Indonesia is a maritime country with lots of sea creatures living under the water. That makes Indonesia rich in diving sites. Many places in Indonesia offer fascinating marine life and underwater panorama for tourists, either local or international. Some of the objects even have unique characteristic that could not compare to other objects in the world. One of those objects is Tolitoli Conservation Giant Clam Marine Park on the Province of South East Sulawesi. At this site, you can see large population of giant clam while diving to the water deep.

Giant clam is considered as rare species of clams. It can be found only at several areas. In Tolitoli, large populations of giant clams are available to see underwater. There are nine species of them at this one objects. Thus, Tolitoli Conservation Giant Clam Marine Park is such a unique tourism destination, especially for those who love diving.

Diving with Giant Clam (Source: Flickr. Credit: Adam Purdy)
Diving with Giant Clam
(Source: Flickr. Credit: Adam Purdy)

How to Get There

This conservation marine park is located at Tolitoli Village, Konawe Regency, Kendari city, the Province of South East Asia. Reaching the city of Kendari is not that difficult as the city has a domestic airport that accommodates flight from Makassar and Jakarta. Both Jakarta and Makassar have international airport that accommodates flight from many countries in the world and major cities in Indonesia.

To reach Tolitoli Village, you need to drive about one and a half hours from the Haluoleo Airport of Kendari. If you drive from the city, it would be only one hour or even less. To do this, you can rent or charter a car. If you already bought a vacation package, transportation from your hotel at Kendari to Tolitoli Conservation Giant Clam Marine Park is usually included.

 

Where to Stay

There are a lot of choices of accommodation in the city of Kendari. You can find one that meets your budget and expectations of facilities. Some of the hotels and inns in Kendari are:

  • Hotel Horison Kendari
    • Location : Jalan Jend. Ahmad Yani 3, Kendari
    • Phone : +62 401 3127999
    • Email : [email protected]
  • Swiss-Belhotel Kendari
    • Location : Jalan Edi Sabara 88,By Pass, Kendari
    • Phone : +62 401 3128777
  • Imperial Hotel
    • Location : Jalan Jend. Ahmad Yani 77, Kendari
    • Phone : +62 401 3191222
    • Email : [email protected]
  • Continent Wonua Monapa Resort
    • Location : Jalan Wolter Monginsidi, Poros Bandara, Ranomeeto Km.23, Kendari
  • Zahra Syariah Hotel Kendari
    • Location : Jalan Haji Edi Sahara 1A, Kendari
    • Phone : +62 401 3121264
    • Email : [email protected]
  • Plaza Inn
    • Location : Jalan Antero Hamra 57-59, Pier 29 Complex, Kendari
    • Phone : +62 401 3131888
  • Putri Wisata Hotel
    • Location : Jalan MT Haryono No 104, Kendari

The hotels, homestays, and resorts in Kendari will likely to be fully booked during high season such as school holidays or public holidays. Therefore, it is very advisable to book your accommodation at least few days prior your visit to make sure you have comfortable room to stay the night.

 

The History of Conservation

Tolitoli Conservation Giant Clam Marine Park is the first (and probably the only one) Giant Clam Marine Park in Indonesia. This park was initiated and established in 2009 by volunteers instead of the program from government or international organization. This initiation began when some local people of Tolitoli realized how unique and rare the giant clams are. Sadly, this fact was not supported by other parties such as fishermen and fishing companies who kept catching the clams for commercial purposes. The meat was served as luxury protein in restaurants and the shells were made into expensive decorations.

Conservation of Giant Clams by Local Volunteer (Source: kabarkami.com. Credit: Indra J Mae)
Conservation of Giant Clams by Local Volunteer
(Source: kabarkami.com. Credit: Indra J Mae)

The exploitation did not only endanger the population of giant clams, but also the whole ecosystem under the Tolitoli water. Thus, out of concern, these volunteers started to do some efforts in protecting the giant clams and the whole marine ecosystem of Tolitoli. Up to this day, these awesome heroes have already saved more than 8,000 giant clams in Tolitoli Village.

 

The Giant Clams

Giant Clam or Tridacna is known by the name “Kima” for local people. It is noted that there are about nine species of giant clams in Tolitoli Conservation Giant Clam Marine Park; Tridacna Gigas, Tridacna Derasa, Tridacna Squamosa, Tridacna Maxima, Tridacna Crocea, Tridacna Tevoroa, Tridacna Rosewate, Hippopus-Hippopus and Hippopus Porcellanus. Each species could be recognized by the shell types and colors.

Giant clam can live up to more than 100 years. The average giant clam is measured to be 75 to 150 centimeters long. The largest giant clam ever found in Indonesia was measured to be 2 meters long. Unfortunately, to reach that length, a giant clam will take a very long time. Normally, they only grow about 12 centimeters in a year.

The Giant Clam at Tolitoli (Source: facebook.com. Credit: tolitoliconservation)
The Giant Clam at Tolitoli
(Source: facebook.com. Credit: tolitoliconservation)

The population of giant clams contributes a big deal to the marine life ecosystem. With symbiotic zooanthallae algae, they produce shells that strengthen the structure of corals. As we may have known, corals support the lives of many sea animals such as fishes, nudibranch, shrimp, and much more. Besides that, giant clams also have the ability to filter many kinds of disadvantageous particles in the sea water. Thus, the water would be much cleaner and safer for other sea creatures in the ecosystem. According to the research, it is estimated that a giant clam can clean up tons of sea water per day.

 

Diving Activity

Most giant clams tend to live at shallow sea. At Tolitoli Conservation Giant Clam Marine Park, you only need to dive to the depth of 20 meters to encounter them. As giant clam has a big contribution in supporting the marine ecosystem, you will also see various species of sea creatures during the dive in this marine park. There will be plenty types of corals; both soft coral and hard coral. There will also be plenty species of sea cucumber, starfish, lobster, ornamental fishes in any colors, and more.

Best time to visit this marine park for diving is around August to April. That is the time when the weather is nice and comfortable for nature adventure. The wind also tends to be more stable which cause the current to be more stable as well.

Diving at the Marine Park (Source: kabarkami.com. Credit: Indra J Mae)
Diving at the Marine Park
(Source: kabarkami.com. Credit: Indra J Mae)

Diving activities in Tolitoli Conservation Giant Clam Marine Park is available in several choices of packages, from one day adventure to five days and four nights’ one. For more information, please contact:

  • Sulawesi Experience
    • Location : Jalan Muh. Tahir, Kumala Permai Complex Block B2, Makassar
    • Phone : +62 411 5737779
    • Fax : +62 411 874814

Giant Clam is a rare and long-living species of clams. It also has unique ability that is beneficial to the marine ecosystem. It makes the marine life more lively and healthy. Thus, it would be so much fun to dive on a site where giant clams live. In Tolitoli Conservation Giant Clam Marine Park, this experience is not impossible to achieve. The object is like a paradise for encountering plenty of giant clams. Not only seeing them, you can also help them to avoid extinction by donating some money.

Not very far from Kendari, there is a wonderful island called Labengki Island. This island is still a part of Tolitoli Conservation Giant Clam Marine Park. This object is also worth visiting as there is many things to explore.

 

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