All parts of the world have been working on the development of good manners over centuries. Nowadays, when mass culture and means of mass communication have taken their toll, good manners are being pushed aside, while uncensored behavior and unfiltered communication are getting foregrounded. Such public exposure is being mistaken for courage, while good manners appear outdated and are often ridiculed. However, as Theodore Roosevelt once stated, politeness is a sign of dignity, not subservience. And while many codes of conduct differ among cultures, certain etiquettes are commonly accepted.
General codes of conduct accepted worldwide, hence in caves as well, forbid littering and restrict the use of food, drinks, and tobacco on tours. Following codes of conduct while in a group of people is of major importance as well. The guide should be listened to in silence, no one should separate from the group or move outside marked paths, and all questions should be asked at the end of the tour.
As unique ecosystems, caves impose certain rules of conduct that must be abided by in order for their ecosystems to remain sustainable. Caves are environments governed by darkness, silence, and constant air temperature. In order for them to survive and continue developing as they have for millions of years, preserving such conditions is of the essence. In caves open to tourist visits this can be quite challenging, which is why numerous countries and international projects standardized codes of conduct that would help minimize the impact on cave ecosystems.
Being that silence is one of the main cave features, noise is another factor that disturbs its biodiversity. Bats are sensitive to light more than any other organism living in caves. Under such conditions, their hibernation can be disrupted, and it happens from time to time that they are forced to leave their roosts. The visitors should therefore be well informed about these facts before entering the cave.
In order to further minimize possible negative impact, the visitors are not allowed to use flash while taking photos since active use of this light source by a large number of people simultaneously would significantly affect the cave environment.
Although living organisms are the most sensitive to the changes in their environment, special attention should be paid to cave formations. Caves and their formations are developing slowly and patiently under the influence of water over such a long period of time that people themselves cannot even fathom it. Water is an artist collecting materials that, once inside the cave, it uses for sculpturing the very works that take our breaths away – stalactites, stalagmites, pillars, draperies, and many other cave formations. Just like with any other work of art, the beauty, magnitude, impressiveness, and sometimes even cuteness of cave formations lure the visitors to make contact with them. However, nature’s works of art in cave galleries should be treated with the same respect as any other work of art in galleries across the world where touching any exhibit is strictly forbidden. It has been estimated that most cave formations grow 1mm a year on average. Touching any speleothem, especially those accommodating sparkly water drops, might slow down or even degrade their growth.
With the aim to preserve its ecosystem and based on the data collected on a daily basis, Lipa cave limited the number of visitors per single tour. In line with the good practice, our main tour lasts one hour which is enough time to absorb the beauties of the underground natural wealth of Montenegro without causing disbalance in the cave environment. The extended tour, tailored for those looking for a day adventure in Cetinje, is limited to five visitors. Our maintenance service visits the cave several times a day taking care of every detail, and the guides actively inform the visitors about the importance of respecting the caving code of conduct.