Kerinci Seblat National Park is a wide natural conservation area located in Sumatra Island. The whole area is about 1.4 million hectares and covers up to four province in Sumatra; West Sumatra, Jambi, Bengkulu, and South Sumatra.
Kerinci Seblat National Park consists of five active volcanoes, several lakes and calderas, hot springs, rivers with rapids and rocks, waterfalls, swamps, and rainforests. It is also the natural habitat for plenty species of flora and fauna including several endangered and protected ones. It is such a heaven for nature exploration for adventurers.
How to Get There
The easiest way to reach this national park is from West Sumatra. From Minangkabau International Airport, go to Padang using public bus. In Padang, come to the Central Office of National Park Management and ask a permit to enter the National Park (SIMAKSI). After that, rent a car or use the service from travel agent to continue your trip to Painan. Before entering the area, show your SIMAKSI permit to the officers at the entrance.
Where to Stay
If you really love nature, then you must enjoy camping inside the national park. There are several spots that are cozy for camping such as inside the rainforest or nearby the lake. Staying the night at the park, you would be accompanied by at least one local citizen to bring your tents and cooks your foods. Even so, please bring food and drink supplies as well. If you do not wish to stay in the open nature, you can book a room at the inns provided by the management of Kerinci Seblat National Park.
Hiking on Volcanoes
If you like hiking, there are five active volcanoes inside this area for you to explore. The biggest and most challenging one is the Mount Kerinci. With the height of 3.805 meters above the sea level, you would need about 10 hours to hike up to the top. Along the way, there are two shelter posts provided for the hikers to take a rest during the hike.
Mount Kerinci has a big crater which is beautiful to see. It also has swamp and rainforests with several endemic animals living on it. Nearby the hiking starting point, you can find several food stands, homestay, and markets so you can get some supplies before starting the journey.
Other mount with active volcanic activity is Mount Belerang, which literally means “Mount of Sulfur”. The mount is smaller than Kerinci. But the beauty is just as good with has a hot spring, lakes, and steep cliffs. Mount Belerang is also favored by hikers.
If you wish to hike on less active volcanoes, there is Mount Raya where the volcanic activity is close to never. Yet, the height is still challenging with about 2,500 meters above the sea level. Other volcanoes are Mount Masurai and Mount Seblat.
There are several caldera lakes and craters inside the area of Kerinci Seblat National Park. But the most popular and famous one is the Lake Gunung Tujuh. This caldera was formed due to a dramatic volcanic activity in ancient time. The surface area of this lake is almost 10 km3 and the depth is about 40 meters.
This volcanic crater is located nearby the Mount Kerinci. With this cozy location and awesome view, Lake Gunung Tujuh became the most favorite camping site for nature adventurers. Nearby the lake, you can also find several facilities such as homestays, toilets, and guide post.
Other unique lake which is popular for camping site is Lake Kaco. Literally, it means “the glass lake”. The lake was named that way due to the color of the water which is transparent blue like a glass. When the night comes, the water surface will gleam and make the lake looks brighter.
This magnificent lake will look more astonishing during the full moon night. Scientists are still figuring out about this scene, but myth has been spread from ancient time. It is said that there was a beautiful princess living inside this forest.
Many men have come to propose by bringing jewels and diamonds. But the princess’ father was a greedy king. He tried to collect all those treasure for himself. Thus, he drowned his own daughter to a lake. But the princess managed to take all those shining jewels and diamonds along with her. Since that night, the princess’ treasure always shines the lake surface. The lake will also look beautiful all the time due to the princess’ endless beauty.
Besides those two awesome lakes, there is also Lake Blibis, a caldera surrounded by steep cliffs and dark rainforest. It is great for nature lovers who enjoy quietness and isolation. If you want to see animals drinking from the lake, try visiting Lake Mabuk. This peaceful lake has clear water and refreshing atmosphere.
Grao is a hot spring located in the middle of primary forest. It may spray hot water up to 15 meters high. The hot water is crystal clear and forms a small river. Visitors would love to dip and bath in this warm river. The forest around Grao is habitat for mammals and the swamp nearby is habitat for birds.
Flora and Fauna
As mentioned before, Kerinci Seblat National Park is habitat for plenty species of animals and plants. More than 4,000 species of flora is noted to live inside this conservation area. Those include the rare Rafflesia Arnoldi, the lagest flower in the world. And as for fauna, there are several endangered species such as Sumatran Tiger, Sumatran Rhinoceros, Malayan Tapir, Sumatran Elephant, Malayan Sun Bear, Muntjac Deer, Sunda Clouded Leopard, and several species of primates.
Kerinci Seblat National Park also has several stunning waterfalls such as Lumpo Waterfall on West Sumatra, Katenong Waterfall on Bengkulu, and Napal Melintang Waterfall on South Sumatra. But the most exquisite one is Telun Berasap Waterfall located on Jambi Province. The waterfall consists of three levels with total height up to 50 meters. Access to this waterfall is easy as the management has provided tracks and nearby shelter. The water comes from the famous Lake Gunung Tujuh which is located nearby the Mount Kerinci.
Local snapper and the endemic Semah fish are known to be delicious. Local food stands will offer to cook a fresh grilled fish for you at the entrance gate. You can also ask them to cook it for you in the middle of forest during your overnight camp. If you camp nearby the lake, you can even fish them yourself.
Kerinci Regency is also famous for producing great cinnamon and potatoes. A local snack called Dodol Kentang is made from these two products. It tastes sweet and has chewy texture. You can buy it at the food stalls along the way. Homemade cinnamon syrup is also available at the stalls. It taste refreshing and delicious.
- Entering the area of Kerinci Seblat National Park is impossible unless you earned a legal SIMAKSI permit from the Management Office in Padang. Therefore, make sure to gain this permit before going to the park.
- Mosquito repellent is highly important, especially if you go inside the forest.
- Bring enough food and drink supplies before starting your adventure. Markets and food stalls are available nearby the entrance, homestay, and starting posts.
- Beware of leeches, especially during rainy season.