The Lore Lindu National Park is a huge forested protected area in the districts of Donggala and Poso in Central Sulawesi, declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve since 1978.
The Park, located south of the town of Palu, covers an area of 2,180 square km with altitudes ranging from 200 to 2,300 meters above sea-level (asl) and harbours lush forests filled with spectacular wildlife. The vast range of altitudes gives way to the existence of multiple ecosystems, including lowland tropical forest, sub-montane forest, montane forest, and sub-alpine forests at altitudes over 2,000 meters above sea level.
This nature reserve provides habitat to almost every species of mammal and birds on the island, over 50% of which are endemic to Sulawesi, including the Babi rusa: a bizarre pig-like creature with 4 huge tusks, the Mountain Anoa: a dwarf buffalo, and the Pygmy Tarsier: the world’s smallest primate, barely the size of a rat.
Aside from its rich wildlife and picturesque landscapes, the Lore Lindu National Park contains over 400 granite megaliths in the Bada Valley, varying in size from just a few centimeters to 4.5 meters tall, the largest found in Indonesia. Various archaeological studies have dated the monuments from between 3000 BC to 1300 AD.
The park’s boundaries are marked by the Palolo Valley in the north, the Napu Valley to the east, and the Bada Valley to the South. The western boundary is defined by a row of narrow valleys, collectively known as the Kulawi Valley. The Pololo, Napu, Lindu and Besoa valleys were once lakes, but are now only partially filled with sediment. Lake Lindu is the only large lake still remaining today. There are 117 villages in and around the park, belonging to the Kaili, Kulavi and Lore ethnic groups.
Lore Lindu was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1978, and was formed through the unification of three existing reserves: The Lore Kalamanta Nature Reserve, the Lake Lindu Recreation and Protection Forest, and the Lore Lindu Wildlife Reserve.
Deforestation of the park is still a problem as a result of illegal logging and land encroachment for agricultural activities, and poses a large threat to Lore Lindu. Management is still working on improving law enforcement of the area and raising awareness of the importance of forest preservation.
Some of the villages near the park offer basic losmen stay accommodations at affordable prices for a bed and meals, but most hotels are located in Palu. Swiss Belhotel Silae Palu is a business hotel with the ambience of a resort, set in the beauty of natural surroundings. The hotel is situated 20 minutes from the airport and 10 minutes from the city center, and boasts 54 sleekly-designed rooms and 27 villas with private garage. The rooms come with standard amenities and overlook Palu Bay, a popular venue for windsurfing. Services include 24-hour in-room dining, laundry, WiFi access in rooms and public areas. Other facilities offered are a restaurant and café, lounge bar, business center, swimming pool, fitness center, spa and massage, and karaoke.
Jazz Hotel Palu is spaciously set with a Balinese concept, providing guests with a modern and classic style with comfortable accommodations, world class facilities and Balinese hospitality. Jazz hotel is conveniently located just 5 minutes from the airport and a few minutes from the mall. Each of the 33 guest rooms are cleverly decorated with modern interiors with a hint of Balinese style, overlooking the public pool and frangipani greenery. Services include swimming pool, restaurant and bar, tour desk, meeting room, laundry service, spa and massage. Credit cards accepted.
Jazz Hotel Palu, Jalan Zebra II No 11, Palu, Central Sulawesi.
Lore Lindu is a huge park with an almost endless list of things to do. Whether your passion be in nature, adventure, or history – there is something within the park’s wide borders that will catch your interest. The park is fully equipped with offices, guard posts, information centres, helters, dirt roads, a guest house and camping grounds.
Trek through the forests that occupy a large percentage of the reserve for a closer look at the wealth of its natural beauty and abundant biodiversity. The lowland forests are 1000 meters above sea level and below, and are dominated by eucalyptus trees, banyan trees, palm trees and rattan trees, just to name a few. In the low mountain forests, from 1000-1500 masl, the trees grow shorter in height and smaller in diameter, and ferns are a common sight. At this altitude, the air is cooler, providing habitat for 88 known species of wild orchids which can be found hanging amongst the trees, and sprouting from the forest floor, adding a splash of colour to the dark, green foliage. In the Alpin Wood Forest, at 2000 meters above sea level, the high levels of rainfall reduce the fertility of the soil. At this level, the tree’s leaves grow smaller. A constant fog keeps the air and soil moist, and a mossy, green carpet covers the forest floor and trees.
The Lore Lindu National Park is the largest habitat of native mammals in Sulawesi. Hundreds of species of mammal, fish, bird and amphibian call this park home. Some of the creatures you may encounter are the strange babi rusa, the rare tonkean macaque, deer, anoa, gold snakes, three species of tarsier, and racoons, which are the largest meat-eating animals in Sulawesi – that makes this forest pretty safe. There are at least 55 species of bat and 5 types of squirrel. Fluttering about the forest, there are also beautiful, colourful butterflies larger than a human hand.
The Anaso Track, on the way towards Mount Rore Katimbo is the best place for bird-watching. This track was once suitable for 4-wheel drives and motorbikes, but is now only passable by foot. Along this trail are some of Sulawesi’s most fascinating birds such as the pygmy woodpecker, Sulawesi hornbill, red-eared fruit dove, fiery-browed mynah, and the formidable diabolical nightjar—a rare species first documented in 1931, and never again spotted till 1993. Since then, their habitat has been studied, and now that people know where to find them, they can often be seen. There are 227 species of birds in the park, 77 of which exist only in Lore Lindu itself.
Rent a traditional canoe for wildlife observation by way of water. The Lore Lindu Lake is the second largest lake in Sulawesi, after Lake Poso. It spans 3,150 hectares and is located in the highlands, 1,200 masl. Lake Lindu contains fish in large numbers, which create a source of livelihood for many surrounding villages. This lake is inhabited by 6 species of endemic fish and numerous species of water birds, including the endemic Maleo Fowl. There is also a 10 meters high waterfall, about 2 km from Kamamora, and natural hot springs at Kadidia.
Take a tour of Bada Valley, world famous for its prehistoric relics from an ancient megalithic culture. Dozens of finely carved megaliths dating between 1,000 – 5,000 years old are scattered across the valley. The statues of Bada Valley are carved in human or animal form: owl, monkey or buffalo; all with the similar, and rather abstract style of being somewhat oval with large, round faces. The largest statue stands 4.5 meters tall and 1.3 meters thick. The valley is also particularly prized for the beauty of its natural environment – a scenic expanse of rice paddies and green plains, engraved with small streams, and surrounded by soft rolling hills.
The nearest air transport hubs are Makassar in South Sulawesi and Manado in North Sulawesi, both of which have domestic flights to the towns of Palu, Poso and Luwuk in Central Sulawesi, from Jakarta and all the major cities around Indonesia, and a few International flights. There are international flights to Manado from Singapore and Davao in The Philippines, and from Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Makassar.
Both of the airports listed above have flights to Palu, a small city in Central Sulawesi. Mutiara Airport in Palu is a domestic only airport with flights available from Jakarta, Surabaya, Balikpapan, Manado and Makassar.
From 15 June 2017, Citilink flies Jakarta-Palu daily, leaving Jakarta at 02.45 am West Indonesia Time, arriving Palu at 06.25 Central Indonesia Time. The return flight leaves Palu at 07.0 am and arrives Jakarta 08.40 local time.
Starting 11 August 2012, Lion Air flies Jakarta – Poso v.v. three times weekly via Makassar, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
From Palu, you can hire a car or jeep to take you to the park which is about 50 kilometers away. The drive will take approximately 2 ½ hours. It may also be a good idea to get a local guide that specializes in birding tours. Many of them have excellent knowledge of the various species of birds and wildlife, with years of experience and knowledge in how to spot key species in order to make the most of your trip to Lore Lindu.
Lore Lindu is a national park, and as such, you will need official permission to enter. If you are arranging your trip through a local agent or guide, they will sort this out for you. If you are on your own, you will have to visit :
The National Park Head office in Palu. Jalan Mawar No. 10, Palu, Sulawesi Tengah.
Due to heavy rainfall of up to 4,000mm a year in the southern part of Lore Lindu, the best time to visit would be during the dry season which is between July and September. The heaviest rain period occurs during the monsoon season which lasts from November to April.