Bomi Blue Lake – Tubmanburg, Liberia - Atlas Obscura

Bomi Blue Lake

Tubmanburg, Liberia

An abandoned mine pit is now a beautiful, colorful attraction.  


When the Liberia Mining Company began to abandon its operations in Bomi County in northwestern Liberia, it left behind a series of pit mines. But as nature began to reclaim these scars in the Bomi Hills, one of the pits filled with water, creating a beautiful blue lake.

Back in the 1960s and ‘70s, the LMC began operations in the Bomi Hills near the town of Tubmanburg. The company dug a series of huge pits to extract iron ore from the hills, but by the late 1970s, the ore reserves were deemed depleted and the company closed its operations.

The LMC left a landscape pockmarked by pits, so much so that locals began to wryly refer to the Bomi Hills as the Bomi Holes. And the mining company had left so quickly that they even abandoned some of their equipment at the bottom of the craters.

It was a mess, but one that nature slowly began to reclaim. And as it did so, one of the largest pits took on a whole new life of its own. Despite being stuck up in the hills and isolated from any obvious sources of water, the 300-foot-deep pit began to fill with water, likely fed by a spring somewhere down below.

By the end of the 1990s, the lake looked like a totally natural formation. And in 2007, Senator Richard Devine, in whose constituency the lake was situated, began to promote the wonders of what he billed as “a natural phenomenon and …. a wonderful sight to behold.”

“One thing is certain about this lake,” continued the Senator, “Whether rain or shine, it never rises above its banks, nor does it dry. The water level is absolutely stable. It’s a wonderful sight, a haven for hotel and casino development, and of course water sports.”

Senator Devine’s enthusiasm certainly helped draw attention to the Blue Lake, named for its clear blue waters. But so far, hotels and casinos have yet to set up around the lake. There are a few weathered wooden pavilions, but little else. Still, it’s certainly a pretty spot for a picnic.

Despite the lake’s mining history— and the possible presence of mining equipment at its bottom—it was, for a while, the source of bottled Blue Lake mineral water. And it seems that the waters are clean and free from pollution.

But before you go for a swim, as many do, you might want to know about certain sightings by  United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) soldiers stationed in the area. These soldiers have apparently spotted some big snakes in the lake, and locals sometimes speak of a particularly large boa living near the waters of the Blue Lake.

Know Before You Go

Blue Lake, also known as Bomi Lake, is located in the Bomi Hills, about three miles north of the town of Tubmanburg. If you’re feeling fit you could hike up to the lake from Tubmanburg. Otherwise, find someone in town to take you up there in a 4x4 vehicle.

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