The news that Canadians can enter Montenegro despite the vicious virus, found my son and me in Trebinje, Republic of Srpska and without giving it a second thought, we found ourselves on the road to Niksic, Montenegro. This was supposed to be just a short stop on our way to the Waterfall Rafting Center providing lodging and white-water rafting on the Tara River.
However, just before we entered the town, we noticed a sign pointing in the direction of an old bridge dating back to the 3rd Century, while the Roman Empire was ruling this area and we had to stop by and have a look. It does not happen every day that you can walk on something that was built almost 2000 years ago and is still standing and serving its original purpose!
This delayed us a bit, so we decided to spend a night in Niksic and just wander around a bit. We spent the night at Central Apartments, a nice and cozy place only 5 minutes away from the city center and pedestrian-only area. Exceptionally clean place with a friendly host, Darko. (Thank you, Darko!)
After waking up in the morning and grabbing some locally made, delicious pastries for to go, we proceeded driving towards Pluzine, the small, but incredibly beautiful, mountainous town right on the Piva Lake. We stopped at the Pivski Manastir, the Serbian Orthodox Monastery, which was moved to the present location piece by piece, rock by rock almost 40 years ago when the original location had to become the part of the Piva Lake.
After driving for another half an hour or so, following a narrow and windy road, we came to the sign directing us towards the Waterfall Rafting Center. The private road took us to the parking area and we followed on foot for a couple of minutes to get to the reception. Right at the very entrance, we were treated with a glass of homemade plum brandy. Since my son was not of drinking age, I was “forced” to have two of those delicious drinks while he got fruit juice.
The dinner was made of domestic tasty products. Our accommodation was very comfy in a nice, cozy, and clean chalet Piva. A lot of comfort in the middle of the forest! The whole place was very private, and you can tell that it was built with a lot of love and pride. A few cute, playful, and curious kittens just brought more joy to the whole experience.
After a hearty and delicious breakfast (you have to try Montenegrin donuts with honey or jam!) we started preparing for the main attraction – rafting down the Tara River, one of the cleanest rivers in the world (they don’t call it The Tear of Europe for no reason!). We were all given the full gear, including the helmets, suits etc. and after driving for around 30 – 40 minutes we got to the starting point Brstanovica. The Tara River was amazing, its canyon is the second deepest in the world. There were not too many people and rafts on the river due to the traveling crisis, but it was a genuinely wonderful experience. A very friendly and knowledgeable guide made us feel safe and welcome. Our group (9 people in total) was diverse - 3 couples from 3 different European countries and one older gentleman from Australia. Really, really, good company for an unforgettable Tara rafting experience. Even though you can drink the river water, (and we did!) we stopped at the bar along the riverbank for a locally made and very good beer.
After a few hours on the river (time is completely irrelevant in this setting!) we ended going back to Landrover SUVs and back to the Waterfall Rafting Centre. When we arrived, another delicious meal was waiting for us. Chef Dzemo prepared one of the tastiest trout I have ever tried. My son was more curious and he had ordered a weal made in a very specific local way: the meat, potatoes, and spices are placed under the metal dome in the middle of the fire pit and the dome is covered with the burning firewood. This way, the whole dish is cooked together, heated from every side, and trapping all the tastes. One word: amazing!!! After such an eventful trip, the food truly “hit the spot!” We spent the rest of the day meeting new people and playing ping pong. One of the people we met told us about the adventure he and his wife had gone to prior to coming over – the Nevidio Canyon. His story sounded so genuine and exciting that we decided to spend another night at Waterfall Rafting Center and try it ourselves the following day.
It is very impressive how our host Milada and her team were able to arrange everything for us on such short notice. After spending another beautiful night having some drinks and sharing stories around the campfire, we woke up early in the morning and our driver was already waiting for us.
The owners and their staff treated us like family, wishing us good luck and safe travels. Not to mention that they had some sandwiches, juices, and fruit ready for us for “to go.” They were genuinely some of the friendliest and nicest people ever!
The canyoning at the Nevidio Canyon was nothing short to the incredible stories we had heard before. Sometimes it looked like impossible to pass, but with all the safety gear, trusting guides and friendly people in our group, everyone was able to safely go through the adventure without anyone being hurt or anything. After a few hours of going through the narrow spots, climbing the cliffs, jumping into the water, and sliding on the rocks, reaching the exit of this nature wander makes you feel like you had just got a small win against the Mother Nature. This activity is highly recommended to anyone willing to feel the adrenaline rush that comes with such an intense adventure.
That night we spent in Zabljak, a small but beautiful town. We visited one of the most amazing mountain lakes ever – The Black Lake.
From here, we are going to the incredible Montenegrin seacoast, but those stories are to be told some other time!