Krakatau Islands Nature Reserve: Site of Catastrophic Volcanic Eruption
In the afternoon of 26th August 1883 Mount Krakatau suddenly erupted with such cataclysmic force that its boom could be heard in Burma to far away Australia. The next day, massive volcanic materials blasted so high causing a gaping gash in its crater and the mountain imploded and sank. The boiling sea brought about huge tsunami waves of more than 10 meters high, devastating the towns of Banten and Anyer on Java and Lampung on Sumatra, wiping out their entire population. The tsunami waves spread throughout the Indian Ocean, and was said to be felt even as far away as France. While Krakatau’s volcanic ash was reported to circle the earth’s atmosphere, creating spectacular sunsets around the globe for two years.
Today, where once stood the mighty Krakatau volcano, a number of idyllic small tropical islands are left in the Sunda Straits between the island of Java and Sumatra. These are the Krakatau islands which consist of Rakata or Krakatau Besar (Large Krakatau), Panjang or Krakatau Kecil (Small Krakatau),Sertung and the Anak Krakatau (The child of Krakatau). While the islands of Rakata, Sertung and Panjang are remnants of the ancient Mount Krakatau, Anak Krakatau is an active volcano that surfaced only in 1927 and incredibly, still continues to grow as a result of volcanic activities below.
Administratively, the Krakatau Islands are located within the sub-district of Rajabasa, South Lampung, in Lampung Province on Sumatra. But, in fact they form part of the Ujung Kulon – Krakatau National Park, which is recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage site.
As the site of one of the most catastrophic natural disasters in the world, the Krakatau Islands are considered today as a massive natural laboratory. Encompassing a total area of 13.735,10 hectares, they comprise 11.200 hectares of marine reserves and 2.535,10 hectares of land reserves, the Krakatau Islands bear considerable importance to scientists in Geology, Biology and volcanology. For general visitors, nonetheless, the sheer view and incredible history of volcanic activities of the islands are surely something worth travelling for. Information on accessibility can be found on how to get there. Terms and procedures on entering the nature reserve are available at tips.
Setting foot on an active volcano is certainly a one of a kind sensation, and if fortunate enough, visitors can watch as the Anak Krakatau volcano presents its active side. “Born” in 1927, the young volcano still frequently ejects smoke, lava and other volcanic materials as it continues to grow higher. The marine environment around the island offers its own attraction as it holds no less than 50 species of fish that live among its unspoilt coral reefs. Read more on the dramatic history of Mount Krakatau under Related Attractions: History of Krakatau.
The island- group along with its marine environment was declared by the Dutch Colonial government as a nature Reserve since 1919, encompassing a total area of 2.405,10 hectares. The Krakatau Islands were later in 1984 incorporated into the Ujung Kulon National Park located on the western part of Java. In 1990, the Directorate General for Forest Protection and Nature Conservation of the Ministry of Forestry assigned the management of the Krakatau Islands Nature Reserve to the Balai Konservasi Sumber Daya Alam or the Natural Resources Conservation Office of Lampung, on Sumatra, with the aim to protect and preserve its integrity as an important conservation site for science and education. In the same year the nature reserve was expanded by the Ministry of Forestry to cover the total area as known today.
In 1991, UNESCO acknowledged both Ujung Kulon National Park and the Krakatau Islands Nature Reserve as an integrated UNESCO Natural World Heritage site.
Krakatau is also commonly known in the English-speaking world as Krakatoa. This may have been attributed to a sub-editor at “The Times” who may have typographically swapped the ‘a’ and ‘o’ of the Portuguese spelling as he interpreted a telegraphic report on the massive eruption of 1883. Furthermore, the 1969 Academy Award nominated movie, “Krakatoa, East of java” ,-which is geographically misleading, – also aided in popularizing the Krakatoa misspelling. The Smithsonian Institution’s Global Volcanism Program cites the Indonesian name, Krakatau, as the correct name but says that its spelling as Krakatoa is also often used.
Marveling at the remnants of the Mighty Mount Krakatau, and observing its successor “Anak Krakatau” are certainly top activities in your priority list. While you are within the area, you can also explore its unique collection of flora which consists of: 206 kinds of Fungi, 13 kinds of Lichenes, 61 Pteridophyta and about 257 kinds of Spermatophyta. You may also come across some of the animals that inhabit the harsh terrain of the volcanic islands including various snakes, lizards, sea turtles, bats and others. Here are other activities that you can do around the nature reserve complex:
Here, aside from admiring the stunning scenery, visitors can swim, dive, and surf on its water.
Rakata (Krakatau Besar) Island
Visitor can enjoy existing wall climbing as an addition to the varying water activities.
Panjang (Krakatau Kecil) Island
On the south west of the island you can find an unspoiled coral reef along with its beautiful collection of fishes and other marine life.
Anak Krakatau Island
The main attraction of the entire nature reserve, Anak Krakatau offers its own sensation for scientists and general visitors alike. Aside from scientific research and observations, visitors can simply set foot on the beach and feel the hot black volcanic sands on beneath your feet. Try scaling this new volcano to the top where you can now find fresh vegetation that has started to grow on this once barren land.
Given its central location, the Krakatau Islands are accessible both from the island of Sumatra and Java. From Sumatra the main entry point is Bandar Lampung, the capital of Lampung, while from Java, the nature reserve is accessible from the country’s capital Jakarta, through the province of Banten.
From Bandar Lampung
From Bandar Lampung you can take a bus from Rajabasa or Panjang terminal in the direction of Kalianda, South Lampung districts for approximately 45 minutes. There you can continue your trip by public transportation mini buses (angkutan kota) taking about 10 minutes to Canti Village. Once you are in Canti village, heads to its pier where you can rent a fast boat (Jetfoil) or regular motor boats. If you use a fast boat, the journey will take approximately 90 minutes to get to Krakatau Islands Nature Reserve, while using regular motor boats, the trip will last approximately 150 minutes.
The fastest way to get to the islands from Jakarta is by chartered Jetfoil or fast boats or alternately cruise ships from Tanjung Priok Bay straight to the Krakatau Islands. If you are adventurous enough, you can take the public transportation route. Start by taking a bus at the Kalideres Terminal in direction of Merak Harbor in Banten Province which will take roughly about 1.5 hours. From the Merak Harbor you will need to take a ferry across the Sunda Straits that will take you to Bakauheni Harbor on Sumatra. Depending on the weather and traffic conditions, the ferry ride will take about 1 to 2 hours. From The Bakauheni Harbor you can charter public transport that will take you to Port Tanjung Bom. From Tanjung Bom you can find many rented boats that can take you to Sabesi Island as a transit point before heading to Krakatau Island. From Sabesi Island to Krakatau Islands is about a 2 hour boat ride.
According to the Law, visitors must first obtain a Conservation Site Entry Permit (Surat Ijin Masuk Kawasan Konservasi/SIMAKSI) before they can enter the Krakatau Nature Reserve. Without holding SIMAKSI, visiting Krakatau Nature Reserve is an illegal action. Krakatau SIMAKSI can only be obtained at the Nature Resources Conservation Agency of Lampung (BKSDA Lampung) with the contact address provided at the main page, or for further information regarding the SIMAKSI you can contact:
Mr. Ari Rakatama, Phone: +62 721 703882 or +62 813 69455403, Email: email@example.com
Documents Requirements for Krakatau SIMAKSI:
1. Research / Survey Objectives:
- Application Letter
- Copy of Applicant’s ID Card / Passport
- List of the Name and Nationality of All Visitors
- Research / Survey Proposal
2. Educational Objectives:
- Application Letter
- Copy of ID Card Applicant
- List the Name and Nationality of All Visitors
All of the requirements are to be submitted to the BKSDA Lampung at least seven days before entering the site. Other requirements will be determined later after studying the proposal activities, according to regulations.
Source: Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, Republic Indonesia