The aftermath of an Easter holiday to Romania brought us a pleasant surprise: an inviting e-mail from Jeep Club Serbia asking us if we would be interested to visit Serbia and if so, an open invitation to meet and share experiences.[Not a valid template]
And so, the destination for our family excursion was quickly found: Serbia, and more notably a very beautiful mansion in Southwest Serbia near the Bosnian border which was going to serve as a luxurious basecamp for reconnaissance day trips into the Tara National Park. The park is a protected region filled with hills and mountains of which the Tara Mountain stands out, with its slopes clad in dense forests with numerous high-altitude clearings and meadows, steep cliffs, and deep ravines carved by the nearby Drina River and many karst, or limestone caves.
Apart from the call to adventure because of the unspoiled nature and off-highway possibilities, Serbia was also very intriguing to us because of the recent history with the Balkan wars. A lot of (false) ideas still live in Europe about Serbia and its inhabitants …Serbians are unfriendly and aggressive, Serbia is a nationalist country … But none of these were true or important once we got to know and appreciate the very warm and lively Balkan atmosphere of the friendly hosts we met in Serbia.
We set off on a 2000 kilometer, one-way trip to Serbia starting in Belgium and crossing Germany, Austria, and Hungary to arrive in Serbia near Novi Sad, where a final leg of 400 kilometers of smaller local roads awaited us. We took our Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon for this holiday, fully packed and stuffed with clothing and gear, along with gifts, guides, and maps, knowing that our mildly lifted and mud-tyred beast would also, without any doubt, allow us to have full off-road freedom once unpacked in Serbia.
So we arrived on a sunny afternoon in the magnificent Drinska Kuća house near Bajina Basta, consisting of a movie-like superb villa, complete in its own setting on the slope of a hill and complimented with a pool, sauna, whirlpool, and all other amenities one could wish for on a holiday. The kids dived in the pool immediately, and we started planning our day trips to discover the region.
Bajina Basta is the nearest small town, functioning as a local commercial center and also as the gateway to the Tara National Park. It gives access to this protected region in southwest Serbia, bordered by the mighty Drina River and filled with exciting woods and hills to be discovered. The landscape is rich in its variety, and consists mostly of hills with trees, run-through with bigger and smaller roads and tracks and rivers. The national park is very rich in flora and fauna, and is the native region for the rare and special Serbian spruce.