Bosnia and Herzegovina have a problem that you may not have seen before in your travels.
And lots of them.
The last estimate in 2015 listed around 20,000 minefields still worth worrying about, and more than 80,000 active land mines.
The Bosnia and Herzegovina Mine Action Centre (BHMAC) says there are 1400 communities affected by mines, and the safety of around 545,000 people is questionable because of the presence of these landmines.
There have been 1,699 people injured by landmines since 1996, and 588 fatalities. If these statistics weren't enough to tell you, landmines and other types of undetonated ordnance such as artillery and mortar rounds are extremely dangerous.
Most urban areas have been cleared, but unpaved roads, abandoned or derelict buildings and minor roads are still hazardous.
Do not travel into or around the former lines of conflict, including some of the suburbs surrounding Sarajevo, as this area has a particularly high number of landmines. The best way to keep your limbs intact is to stay on hard surfaces when traveling and avoid abandoned buildings.
If you've got asthma or other chronic respiratory conditions, there's a chance you might react negatively to the air quality in Bosnia and Herzegovina, especially in Sarajevo.
With the high amount of pollution and allergens in the air, it's important to have the appropriate medication with you at all times.
If passive cigarette smoke is a problem for you, be prepared to hold your breath the whole time you're there.... Bosnians love to smoke!
Bosnia and Herzegovina resides in an area of active seismic activity, and earth tremors do happen every so often.
Larger scale earthquakes also occur, although this is less likely.
An earthquake in 2016 with an epicentre 17km from the town of Mostar, and 54km from Sarajevo, measured 4.3 on the Richter scale. Treamours were felt in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Croatia.
Expect a few differences when you drive around Bosnia and Herzegovina. There are less than 40km of four-lane highways in the entire region. The remaining roads aren't in the best condition, becoming being very narrow and winding in places, without guardrails.
It's rare to find guardrails on roadsides, which means no reflectors, throw in some fog, especially during the early morning and at night, and you have very limited visibility. Plus, it's rare to find street lights outside of the major city centres.
Taking all these warnings into consideration, driving at night isn't recommended.
During the winter months, add ice, snow and even landslides.... what a nightmare!
Because of the poor driving conditions, between the 15th of November and the 15th of April, the law requires all vehicles to use snow chains and winter tires. Don't disregard this; though the fine isn't heavy, the cost of losing control of your car can be deadly.
The law also requires that vehicles have a safety vest, spare tire, first aid kit, safety triangle, towing rope and spare light bulbs at all times. This is rarely checked, but again, it's in your best interest to have these things in case of an accident.
Local drivers aren't exactly the best in the world, so be aware of the cars around you. Don't expect them to follow the law. Drunk driving is an issue that only makes the problem worse. Many accidents occur when people are speeding (often while intoxicated) along the winding roads in the region. Even if you're a safe driver, the person speeding around the next bend might not be.
If, after taking all these warnings into consideration, your plans still include driving through Bosnia and Herzegovina (including the road section at Neum on the Dalmatian Coastal Highway), make sure that you have all of the correct papers.
Check that you have the original registration and ownership papers related to your vehicle, as well as your driver's license and Green Card third party insurance papers.
You should be able to get temporary third party insurance at Split, as well as other main Croatian cities and main border posts. You can't purchase these at the Neum border.
All sorts of people may be curious about these papers, such as border guards or customs officers. As these people tend to carry machine guns, it's best to have your papers in order.
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Bosnia and Herzegovina have come a long way to reach political stability. However, local political difficulties and ethnic tension still exist. Random politically-related violence could occur with little to no warning.
Throughout Bosnia, the crime rate remains low to moderate. As an added bonus, foreign travellers are not specifically targeted for violent criminal activities.
Bulgaria is one of south eastern Europe's most interesting destinations, and – for now at least – it isn't swamped by masses of visitors every summer. Thankfully the smaller crowds also mean petty crime is less common, but you can still run into trouble and pick pockets in certain areas.