In 2014 my wife Senka and I went on a camping vacation in Greece, on the Lefkas island. It was the first time camping for her, while I did some camping the year before. We quickly realised that we both enjoy camping very much and agreed to go on as many camping trips as possible.
The following year we went on a 12 day long camping and hiking vacation in Italy. The weather had different plans for us, so we only managed to do two hikes there — one in Seiser Alm and one in Cinque Terre.
This year for our honeymoon we went to Norway where we managed to do an amazing 4 hikes for the 8 days we were there. The view from Preikestolen is mind-boggling.
This past weekend the two of us went on a camping and hiking weekend getaway at the Uvac special nature reserve. Apparently this was our 10th hike so I thought it would only be fitting to remember it with a blog post. I might write about our other experiences in the future.
We chose Uvac as we agreed to see more of our country, the entire region is just gorgeous, the nature is barely touched by humans and the reserve is the home to the endangered Griffon Vulture.
Choosing the trail
There are only a handful of resources online about the camping and hiking possibilities around here (this is mostly true for all of Serbia, not just the Uvac region). We found a couple of hiking trails that we liked and a detailed inspection of one of the trails on Open Street Map and Google Maps revealed there’s a camping site by the trail, on the banks of the Sjenica lake. I got in contact with the reserve’s custodians who got me in touch with the ranger who is responsible for that area. They were all very helpful over the phone and answered all my questions in a couple of minutes.
The trail is the Uvac meanders and Molitva (Prayer) peak trail.
Driving from Novi Sad
The drive from Novi Sad to the camp took us some 7 hours, with one stop. The route was Novi Sad — Šabac — Valjevo — Kosjerić — Požega — Užice — Zlatibor — Nova Varoš — Sjenica — camp. We left the city in the rush hour and the traffic was pretty heavy until Šabac which is some 70kms away. The road from there was surprisingly good, with only maybe two patches of the asphalt being really bad for a total of cca. 30km. A slow, but not a tiring drive all things considered. The nature along the way makes up for it.
Arriving at the camp
The path to the camp is not clearly marked on the road. There is a junction at which we had to go off of the main road and there’s maybe a kilometer or so of gravel road to get to the camp. I was hoping to arrive there while there was still some daylight left, but we ended up arriving just as the Sun set. We were welcomed by the campers and I’m not even sure there was an “official” person from the camp or from the reserve there. They helped us pick a spot for our tent and invited us for a barbecue dinner after we were all set up. A bottle of rakija was also going around.
The camp is not like the camps we stayed at before. It has no showers or toilette facilities. There’s one fountain with spring water and one of those wooden field toilets. There are no visible tent spots, it’s more of a who settles where kind of a camp. A bit chaotic, but it does have it’s charm. In the mornings the camp site and the surounding area was covered in a mist, really pretty sight while the Sun comes up over the hills.
All in all for the two nights we were there, it was good enough. We only paid the 100 dinars (less than 1 euro) entry fee to the park and that’s it. The actual camping was free, so we can’t complain about a single thing.
Saturday morning we got up a bit after 7am, had coffee and tea, some breakfast and prepared for the hike.
Senka made sandwiches and I packed the water, compass, maps and the likes for our hike. As usual we took way too much food, but the 9 liter of water was just enough. We drank more than 7 liters for the 7 hours we were out on the trail. The Sun was relentless that day.
The trail is nicely marked, it is both clearly visible and has the trail markings at regular distances. It was a bit overgown here and there, but nothing serious. It passes through, I think, two wooded parts at the beginning of the trail and after that it’s pretty much Sun all the way to the top and back. Pack sunscreen if you go in clear weather.
What we liked a lot was the fact that it wasn’t crowded. Every 30 minutes or so we would come across a group of hikers, have a short chat with them and then move along. We could enjoy the nature and the views on our own, but we still didn’t feel completely alone. Just the perfect sweet spot of “traffic” on the trail.
Apart from the hot Sun, there weren’t really any other problems with the hike. One mountain guide we came across told us that doing the hike in short pants wasn’t really smart because apparently there are snakes on the trail. Stupid from us not looking that up beforehand and preparing accordingly.
At the top of the trail there is a viewpoint from which we could appreciate the view and look at the huge scavenger birds flying around looking for food.
On our way back to the camp, we went down to the river and had a nice swim. There is one short path down from the trail to the river bank, but it is seriously overgrown and barely visible so be extra careful if you decide to do the same.
Other activities in the area
Apart from hiking, it also possible to go on a boat cruise down the river and back, with optional stops at a couple of caves to go spelunking as well as fishing. For these you’ll have to make prior arrangements with one of the guides or park rangers.
You can also try and buy some Sjenica cheese, which is sold by a household near at the top of the trail. People say it’s really delicious, but we haven’t tried it ourselves.