It is no coincidence that this is the topic of my first post. First, Tara is my personal favorite when it comes to Serbian mountains. Equally easily it will charge your batteries and remove all the worries and burdens. It’s so easy to love it, and after the first visit you will adopt the local catchword – I feel tarski (tzarski – like a tzar)! Secondly, you can organize this action on your own, throughout the year. And finally, this site offers so many options that the number of days spent, activities that you do and the things you see depend only on the available time and your own creativity.
In addition to Lake Zaovine, Mitrovac, Jagoštica in the area of Tara national park, do not miss Predov Krst. It is located about 200km from Belgrade. You can take different roads to get there, and I strongly recommend Belgrade-Valjevo-Bajina Bašta near Lake Perućac, then uphill along the canyon of
Derventa river to an altitude of 1075m, where in the clearing, tucked away in the scent of conifer resin rests a mountain lodge by the same name (Predov Krst). Already by then your eyes will absorb extraordinary images and colors, and I will not try to explain the way your lungs will try to take all that air in, as if breathing for the first time. Predov Krst is positioned in one of the most remote parts of Tara. It is surrounded by Lake Perućac, the Drina, a dry border with Bosnia and vast acres of forest. By being so secluded, the almost untouched nature offers springs of fresh drinking water, a large number of endemic species of plants, preserved wildlife and the fact that this is the last empire of brown bears in our country. According to the latest information, there are 44 of them living in this forest.
When you arrive at a mountain lodge “Predov Krst” you will be welcomed by the alpha and omega of this house- Mr. Milenko Josipović, who will offer you refreshment in the form of honey and brandy. You can also try the honey, if you want. 🙂
Mountain lodge “Predov krst”
You will immediately notice that Milenko is an old style man, serious and rigorous, a true host, attentive, full of experiences, stories, suggestions and information you need. Price of half-board at Milenko’s according to my knowledge is 1800 dinars. This price includes sleeping and quality mountain meals, with plenty of eggs, cheese, bacon, mushrooms, meat… I recommend that you book a little earlier, because this is a favorite gathering place for hunters, cyclists and hikers, as well as diplomats, Yogis, and even ballerinas … When something has such quality and potential, it does not matter anymore what you do in life, you just go for it.
The offering of free time activities is at a high level, including many hiking and canyon tours, biking, hunting and fishing, rafting on the river Drina, also observing bears when they come to eat or drink at their favorite places in the forest. For some of those activities, it is necessary that you previously arrange with Milenko the organization and cost, and others you can have for free, if you are willing to go for it. Whatever you decide- be prepared to meet various animals: squirrels, deer, foxes, eagles, snakes, goats… Do not let this deter you, because our fears come mainly from ignorance.
We are the dirtiest, noisiest and most dangerous creatures that enter the forest. And yes, all the others are afraid of us, we are the predators. But if you run into a bear cub, don’t plan to cuddle with it. Now, I will not hinder your adventurous spirit and I’ll leave something for you to explore. Here are some suggestions for excursions around Predov Krst.
Lookout Bilješka stena
The lookout of Bilješka Stena is one effortless pedestrian action for which you will need about four hours of walk, all with taking photos, relaxation and enjoyment. The total length of the road, back and forth, is about 12 km with the ascent of about 300m. The trail leads through the dense mixed forest, is well marked and accompanied by educational tables which give information about the flora and fauna that inhabit these areas. Tara is marked by many such boards. Staying at a place like this is priceless, so breathe deeply and soak up every smell, picture or sound that nature sends your way. At the end of the track there is a small hut built for the movie “Birds that never fly,” which is free to use, as well as a spectacular lookout over the Drina, Perućac and Bajina Bašta. After some rest and lots of enjoyment, go back the same way.
“What a grand view of the canyon from up here”
Omarskih spring landscape
Omarska springs are a relaxation for everyone. This tour is totally lightweight, an easy walk of 2 km in one direction with an ascent of about 50 meters. This is a good option if you need to digest Milenko hunter’s steak.
Enterance to Brusnica river canyon
Then again, the raw, natural energy that exudes this corner of Tara can satisfy even the hardest hikers. The trail starts from the mountain lodge, lazily down to the right through the forest and comes out onto a clearing where you are surrounded by the smell of mountain flowers, conifers and mown hay. I just realized that this combination could be a perfect refresher for the car. As you approach the part with the highest density of Serbian spruce per square m, you come to a crossroads of wagon roads.
Highest density of Serbian spruce per square m in the world
To the right the road heads towards Brusnica river canyon, which is not recommended for entry without a guide, equipment and at least some previous canyon experience. As the navigator voice would say – hold to the left – and you will quickly come to a small facility beneath the Omarska springs. I remember that this place left an impression on me. It started to get colder as I approached the beginning of a very dense forest, roaring springs echoed in my ears, and the eyes watched as the sun disappeared below the Brusnica reefs. Probably my transcendental moment would have lasted indefinitely, had I not been approached by the tenant of that little facility. I learned that he was originally from Bajina Bašta, a former truck driver for “Energoprojekt”, who visited 19 countries, but for whom there is no greater happiness than to park the truck, leaving his old wife in Bajina Bašta and come to Omarska springs alone. There, he has everything he needs. He made a natural dynamo using the blades and the water, to get electricity for a single bulb. Fair enough.
The spring itself is nothing special, but the location gives it a lot of significance. When you absorb all that it provides, go back home via the same route.
If the previous two routes were relaxed, “piece of cake”, conquering the highest peak of the Tara cannot be taken that lightly. It is not technically difficult, but you need strength and condition. I will not say that it is unattainable, especially for people who are in training or more experienced hikers accustomed to walking miles in ecstasy. Veliki Stolac is located in Bosnia, about 10 km from the mountain lodge at an altitude of 1675 m and it requires many hours of hiking, along with mastering the height difference of about 800m. The trail starts from Predov Krst in innumerable twists through the dense forest and every curve seems familiar and yet completely different. What you cannot but notice is the smell of the old forest, which leaves you completely enchanted. Around halfway lays a place called Kapetanove vode (Captain’s waters). You can recognize it by the fact that there is a crossroads towards Mitrovac, but also a source of cold, fresh water. In the summer months, the source dries up, so I recommend that you do not start this adventure without a minimum of 1 bottle of water per person, and if you find this spring, you will easily “change” your water. The trail continues through the forest until you reach a steep downhill, followed by a glade of Rohan characteristics.
Somewhere here is the border with Bosnia. Even if you haven’t noticed any border guards, it does not mean they have not carefully followed your every step. Here’s the part that may create slight discomfort for the less experienced. The marked trail disappears and it is necessary to find a tree with markings (red and white circles that resemble a target) in the middle of the grove to the right.
Following the markings
After that, everything is easier; follow the marked trail with a solid climb, and after about half an hour you will reach the top. If someone asks why all this work, the answer will be given at the top. With its position and altitude of 1675m, Veliki Stolac has an incredible view over the Drina canyon, city of Višegrad and grandiose view across the plateau of Romanija.
Chill at the top
If you are lucky to see the eagles that roam the canyon of Drina, it will awake in you a sense of pride because you will know that you are among the few who had the opportunity to find themselves in this magnificent place. After returning the same way, Milenko welcomed us with cold watermelon that was a reward for our efforts.
Sunset at Predovom Krstu
If you are interested and decide to go for it, you can get more information at http://www.predovkrst.com/. Feel tarski!