North Macedonia’s Best-Kept Mountaineering Secret – blog by Goran Nikoloski
This Waterfall trek combines borders and the region’s highest peak, but it only exists two months of the year
In the western part of North Macedonia, a few kilometers from the Albanian border and Peak Golem Korab, the tallest peak of both North Macedonia and Albania, a waterfall may be one of the most elusive mountaineering prizes. Soaring above hikers at 130 meters, the Korab Waterfall — the highest waterfall in the Balkans — crashes over and thin drape of water falls down from 2050 m, which stronger wind atomizes to left or right side hosing the grass and flowers below.
Though known to locals, who frequent these mountains, the reason the Korab Waterfall is such a rare prize for visiting mountaineers is because it only exists in May and June, when the snow melts. Previously, it was known only to shepherds and border guards with the tightly closed neighbor Albania. Today it attracts hundreds of Macedonians and virtually no foreigners.
Whenever adventure tourists come to North Macedonia, they are amazed by the dramatic scenery, unspoiled nature … and especially from the lack of visitors. “You have high peaks covered with grass – Cool! It is great for ski touring. Where are the other skiers and climbers? There are no cyclists in Macedonia? In our country, this would be packed with people. We will come again”.
There are several starting points toward the waterfall. Normal cars and vans up to 20 people can drive first on 2 km asphalt and then on 5 km dirt road alongside the wild Ribnicka River to the village Ribnica, 110 km from both, the capital Skopje and Ohrid, is the most popular one. The other starting points are from villages Bibaj, Zhuzhnje, or Nivishte, but they are more challenging ones for the vehicles. From village Ribnica through sunny meadows filled with sweet strawberries and raspberries, and then through thick deciduous, beech, and oak forest the marked path head to first, Popova and second Praluga meadow. The path heads below the Ribnicka Skala Peak (2300 m) and mighty, rocky Kabas Peak (2391 m) through high muscular beech trees toward the viewpoint on 1930 m.
Blog content and photos are submitted by Goran Nikoloski – mountain guide from the mountaineering associations in North Macedonia and Slovenia, and part of the publishing team of the first online magazine for outdoor adventures in Macedonian language – SHUM.
Goran is part of the group of participants (journalists, bloggers, social media influencers, tourism sector reps) of the online workshop for travel writing. The workshop was organized by IME in collaboration with Alex Crevar – travel journalist and tourism consultant working in the areas of development and promotion. Alex has covered stories for publications such as The New York Times, National Geographic Travel, and Lonely Planet and Adventure Cyclist magazine.