Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park: Home of the Sumatran Tigers
- In Lampung Province:Tanggamus Regency, West Lampung Regency
- In Bengkulu Province: South Bengkulu Regency
Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park (BBSNP) or (the South Bukit Barisan National Park) – spans over three of Sumatra’s provinces. They are: Lampung, South Sumatra and Bengkulu. Along with Mount Leuser and Kerinci Seblat, the combined national parks make up the Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra inscribed in the UNESCO’s World Heritage List, which runs along the entire western spine of the island. The main objective of the national park is to protect the existence of Sumatra’s tropical rainforests along with all their biodiversity. Sumatran Elephants (Elephas maximus sumatranus), Sumatran tigers (Panthera tigris sumatrae) and Sumatran Rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) are among some of the rare and exotic fauna found in the area.
Starting as a Wildlife Sanctuary in 1935, the area became a National Park in 1982. Initially, South Bukit Barisan Park covered a total area of 356,800 hectares, but recent measurements using GIS recorded that the latest total area is in fact 324,000 hectares. The park is located at the southwestly end of Sumatra. Seventy percent of the park lies within the administrative areas of West Lampung and Tanggamus in the Lampung Province, while 74,822 hectares (about 23%) is located within the boundaries of Kaur district, in the province of Bengkulu. While the remainder of the park lies within the province of South Sumatra.
The South Bukit Barisan Park is included in the Global 200 Ecoregions, WWF’s ranking of the Earth’s most biologically outstanding terrestrial, freshwater and marine habitats. The park is also highlighted as a priority area for the Sumatran rhino conservation through WWF’s Asian Rhino and Elephant Action Strategy (AREAS). In addition, IUCN, WCS and WWF have identified the South Bukit Barisan as “Tiger Conservation Unit I”, the most important forest area for the conservation of tigers in the world. Other endemic fauna that also inhabit the area are: honey bears (Helarctos malayanus malayanus), tapirs (Tapirus indicus), ungko (Hylobates agilis), siamang (H. syndactylus syndactylus), simpai (Presbytis melalophos fuscamurina), kancil (Tragulus javanicus kanchil), and the scaled sea turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata).
Aside from its fauna, the park also presents splendors in leaves and flowers. The exotic Giant Carrion Flowers or Titan Arum (Amorphophallus titanium) and the Tall Carrion Flowers (Amorphophallus decus-silvae) are among the largest flowers existing on earth. The height of the Amorphophallus decus-silvae has been recorded to reach over 2 meters tall. Generally confused with the Carrion Flowers, the Rafflesia flowers (Rafflesia arnoldii) are also found in certain areas of the park. The Rafflesia flower is noted for producing the largest individual flower on earth, while the Titan Arum and Talipolt Palm are technically clusters of many flowers. The national park is also home of the largest orchid known to the planet, locally popular as “Anggrek Tebu” or Sugarcane Orchid (Grammatophyllum speciosum).
Other flora in this South Bukit Barisan Park include: pidada (Sonneratia sp.), nipah (Nypa fruticans), Sea Pines (Casuarina equisetifolia), pandan (Pandanus sp.), cempaka (Michelia champaka), meranti (Shorea sp.), mersawa (Anisoptera curtisii), ramin (Gonystylus bancanus), keruing (Dipterocarpus sp.), damar (Agathis sp.), and rattan (Calamussp.)
While we are within the Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park, we may want to visit these spots: Tampang, Blubuk, Menjukut Lake, Way Sleman, Blimbing.
In these areas, visitors can experience the true adventure of being in a real tropical forest by camping, jungle trekking, river cruising, swimming, canoeing, as well as other marine activities. Visitors can also observe the rare and exotic Rafflesia and Carrion Flowers, when in bloom.
Sukaraja Atas (Upper Sukaraja)
The area is known to be the perfect spot to observe the tall Carrion Flowers(Amorphophallus decus-silvae).
Aside from forest exploring, camping, boating, and swimming, here visitors can also enjoy relaxing thermal springs.
Here visitors can discover an enchanting waterfall, as they explore the forest.
The main entry point to the Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park is from the town of Bandarlampung, capital of Lampung Province. There are several airlines that serve flights from Jakarta to Radin Inten II Airport at Bandarlampung, including:
- Garuda Indonesia
- Merpati Nusantara
- Sriwijaya Air
- Batavia Air
From Bandar Lampung you can take a bus from the Rajabasa Terminal to Kota Agung, the trip takes approximately two to three hours.
Once you are at Kota Agung, don’t forget to get a permit at the Forest Protection and Natural Conservation (PHPA) office. From Kota Agung you can go straight to the BBSNP entrance at Tampang using a boat ride provided in the harbor. The boat trip along the coast will last between 5 to 7 hours, depending on the condition of the boat.
You can also take the Sedaya-Suwoh route although the trip will be a bit rough, since the roads are not fully asphalted. From Kota Agung take a Minibus headed to Sedaya. From Sedaya the only transportation available to Suwoh are motorbike taxies or “ojek”. Bear in mind that you can take this route during the dry season only. Alternately, from Sedaya you can also take an Ojek (motorcycle taxi) to Sukaraja Atas, which is another entrance.
Best time of year to visit: January to August.
Temperature: 20° – 28° C
Rainfall: 1,000 – 4,000 mm/year
Altitude: 0 – 1,964 m asl.
Geographical location: 103°23′ – 104°43′ E; 4°33′ – 5°57′ S
Source: Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, Republic Indonesia, and The Ministry of Forestry