But, to be honest, the rafting experience in our country is still quite modest.
More precisely, Lim rafting is the only such adventure in the offer, providing satisfaction to fans of sparkling rapids. Of course, I do not count in the cheerful downhills, which represent socializing and hedonistic events, rather than sports and adrenaline experiences. Therefore, in the early spring – the ideal time for this kind of adventure – I headed to Prijepolje, the epicenter of rafting in Serbia.
The road is familiar to anyone who’s travelled to Montenegro. Via the Ibar highway, and then Zlatibor and Zlatar, you arrive to Prijepolje in about five hours. Conformists can always stop for coffee and refreshments in the center of Zlatibor. However, I am an explorer and I always like to discover something new. Not wanting to miss the opportunity of peeking into every corner, I took a more alternative road, over the eastern slopes of Zlatibor. If you take this second direction, on the road you will find a very attractive Stopića cave, the picturesque ethno village of Sirogojno and irresistible waterfall Gostilje.
There are several rafting clubs in Prijepolje, and my recommendation is to contact Dragoljub Simović, better known as Simo. In addition to being the founder of Lim rafting in 2000, he is a real river otter of these waters and knows Lim as rarely anyone does. As part of his club “Kolovrat”’s activities, he organizes several dozen rafting events every year, as well as numerous team-building arrangements. For more information, this is his number: +381641569763. Since he’s been in business for a long time and has the necessary entrepreneurial spirit, feel free to contact him about any additional requests and attractive excursions in the area.
For personal reasons (I’m a big lover of Kamena Gora), I decided that this would be my base for the weekend. You don’t need any more explanation. I believe it’s hard to stay immune to these landscapes.
For accommodation, I can recommend Simo camp or ethno village Guvnište. In both places the sleepover costs 5 euros, breakfast 1-2 euros, lunch 3-4 euros. But, you will not make a mistake if you opt for the other side of the river. In the village of Sopotnica, on the slopes of Jadovnik, there is a nice choice of rural households and a mountain lodge, with similar altitude, the hospitality of the host and the price.
After enjoying the traditional specialty – buckwheat pie and sour milk, “which speaks fluently seven languages” – we begin our adventure. We drive to the Kumanica Monastery, where we borrow equipment and start preparing.
Lim springs from Lake Plav and travels through three countries on its way to the Drina River. There is a true rafting expedition down the Lim, which starts at Lake Plav and takes several days, but I will cover this topic on another occasion. The standard offer includes the descent from Kumanica to Brodarjevo and takes from two to four hours, depending on the month, i.e. water level. The higher the water level, the rafting is shorter, i.e. you get to the end faster.
The Kumanica Monastery is located on the recently created “no man’s land”, between the borders of Serbia and Montenegro. As this is also the location of a train station, comic situations arise between passengers and adventurers in waterproof suits.
It gets especially interesting if putting on suits is still in progress. 😊
When we were all dressed up and got important tips from Simo, we got introduced to our new best friend – the paddle. It will be all we have in the next two, three hours.
Between two important roads, the main road and the railway, the mighty Lim passes through the heart of the cliff. Bone idle in the inaccessible riverbed, the same one it’s been carving for centuries, creating beautiful canyon landscapes. That was the road we were about to embark on, and experience all the magic of this adrenaline adventure. For 25km we were left to the unpredictable nature of the green Lim.
At times, it is completely calm, relaxed and reminds more of a lazy plain river, than a mountain one. And then, suddenly, as if “it explodes” as it starts to stir, agitate and propel the water, howling and bubbling while hitting the walls, bringing excitement to the climax. Such swirls are places full of adrenaline, and rafting lovers can’t wait to meet them. Under the skillful conduct of experienced skippers, we row, go to the left, now stay on the right, all to safely pass through beech, have good fun and some healthy physical activity.
At the most beautiful part of the limestone valley, from Kumanica to Brodareva, there are 16 such hotspots, and the most famous are Kumanički buk, Picin buk, Jendek and Strugovi, where the European Cup and the national rafting championship took place. Still, Lim is not a dangerous river, as it can also be enjoyed by those who are not very fit and experienced. Its special charm belongs to the fascinating landscapes and the tall, vertical walls that overshadow the Lim.
However, I could not fail but notice the endemic species, hanging from the trees above the water. You will certainly not guess that I talk about plastic bags, of all colors and sizes that have occupied the trees and bushes on the river shore. Jokes aside, the picture is really devastating and threatens to spoil the beautiful atmosphere and socializing that are a standard to rafting. Thousands of these plastic monsters arrive from the “ecological state” of Montenegro and, depending on the water level and the wind, get hooked along the branches, forming a disgusting cemetery of bags.
You can judge for yourself, but it seems as the Montenegrins maintain their “ecological state” by throwing rubbish into Serbia, and seriously fail to keep up with that flattering epithet for their country. And this is not the only aspect of the problem. Namely, Lim is today known for its high degree of water contamination, so there is another ironic joke that the river got its name because of the large amount of lead in its waters (“lim” means “metal”).
Whenever you find yourself in this region, it is truly a sin to miss the unusually beautiful monument of nature – the Sopotnik waterfall. The richest of all the waterfalls in Serbia, it is formed by the collapse of the Sopotnica River, where series of cascades and waterfalls form.
The most attractive is the 25-meter waterfall, which sprays on the walls, with a storming sound. Thundering down over the stones with unstoppable force, it hurries into Lim’s embrace.
The waterfall got its name after its burbling water. The strength and immensity of this waterfalls create an ideal place for the construction of mills and rollers in which wheat was ground and cloth was rolled. You can still see ancient objects that were once invaluable to the inhabitants of this region.
„The legend of how this waterfall was created is very old and it relates to the immigration of people from Pešter, when they were surprised by a strange voice coming from the mountain Jadovnik, asking them if they would rather be given happiness or water. The villagers responded that they would rather have the water, and they would take care of happiness themselves. And so, it happened.“
The waterfall Sopotnica pours over several rimstone terraces in its upper stream. The true rarity of this river is the siga stone. This extremely soft stone can easily be cut, and it was very exploited in the past, which significantly disturbed the ecosystem. Even a part of the waterfall disappeared due to this uncontrolled devastation. Fortunately, these activities are banned today.
There are several paths to the waterfall. Whichever you choose, remember that there are an upper and lower waterfall, so you don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy the magic of these beautiful natural creations. A dense beech and oak forest, a perfect peace that is only disturbed by the flow of water, and freshness that gets under the skin, they all have healing powers.