Reading material for those who love the camping life

Text and photo: Bjarne Eikefjord
Motorhome and Caravan magazine, No. 3. June 2017

Cave walk in Bijambare National Park

Around 40 km. North of Sarajevo in Bosnia, on the road to Tuzla, lies Bijambare National Park. One of the many in the former Yugoslavia. But this park has more to offer than fresh air and great scenery. Several of the larger drip riots in Europe are in the park.

In a few years, Bosnia has gone from the "troubled corner" of Europe to become one of the peacefulest places to travel to tourists. Mass immigrations from east and south, which have created bridges in most southern European countries, are not seen in Bosnia, and relatively little in Krotatia. Croatia has had a huge tourist boom in line with the emergence of illiberalism in Hungary and the totalization in Turkey. Bosnia is almost surrounded by northern and southern Croatia and offers equally good natural experiences for caravanists seeking new destinations. The country many connect with war is perhaps one of the peacefulest spots in a Europe in turmoil.

national

Cave walking has not been at the top of the holiday destination list. But this year's visit to Bijambare National Park, the day after the opening of the season, was taken from a tourist brochure. Brilliant sun, thousands of people of all ages, plenty of space, fresh mountain air from 950 meters above sea level, and peace and tranquility could sink into a still wintertime northerners visiting. The national park was decided in 2003, and is a so-called "protected landscape". Which means guests have the whole 3700 goal to romp on. For that's exactly what's happening: people and livestock lovers really enjoy themselves in this vast area, which also includes large forests with right-wing conifers, several small rivers and a few larger water ponds.

family Outing

The access road is paved around 8000 meters inland in the park. At the sides there are large lawn areas where people can settle down with their picnic baskets. Should a few drops fall from above, they can pull into a number of small stalls with tables and benches and continue to enjoy the nostrils in a dry environment. If you do not look for the restaurant at the end of the road, get a better dinner and have a good time. Most go by foot, some bicycles both on the road and on the many nature trails that cut through the woods. Should the road be too long, it is also possible to ride a fishing pole, as a couple of times an hour bends through the woods, big and small in the seats. And the kids, yes they quickly find their own playland where they can unfold. But it was the cave that was the goal of the visit.

Old homes

There are together 8 caves in Bijambare, but only two of them are open to the public. The largest, which runs the entire 500 meter below the ground, is considered one of the finest in Europe. For thousands of years, first, acidic water has cleared large parts of the sandstone mountain. Then the watercourses have gradually made stalakites and drip stones that have taken the most amazing shapes. The entrance was "guarded" by one of our ancestors, so the archaeologists thought they looked around tens of thousands of years ago. At that time most of the caves were inhabited by humans, excavations show that this lasted a few thousand years. In one of the smaller caves, weapons and equipment have been found dating to the Stone Age. These are now found at the National Museum in Sarajevo. Later, various species of animals took over, and today there are bats that occasionally emerge from the big swarms.

Underground concert hall

The largest cave has four rooms, the innermost is the largest with the entire ceiling height of 30 and a diameter of 60 m. The road inside is paved and leads through some narrow and low entrances. The lighting creates powerful impressions, with nature's own artwork in prominent space. The acoustics are amazing and the biggest room has been used as a concert hall. It was reportedly a powerful music experience. Now only the voices from the visitors are thrown back and reinforced between the ceilings and walls. Here and there, the walls of niches and small passages are broken, which may in some thousand years be extended to larger halls. The air in the caves is cold and cool with a thoughtful smell of sulfur. Various minerals that the water has brought with them has created color cues in ceilings, walls and "figures" that hardly any artist can imitate.

Security

Cave walking is not usually for people with claustrophobic tendencies, but in Bijanbare the openings are so large that the cramped feeling many know at underground times were not particularly present. The corridors and caves were also lighted, and a cast walkway with roof rack makes sure that you do not risk to land outside the area or on other trails. In addition, there are guides who lead an eye and make sure nobody embarks on further adventures on their own. The flashlights from mobile phones and larger cameras went smoothly and pulled and make sure that the color scheme in the ceilings and walls is preserved by visitors for posterity.

Rich fauna

Bijambare National Park has a rich fauna. It is not uncommon to come across different species of animals that hold to the depth of the forest where all hunting is strictly prohibited. A place in the woods we also find a whole collection of old tombs that originate from much more recent historical times. Summertime is also a rich flora that reflects that we are in one of the most lush parts of Europe. But the impression of caving is probably what will last forever. Good trip to a little explored tourist destination.

How to get there

Bijambare National Park is located on the main road between Tuzla and Sarajevo, approx. 40 km. from Sarajevo. The national park is well marked. Outside the entrance there are several large parking spaces that can also be parking spaces for motorhomes. By the way, Sarajevo has a campsite that maintains a high standard, only a short distance from the sources of the Bosna River. A destination in itself. The currency is Bosnian Convertible Mark, BAM, or for everyday KM. It costs just under five Norwegian kroner on a field. The price level is approx. 40% of Norwegian, and 25% of food. From Sarajevo you can take the trip to Visegrad and see the Bridge over the Drina (see BoCM no. 1, 2017) or head south and see Mostar and one of Europe's most beautiful canyons. The roads are good. The speed limits in Bosnia are the same as in Norway, but the radar checks are far more frequent. The traffic culture has been greatly improved. Bosnia is an underestimated holiday country compared to Croatia.

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