Bengkulu’s Tranquil Danau Dendam Tak Sudah Nature Reserve

Lake of “Endless Vengeance” that is what Danau Dendam Tak Sudah means literally.

Beyond its sinister name, the lake, situated by the town of Curup, 6 Km from Bengkulu City, capital of Bengkulu Province, presents its own distinct beauty and tranquility.

The 37.5 hectares lake and its stretching surrounding green hills are one elaborate nature reserve that holds significant biodiversities and an important ecological role.  The area was first declared as a nature reserve by the Dutch Colonial Government on 17th June 1936, then covering a total area of 11.5 hectares. Later it was expanded in 1979 to 430 hectares, and finally the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry further expanded the reserve on 15th June 1999 to its present total area of 577 hectares.

The lake is home to various rare and endangered species of fish which belong to the Anabantidae, Bagridae, and Cyprinidae families. The nature reserve is also the main habitat of the endemic and endangered pencil orchid (Vanda hookeriana). Other distinct flora that decorate this nature reserve include the Sun Orchid, Nipah, Plawi, Bakung, Gelam, Terentang, Sikeduduk, Brosong, Ambacang Rawa, and Pakis.

Aside from some of the most exotic tropical plants, the green hills surrounding the lake are also home to various forests’ dwellers. ‘Lutung’ monkeys or the long tailed macaques are frequently seen hanging from tree branches along the lakeside. Other animals that have found shelter in the reserve are wild boar, siamang monkey, Python snakes, various species of birds, and many more.

Danau Dendam Tak Sudah, Bengkulu
Danau Dendam Tak Sudah, Bengkulu (Source :

As to the somewhat sinister name, there are two versions to the story. The first one tells the legend of a young couple whose love was not blessed by both their parents. The pair of lovers was then said to succumb to depression and eventually took their own life by plunging into the lake. Taking their grudge to the afterlife, their action would later give the lake its legendary name.

The second version is believed to have occurred during the Dutch Colonial period. It is said that during that particular time, the Dutch Colonial Government decided to build a dam in the lake to prevent water from flooding, and then build roads along the lake. Somehow, the project was never completed, thus the name “Unfinished Dam” was widely used. From the “Unfinished Dam” or “Dam tak Sudah” over time this would evolve into “Dendam Tak Sudah”.


As you spend time with various activities around the lake, food and beverage stalls are ready to ease your hunger and thirst. For a pleasant treat, you may want to try the grilled corn cobs available at many parts of the lake. You may also want to try the local distinct cuisine such as the punai fish.

Other distinct Bengkulu treats you can find here are Lempuk and Tat cake.

Here are some of the accommodation options available in Bengkulu City:

  • Horizon, Jl. Pantai Nala No. 142 Bengkulu
  • Raffles City, Jl. Pariwisata No. 1 Pantai Panjang, Kota Bengkulu
  • Dena, Jl. Fatmawati No. 29, Bengkulu

You must remember that this is a nature reserve, therefore, any activities should consider their environmental impact. While it may be a perfect place to conduct scientific research, the lake still offers other activities for visitors.

You can try to explore the lake by boat or raft, and enjoy the sensation of paddling through its fresh clear water. For those who love the sensation of reeling in the big fish, there are several fishing facilities available here.


To get to Danau Dendam Tak Sudah, you can take public minibuses or buses with the route Bengkulu-Danau Dendam tak Sudah. Situated only 6 Km from Bengkulu city, the trip will only take roughly around 30 minutes drive through smoothly asphalted roads.


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