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Gunung Rinjani Reserve: Lombok

When you visit the island of Lombok, a trip to the spectacular Gunung Rinjani and a trek trough the Rinjani Reserve should be on your itinerary.

Gunung Rinjani Reserve contains much of the remaining forested land on the island of Lombok. Most of these forests are on the steep slopes of a mountain complex which includes Gunung Rinjani, Gunung Kondo and Gunung Nangi, though some of the forests can be found on the lower western slopes of Gunung Punikan.

Gunung Rinjani towers to a height of 3, 762m. More or less in the centre of the Reserve is the big crater lake of Segara Anak, a dizzy 200 meter descent from Plawangan on the crater rim. In the lake a new cone, Gunung Baru, has risen and is still active and spews out smoke and ash. The last known eruptions were in 1884 and 1901.

Village priests from Sembalan Bumbung make several trips a year to the lake bringing offerings to the goddess of the mountain.

Other attractions include the waterfall of the Kayu Putih River where it leaves the lake and the forested cliffs and gorges of the reserve’s northern slopes. From the top of Rinjani, a day’s climb from Plawangan, there are splendid views west to Bali and east to Sumbawa, but frequent cloud cover can be annoying!. At the lower altitudes there are several hot springs.

On the way to the reserve by the southern route, the pleasure gardens at Narmada are worth checking out. The terraced gardens and pools of Lombok’s former rulers are said to have taken seven years to lay-out and complete and now, they form a Taman Wisata (Tourist Park) for the people of Mataram. Also worth a visit are the Surnadi Temple gardens and the forest of Sesaot.

The wildlife is much as is in the rest of Nusa Tenggara. Rusa, Barking Deer, Wild pigs, Long-Tailed Macaque’s and Civets are to be found. Lombok is interesting as the westernmost island of the Lesser Sundas and is where the Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo is found, a species prolific in Australia. Numerous species of Duck are to be found on Segara Anak lake.

There are good trekking facilities and most of the tracks are well-worn. Perhaps a guide would be a good idea but if you feel adventurous, then go for it but watch the weather!.

Interestingly, there are camping facilities available on the shores of Segara Anak lake. A good overnight stop would be the village of Sembalan Lawang.