Mount Gede Pangrango National Park, The Spectacular Panorama
Because of its easy access, the Mount Gede-Pangrango National Park with its spectacular panorama is a favourite site with visitors. Located in the province of West Java this Park encompasses the peaks of Mt. Gede, Mt. Pangrango. Around these peaks are tea plantations, recreation parks, waterfalls, hot springs, lakes and accommodation facilities within the park as around its periphery. The Park was declared nature conservation area in 1889, although prior to this the Cibodas Botanical Gardens was already established here in 1830, where cinchona (quinine) and coffee were first cultivated to become Java’s most prominent exports in the 19th century.
Most notable about the Gede-Pangrango Park are its three very distinct ecosystems: a sub-montane ecosystem (1,000 m to 1,500 m altitude), a montane ecosystem (1,500 m – 2,900 m) characterized by large tall trees, and a sub-alpine ecosystem (2,400 m. and higher), characterized by grassy meadows where the Java edelweiss grows in abundance. It also has a savanna as well as marshland ecosystems.
In 1977 UNESCO declared the Gunung Gede-Pangrango National Park a Biosphere Reserve.
Today the Gunung Gede-Pangrango National Park covers 15,196 hectares that include Cibodas, Cimungkat, the Gunung Gede-Pangrango Reserve, the Situ Gunung recreation area, and the forests on the slopes centered on two volcanoes. These are Mt. Gede, (2,958m ) with its gaping crater and fumaroles, and Mt. Pangrango (3,019 m). The two are connected by a high saddle at 2,500 m above sea level.
Edelweiss grow in a field known as the alun-alun Suryakencana, located to the north of Mt. Gede. It takes some six-hours hiking from Cibodas. The view from the Summit and crater of Mt. Gede is stunning both at sunrise or sunset. From here one can see Mt. Krakatau and Sumatra, and below the towns of Cianjur, Sukabumi and Bogor.
Here are three active craters – the Lanang, Ratu and Wadon craters, united in a single complex at an altitude of 2,958 m. The craters are a five-hour hike from Cibodas. There are four types of primates in this Park, including the Java Gibbon which is endemic to Java, the Surili which lives around the Cibodas waterfall but is rarely seen as it is shy, the long-tailed macaque monkeys and the Javan langur. There are also leopards, wild dogs and wild boars. The Park boasts a wide variety of bird species, 251 of the 450 species on Java inhabit this Park, including the Javan hawk eagle and the owl.
The Biru Lake, situated at 1,575 m located at 1.5 km from the entrance at Cibodas is a favourite picnic spot. The blue colour comes from the a blue algae with which this lake is covered. The 50 m high Cibeureum Waterfall, where three separate streams plunge over a cliff, is located 2.8 km. from Cibodas. Here is a red moss that is endemic to West Java. Watch Arjuna butterflies sip salty mud at the water’s edge. Thermal springs are found around two-hours hike from Cibodas, while camping grounds and accommodation can be found at Mt. Putri and Selabintana.
Since the 19th century, the Gede-Pangrango area has been a living laboratory for researchers. The trail on the south-eastern slopes was found by Sir Thomas Raffles in 1811, although the earliest recorded climb of Mount Gede was by C.G.C. Reinwardt in 1819.
Among many points of interest in the park, Bodogol Conservation Education Center offers wide variety of interests. Hanging twenty-five meters above ground, a canopied walkway is one of the park’s best attraction although extra precaution should be taken at several points in which the walkway’s condition has deteriorated.
Because of the high rainfall here during the rainy season, the Park is closed between December through March when heavy fog and clouds cover the peaks and strong winds prevail especially during February and March. Best time to visit and make the exhilarating climb to the craters is during the dry season between June through September.
Temperatures vary on average around 18°C at Cibodas, cooling down quickly to 10°C at the mountain peaks. When you intend to climb to the peak make sure that you wear warm clothing and sturdy shoes because in the evenings temperatures can be freezing cold.
The main entrance to the Gede-Pangrango Park is through a trail located next to the main gate of the Cibodas Gardens. Cibodas lies just off the main Jakarta – Bandung mountain route pass the Puncak, at Cipanas, some two hours from Jakarta, when traffic is sparse. On holidays and weekends expect the Bogor – Puncak route to be jammed with Jakarta vacationers.
To obtain your Permit and a map contact the Forestry and Conservation Office:
Jalan Raya Cibodas,
Cipanas 43253, Cianjur, West Java.