Sent by Terri-Ann Wright
Based in Dubai
Welcome to my travel page. My name is Nicole, and I am thrilled to share my passion for travel with you. Originally from Cape Town, South Africa, I have been living in Dubai with my family for the past five years.
With over 20 years of experience in the travel industry, I am proud to be working as a personal Travel Counsellor.
Over the years, I have had the opportunity to travel to some of the most beautiful and exciting destinations around the world. From the rugged wilderness of an African safari to the bustling streets of Hong Kong, I have explored a diverse range of countries and cultures. Whether it's relaxing on the pristine beaches of the Maldives or exploring the vibrant markets of India, each trip has left me with unforgettable memories and a deeper appreciation for the world around us.
I specialize in creating personalized travel experiences for my clients that are tailored to their unique interests, preferences, and budgets.
I am excited to share my travel experiences and expertise with you, and I look forward to helping you plan your next adventure. So, come along with me on this journey, and let's discover the world together!
I absolutely live and breathe travel and I love to write about my experiences! Please take a look through my posts - you might find your own holiday inspiration.
10 April 2023
Montenegro is a small country in the Balkans, often overlooked as a tourist destination. However, this country has much to offer, from picturesque towns to breathtaking natural beauty. In August 2021, I visited Montenegro with my family, and I can honestly say that it exceeded our expectations. As South African passport holders, we were looking for a visa-free holiday destination that was easy to access. Montenegro, located in Southeast Europe, fit the bill. At the time UAE residents could get up to 10 days visa-free when flying directly into Tivat on Fly Dubai, although the following year this changed to only apply during the summer months so it is important to check this information first before booking. We wanted to stay for a longer period and fortunately, our valid USA tourist visa also gave us visa-free entry for a longer stay. Our plan was to get off the beaten track. We knew Kotor would be filled with tourists as August is peak tourist season so our itinerary took us out of Kotor to Lake Skadar, then on to an Ethno Village in the central part of the country, and finally a small fishing village on the coast just outside of Kotor. Montenegro is a small country so driving from one end to the other is easily done in a few hours which prompted us to rent a car to explore the different areas. Our first stop was Virpazar, a tiny village on Lake Skadar. Lake Skadar (also called Lake Scutari, Lake Shkodër and Lake Shkodra) is the largest lake in the Balkans, located on the border between Montenegro and Albania. It is a popular tourist destination, known for its natural beauty and diverse wildlife, but because of the vast size of the lake and area, it never felt overrun or crowded with tourists. The lake is surrounded by rugged mountains, and charming villages, making it a popular spot for hiking, biking, and boating. Lake Skadar is also a protected national park, with more than 280 species of birds, including the rare Dalmatian Pelican, as well as a variety of fish and other wildlife. It is also an important cultural and historical site, with numerous medieval monasteries and churches located on its shores. The lake has been designated as a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance, recognizing its ecological significance and importance for biodiversity conservation. Virpazar itself is a charming little village, with its cobbled streets and serene river running through it. There are many guesthouses in and around this little town. Hire a kayak to explore the surrounding waterways or book a boat excursion to discover different parts of the lake itself. We booked a private boat for a trip out onto the main lake. The lake is large with many routes to take but we opted for a shorter route as we had kids with us, which took us through areas of incredible natural beauty, allowed us to see many different bird species and it included a stop by an islet that housed the Kom Monastery. Only one monk resides there to look after the church. The views from the monastery were just breathtaking. On the way back, the captain stopped in the middle of the lake to allow us to jump in and cool off and the kids really enjoyed this time in the water. Before we reached the busier part of the lake he even let the kids take turns steering the boat. Another memorable experience was hiking through the hillside village of Godinje. The oldest part of the village is mostly abandoned, with old stone-walled houses and cobbled pathways in ruins, overrun by vegetation. As we trekked on, we spotted a sign directing us to a spot serving drinks. Following it led us to a newly built platform with tables and chairs, where only homemade items were served. We cooled off with fresh mountain water and locally-made wine and indulged in trout caught straight from the stream, accompanied by homemade bread and cheese, and fresh veggies are grown in their garden. The views from this spot were absolutely beautiful. But the highlight of the visit was the discovery of a hidden underground cave at the bottom of the garden, accessed by a hole in the ground with a ladder leading down to the bottom. We found a little underground stream with a trickling waterfall and little freshwater lobsters. On the other side of the cave were old stone walls covered in moss, remnants of the past, now part of the cave's interior. Our time at Lake Skadar was short, and we would have loved to extend our stay and explore more of the area. Unfortunately, it was time to move on to our next stop, but we left with a promise to return to Montenegro and spend more time at this stunning lake. If you're someone who loves the outdoors, enjoys being active, is fascinated by old architecture, or has an interest in bird watching or nature photography, then Lake Skadar is an absolute must-visit destination when travelling to Montenegro.