The drive to Karagöl was not easy or pleasant. Translating into Black Lake, Karagöl is located high in the mountains of Borçka. It does not appear on printed maps, considered too small to be of any significance. It is highly recommended to visit though, if you can face the treacherous ride up the mountain.
Driving to the Black Lake of Borçka
Many of the roads in this area are poorly constructed and have no safety barriers in place. They are narrow and wind sharply up the mountain making turns impossible to navigate. At certain points, drivers beep their horns, as it is impossible to see if cars are coming from the opposite direction.
If your driver loses concentration or control of the car, the drop down the side of the mountain will make any roller coaster ride you previously had, pale in comparison.
There is a saying among the locals…
” If you have an accident on these roads, it will be the very last thing you ever do”.
I sat in the back seat of the car and closed my eyes at every potential accident hot spot.
To get rid of my fears, I occupied my mind with making notes for the article that I was going to write, if I survived the journey! My one comforting thought, was that if our car went tumbling down the side of the mountain, I had made good use of my time on earth.
Obviously because I am now writing about my visit to Karagöl, it means I had a good driver who navigated the roads like a pro. We reached Karagöl after what seemed like hours, only stopping to take pictures of a tall, fast flowing waterfall.
The lake itself, lacks any tell-tale signs of beauty and would certainly not win any amazing photo competition. The water has a muddy appearance and the landscape is only compensated by the abundance of greenery and fog slowly descending in the distance.
In winter times the lake freezes over and I suspect that is when it becomes a picture postcard scene worth admiring. The area is protected so no fishing is allowed. I even saw a sign, forbidding the playing of trumpets.
I thought this rather unusual at the time; however, soon learned during my trip, that the locals of the black sea do not wait for special occasions to bring out instruments, to joyfully sing and dance with friends, neighbours, family, and strangers.
Was the visit to Karagöl worth it?
Definitely, despite the lack of beauty, there is a calming and peaceful aura surrounding the lake.
There was one thing missing though. I would like to have gone out on the lake in a small dinghy boat and cracked open a nice ice cold bottle of beer, to celebrate surviving the treacherous drive to Karagöl.