Bosnia and Herzegovina is a land riddled with spectacular rivers that make it a most attractive destination when it comes to rafting and fishing. On the way to Mostar, tourists will be directed to the picnic area of the Kravica waterfalls, located on the Trebižat River near Ljubuško. Tourists from Italy, Slovakia, Poland and Czech Republic frequently visit here.
The waterfall was created by the Trebižat river with its tuff deposits, and has been declared a natural phenomenon which is under state protection.
Tuff is typical for rivers rich in calcium carbonate. Grass, moss and lichen grow on the tuff deposits. The chaste tree (Vitex-agnus castus), figs and poplars grow alongside the falls. The tuff deposits that create the waterfalls are in fact limestone deposits which rise constantly and, therefore, create barriers that lead to the development of waterfalls.
Trebižat River with its emerald green colour flows through a stony region and, at a place called Studenci near Ljubuško, rushes down 30 meters, creating the Kravice falls. An old traveller once described the beauty of the waterfalls as “the pearl of the Herzegovina rock.” The falls are 150 meters wide, which has earned them the nickname of “small-scale Niagara.” There are many legends about the name of the falls, which means "small cows". One of them claims that the waterfalls received their name because they resemble a cow’s udder.
Italian photographer Elio della Ferrera has had the opportunity to immortalise the beauty of the Trebižat river and the Kravice falls through his camera lens.
He was utterly impressed by the region: “Kravice falls are a jewel: a well known tourist destination located along the green waters of the beautiful Trebizat river, which is tributary to the famous Neretva river and its spectacular turquoise waters and large delta that begins in the lovely vast marshlands of the Hutovo Blato Nature Park - another really rich place in terms of biodiversity”.
Della Ferrera points out that there are few locations in the world where one can still experience such unspoilt nature.
“In our world, there remain few places of true, intact, wild nature and every hour more and more of them are lost in a seemingly unstoppable way. I think there is no other way to protect what remains of this wild nature than to improve our understanding of it by teaching new generations about a sustainable world. One example of a good place to start acquiring this knowledge is the Worldwatch Institute website (www.worldwatch.org). I hope that everyone will understand, as soon as possible, how lucky we are to live in such an extraordinary paradise of beauty as the Planet Earth, and start to preserve what remains of it. Otherwise, the future generations may see the natural habitats only on photographs!”
As the water levels of the Trebižat river change, the waterfalls look different at different times of the year. In the summer, the emerald green waters of the lake below the waterfalls give them a unique ambiance of water, stones and trees.
In the summer, owing to the lower water levels, the pool beneath the waterfalls provides an ideal location for swimming and water sports. Kravice is mainly visited by tourists coming to Međugorje, some fifteen minutes’ drive away from the falls, with the town of Mostar around half an hour’s drive away.
There is no doubt that the Kravice waterfalls are one of the most beautiful natural treasures in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Unfortunately, it has still not attained the status that would ensure its proper protection. Waste disposal is a grave problem, and there is also no sanitation. There have been attempts to produce an outline for the Kravice site, as well as a suggestion to charge entry fees and prohibit swimming in certain areas.