- Summer possibilities and activities
Possibilities of active leisure activities at our place and in near and wider surrounding.
Vrábľova chata is situated in Veporske Vrchy Mountains, which are a great place for wandering, outdoor recreation and hiking (VKÚ tourist map No. 134 - available in the cottage.)
Surrounding woods and mountains are less hiker-crowded than major resorts, almost intimate. It's not due to lack of their beauty or uninteresting surrounding areas just these places are still beyond mass tourist traffic, rather forgotten and seldom visited. It's more probable that you'll meet some mushroom pickers, hunters or wild game in the raspberries than tourist here.
While wandering the country it often happens that you'll detect the ruins of stone dwellings, water wells and apple or cherry orchards not maintained anymore. These all are the relics of old farmhouses and nice places for refreshment and taking a rest during your tour.
Nearby woods and meadows are full of wood fruits, especially mushrooms (the typical mushroom of this locality is 'dubák' - its real large presence indicates also name of near village which is called 'Ďubákovo') as well as blueberries, cranberries, sweet flavored wild strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and various medicinal plants.
The nature reserve 'Habáňovo' is one of the places worth visiting. It's near to 'Háj' valley as well. You can find it 1 km south of village 'Mláky'.
Habáňovo spreads over an area of 3,35 ha, it lies 995-1040 metres above see level and belongs to the municipality 'Látky'. The territory of this nature preserve consists of peaty soil meadows with many springs on the uphills that create unique small water holes here. On the meadowsrare plant species typical for the wetlands and peat bogs can be found. Wildly beautiful colours of Western marsh orchid (Dactylorhiza majalis), flower beds full of crocuses or tender flowers of Hungarian snowbells (Soldanella hungarica) can delight your eyes during spring. Also such gems as Bog-stars (Parnassia palustris) together with Marsh violet (Viola palustris) and noteless but precious Sundew (Drosera rotundifolia) are growing here.
In the orchard near the cottage is an old apple-tree with a red tourist mark on the trunk. In case you'll decide to follow this tourist mark and walk up an asphalt road uphill, after cca. a 2 hours walk, you'll reach the top of 'Drahová' Mountain. Drahová is with 1117m one of the highest hills in Kokava-Háj area. Its peak is only sparsely covered by rings of wind-swept spruces and in good weather, this place offers really wonderfull views as far as 'Kráľová Hoľa' in Low Tatras or 'Klenovský Vepor'. The small hills of moss, full of strawberries, blueberries or cranberries (depends on the month in which you'll come here) cover its meadows in the summer. And in the winter the chronicle at the top holds mysterious and promising messages and greetings from the local forester, especially around New Years' eve.
Spring of the Ipeľ river is next on the red trail from 'Drahová', after continuing in and passing the former gamekeeper's house Kremenovo, you'll get to the foot of 'Čierťaž' Mountain.
But back to the apple-tree in our orchard. After taking the downward path following mentioned red tourist mark, you get to the small picturesque hamlet called 'Drahová'. The wood, sparsely scattered houses as well as the meadows by the creek that you will meet on your journey, give a special taste and smell to this part of world mainly in the summer when the air is hot and shiny, full of great smell of newly moved hay from surrounding scythed meads. The monuments reminding of the Slovak National Uprising era, on the edge of the road, do fit the surrounding countryside in such nice weather too.
'Bykovo' is second biggest mountain in Háj country. Bykovo is 1110 metres above sea level. Climbing up this mountain is a feat by itself for tourists, although the summit is covered by spruce trees, which deny you such nice views as Peak of Drahová hill.
In the intermediate region, for sure visit the stratovolcanic mountain range 'Poľana'. It belongs into Poľana Mountains Protected Landscape Area. Poľana is one of the biggest dead volcanoes in Europe, its diameter spanning 20 kilometers. You can admire 23 meters long waterfall 'Bystrô' (Bystré) on this mountain.
In case you are attracted by rock-climbing, it's probable you'll like a unique large complex of andesite cliffs with training paths for rock-climbers on 'Predná Kaľamárka'. Its walls are southeast oriented and full of sun. They provide an ideal terrain for beginners. This stone plain doesn't offer only beautiful environment for climbing and views, its backside, which used to be a hill-fort, is an important archeological site.
The relics of old settlements at 'Zadná Kaľamárka' can be traced back to late Bronze Age. More details are available on the educational excursion path in this part. More information about the site and surrounding country can be found at www.podpolanie.sk
National reserve 'Dobročský prales' (primeval forest of Dobroč) lies in wider neighbourhood of Háj. It's situated approximately 6 km from 'Dobroč' settlement (near Čierny Balog.) Fir, beech and spruce are the dominant tree species in this territory. Majestic big trees in all stages of their life cycle can be found there. The oldest ones can have up to 500 years.
In the past, it was possible to pass through virgin forest, using old educational excursion path. Unfortunately due to the preservation of this area this excursion path is closed for public these days and entrance is allowed only with a guide. If you are interested in seeing this special place, you can contact the enviromental VYDRA club (www.vydra.sk), based in Čierny Balog. They offer a guide, who provides a professional explanation on primeval forest and its life, while walking with you on the excursion path along the forest.
Challenging hill climbing with long descents for cyclists can be found everywhere. The terrain off the main roads is more suitable for trek and mountain bikes, but also the lovers of high category climbs with road bicycle will find adequate challenges.
Bikers will reckon minimal local road traffic, altough safety reflexive marking are recommended and together with helmet mandatory by Slovak road law.
Marked bicycle routes crossing diverse terrain, some of them in surrounding of Poľana, including also information about elevation profile and labelling system in this area - www.polana.slovanet.sk/index_us.htm
Summer and thermal swimming pools, swimming bath, spa and one aquapark are available in the Banská Bystrica region.
Pension Kerametal (cca. 8.8km away from our cottage) offers option to reserve whole small swimming bath at the cost of 50 SKK/hour (summer 2007.)
Summer swimming pools: in Klenovec (15 km), in Poltár (25 km), in Detva (20 km.)
Thermal swimming pools: in Kováčová (50 km), in Sliač (50 km), 'Vápno' in Hrnčiarske Zalužany (25 km)
- in Kováčová (50 km) (www.kupelekovacova.sk)
- in Číž (60 km) (www.kupeleciz.sk)
- in Brusno (40 km) (www.kupelebrusno.sk)
- in Sliač (50 km) (www.spa-sliac.sk)
Lakes and water reservoirs: Ružiná (25 km), Teplý Vrch (35 km), Kurinec (35 km)
Aquaparks: Vodný raj Vyhne (80 km) (www.vodnyrajvyhne.sk)
More info about swimming & water possibilities in this region can be found on next link: www.turistikaonline.sk
The trout is the main inhabitant of nearby creeks and brooks that are hidden in the woods and meadows of Háj. A few years ago it was possible to see some crayfish and catch a glimpse of an otter in the creek running through Háj valley. Nowadays, their occurence wasn't reported (this of course doesn't mean that they don't live there anymore.)
Those interested in sport fishing, can apply for a permit and visit one the water reservoirs.
The biggest and probably most favourite reservoir in the surrounding area is 'Ružiná', (called after near village 'Ružiná', it's non-trout water.)
Also 'Málinec' (5km away - with trouts) reservoir that allows fishing is situated on the Ipeľ river, above the village 'Málinec'.
A dam and water reservoir can be found in town 'Hriňová' (non-trout water with zander, pike, silver carp), in 'Klenovec' (village near Kokava nad Rimavicou) an artificial lake (non-trout water with zander, pike, silver carp) can be found.
Large lake 'Teplý vrch' near town Rimavská Sobota also allows fishing.
For active hunters, or those just interested in wildlife sighting, there is plenty to see in the local hunting area. Refer to the cottage owner for more information on this.
The hills, woods and meadows serve as home to many different species such as deer, boar, wolf, lynx, fox and bear. Also a couple of buzzards fell in love with this valley in last years. You might spot them passing high above a forest during a sunny day.
A chalet that offers possibility to buy fresh cottage cheese from sheep or cow milk as well as various traditional Slovak milk products (parenice, žinčica) is situated in the valley.
In nearby 'Látky' village, horse rides are available.
In the valley itself do live also lovely sheeps, goats...
Folklore festival Koliesko in Kokava nad Rimavicou. Koliesko is festival that is organized annually at the beginning of August. Important part of this festival are 'kokavské dvory' (yards) with demonstration of crafts, folk art and traditional customs, full of typical dances and songs.
Folklore festival under Poľana in Detva, which takes place annually during the second weekend in July.
Country festival 'Country fest Kokava' and Roma festival 'Balvalfest' do take place in Kokava nad Rimavicou in the summer too.
Village Kokava nad Rimavicou is know also by footbal cup "Memoriál Štefana Hronca" with international attendance that is organized in the summer.