Water Holes Cave is located in Apriltsi Municipality, within the Central Balkan National Park, at the foot of the White Holes rock massif under the Botev Peak. It is a part of the Northern Dzhendem reserve and northwest of it is the Pleven chalet.
The first study of the Water Holes was in 1961, and in 1982 it was studied and mapped in detail. The cave lies at 1400 m altitude. The total length is 813 meters, - 2 m / +15 m displacement.
The cave is formed in Triassic limestone and develops in two main cracks. There are two entrances, one above the other. The top one is dry and from the bottom one flows an underground stream. Inside the cave the galleries starting from the two inputs are connected. The temperature of the underground river is 5 oC.
Water Holes is rich in inhabitants - troglobiont beetles and pseudoscorpions, some caddis flies and butterflies. It is a favorite place for breeding and wintering for many bat species - typical cave dwelling and typical forest. These are the globally threatened Schreiber's bat, large bat, great southern and lesser horseshoe, Geoffroy's bat, barbastelle bat, Bechstein's bat. So far scientists have identified 17 species of bats that use the cave for breeding, wintering, feeding, socializing and recreation. That makes Water Holes an unique and important place in the Central Balkan National Park.
One of its entrances is easily accessible, but in the winter there is a risk of avalanche. Due to the extremely high conservation significance of its inhabitants, and because its location in North Djendem reserve, entering the cave is unacceptable. If biospeleological studies are necessary, it must be agreed in advance with the Ministry of Environment and Water and the National Park.
Water Hole is a watershed of Vasilkovitsa river. Nearby is one of the largest deposits of yew in Northern Bulgaria.
The cave is included in the Water Holes tourist route. The starting point is Vidima neighbourhood in Apriltsi town. Along asphalt road for about 20 minutes drive one reaches the Mazaneto locality, where the beginning of the route is. The route goes along the path for Pleven hut, from the junction of the winter and summer trails one goes along the winter trail, after about 20 m transition one deviates to the left of an existing forest road, crosses the ravine and begins climbing. After about 40 minutes one reaches a small clearing with a place to rest among a 100-year old beech forest. 20 meters above the clearing is the road fork to Pleven hut and the Water Holes cave - from here the two sites are located about 40 minutes walking. To the left is the route to the cave. It can be reached in about 45 minutes.
Pleven hut, located in Bazov dyal area over Vidima neighbourhood, consists of two buildings and offers a total of 180 seats.
If you prefer more comfort, you can stay in a hotel or private accommodation in Apriltsi.
Sources: http://visitcentralbalkan.net/, http://apriltsi.org/, http://www.primarina.com/, http://www.pohodi.com/
Photos: http://martinpetrov555.blogspot.com/, http://web.4at.info/, http://photo.raskoll.com/
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