Rama Lake – the extraordinary Bosnian wonder

The Rama Lake is something I’ve been wanting to see for a while. Since travelling is my greatest hobby, I tend to travel as much as possible and try to see as much of the world as I can. I am fascinated by nature and I thoroughly expect a comment on how I’m pretty much fascinated by everything to come by some time soon. But that’s just how I am and I think liking a lot of things brings positivity into my life. I can’t imagine what it must be like to not like anything ant to not be enthused by anything.

I tend to research all my destinations before travelling and so I’ve seen the beauty of the Rama Lake even before I first laid my eyes on it from online photos and videos. But I could not imagine how beautiful and unusual it was even in my wildest dreams. I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Rama Lake is one of the most amazing and wonderful natural wonders I’ve seen in the last few year of my travelling. Considering the fact that I’ve done quite some travelling in the recent years, it has quite some competition, but nothing really compares to it.

Compared to Slovenian lakes, the Rama Lake is quite large. It’s about five times larger than Lake Bohinj, full of bends and curves, and filled with lovely small islands sticking out like piles of gold in an emerald lake.

One of the many peninsulas reaching deep into the Rama Lake houses the Franciscan monastery alongside the church of the Virgin Mary. It is quite interesting to see how, despite being located on the banks of the lake, the monastery and the church are located nearly at the centre of the lake. It almost feels like looking at Lake Bled.

Aleks and I first planned on seeing the monastery and the church, but unfortunately the road was closed. Why? Because our trip coincided with the holiday celebrating the Assumption of Mary and the road was simply closed.

So we decided to blindly go where the road leads us. And it led us to another of the many Rama Lake peninsulas. Approaching the coast, the view started to clear and I couldn’t help but feel stunned by the beauty of it. We found a nice parking spot and decided to continue on foot. Slowly discovering more of the coast line, the view of the Rama Lake kept getting more and more amazing, partially due to the fact that the water level was quite low and the coast in front of us was submerged just a few months ago, which made it all the more interesting. The colour of the lake itself is quite hard to describe. The surface glistens like emeralds and the colour of the water transforms from emerald to turquoise depending on where you look at it. Don’t believe me? See the video above and you’ll see how outstanding my view was.

We noticed a few tourists hoping to capture the incredible beauty of the Rama Lake, some were even trying to set up a tent. I was happy to see no one was trying to stop them, which means the beauty of the Rama Lake is free for anyone to enjoy.

At first, I only planned to use up one drone battery on this spot (see the video above), but got a little carried away and ended up using two, so I only had one left. Aleks was in the same position, so we decided to go back to the car and try to find a new filming location at the other end of the Rama Lake for a different view of the lake. We found a spot matching the beauty of the first location and yet in a way different. I started filming the view but realized after a few minutes that something was blocking my control panel, so I had to bring back the drone and reset both the control panel as well as the drone. This cost me 25 % of the battery power that I desperately needed and it was the first time I realized I will urgently have to buy two new drone batteries.

After another few minutes of filming, the control panel was kindly letting me know that the battery was running out and I couldn’t help but feel mad at myself for not charging it the day before. Despite the control panel of my 2000 € worth drone loudly reminding me of the battery running out, I kept filming. The drone is supposed to fly itself back to me if loses contact with the control panel, but considering it was worth well over just a 100 €, I had no intention of trying this theory.

Rama Lake

We only ended up appending a few hours at Rama Lake, mostly because it was on the way from Mostar to Jahorina. Had I known how beautiful Rama Lake in person really was, I would have planned my trip differently. We would spend at least a day near the lake.

Leaving the Rama Lake behind us, I couldn’t help but make plans on when I would be able to return and explore it more thoroughly. I plan on staying at least four or five days to explore every nook and cranny of this wonder. Who knows, I might even try and find a local with a small boat who could take me on a lake tour around all the islands.

When something catches my attention, I like to learn everything I can about it. During my last year’s trip to Ukraine, my plan was to see Chernobyl as well, since the town faced the greatest nuclear disaster in human history in 1986. It never crossed my mind to research the site or watching any videos about it before visiting it, but once my tour was over I couldn’t help but dive into anything I could find about it. I ended up seeing dozens of documentaries and reading countless articles. The same thing happened with my visit to the Auschwitz concentration camp. If you’re interested in Chernobyl, feel free to read the article my co-traveller Peter wrote on it during our trip. You can find it at http://www.tomazgorec.si/po-sledeh-svetovne-katastrofe/.

After seeing the lake, I once again couldn’t help but try and find everything I could about it. I started reading articles and watching Youtube videos and could not stop until I learned everything there is to know about the natural wonder that is the Rama Lake – well, not quite natural.

I may have misled you a bit. The Rama Lake is technically not a wonder of nature per se, but I still consider it as such.

It was created artificially in 1968 when a dam was built on the Rama River which caused a flood expanding on more than 15 square kilometres. The flooded area used to house as much as 1744 people but the flood ended up taking 1147 facilities, including a mosque.

At its deepest, the Rama Lake measures at 95 metres. Its length can be measured at 12.5 km and the width at 4.5 kilometres, while the water level keeps changing based on how much water the dam lets through – official records state that the water does not rise above 55 m but locals will tell you that the water levels tend to reach much greater depths. In 2011, when the area was struck by a terrible drought, the lake reached its lowest water level since 1968. The receding waters revealed long forgotten remnants of a town, such as orchards, cemeteries, houses and even the mosque.

At the time of my visit, the water levels in the Rama Lake were quite low. They are usually at their highest in spring, when the snow on the surrounding hills starts to melt and fills up the lake. I fully intend to visit it in the spring, when the water is at its highest, because I would really like to see how the colour of the water changes.

Another fascinating aspect of the Rama Lake is the astonishing lack of tourists. It appears this gem is still largely unknown as tourists are rare and far in between. If you are one of those people always on the hunt for beautiful spots with few tourists, then Rama Lake is your next destination.

Looking at places to stay near the Rama Lake, I was surprised to see that there were hardly any if any at all. Booking.com only turned out one house near the lake and the prices were sky-high considering Bosnian standards. After a long and in-depth search around the web, I managed to find one more accommodation but without any pricing information. I’m sure that there are many other accommodations available, but considering they aren’t listed on booking.com and don’t have dedicated websites, it would probably require some effort to find them.

The Rama Lake is also a perfect destination if you own an RV. Considering there is no real overview over who spends the night by the lake, I’m sure no one will have a problem with parking your RV and spending a few days by the lake.

If the locals are anything like other Bosnians, they are one of the nicest people I have ever meet. Due to my short stay, I didn’t really have any contact with them, even though that is one of my priorities when I visit a place. The locals always have a few tips and tricks up their sleeves that I can use on my trip.

A few years ago, the Australian national rowing team used the Rama Lake for training for the world championship in Bolgaria. The lake, the nature and the incredible hospitality of the locals impressed them beyond belief. And so did the monastery which they used as accommodation.

I hope my drone video and photos made you curious enough to put it on your bucket list and see it someday. If that didn’t convince you, may be the amazingly low prices, great food and kind people of Bosnia will. Even though I’ve spent the last 20 years travelling all around the world, Bosnia and Herzegovina remains my preferred destination.

Check out other wonderful videos of Bosnia and Herzegovina:

Bosnia and Herzegovina in general: https://youtu.be/a-G0HAGgdrs

The famous old bridge in Mostar: https://youtu.be/-fBcpBoVJV4

You can find more of my beautiful (unedited) videos from Bosnia and Herzegovina and other locations on my Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/tomazgorec/videos.


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