Approximately 50-100 km north side of Makassar, Sulawesi island, is spread cluster of soar cliff. From main road of Trans Sulawesi Makasar-Toraja, can be seen groups of trees. After you get closer, you’ll be amazed by the spread of impressive cliff, neither it stands alone or in group.
Known as Maros Pangkep Karst Area, this nature travel place becomes world’s second biggest and the most beautiful rock forest. The first place is occupied by South China Karst Park in Yunnan, China. The Maros Pangkep karst forest is also included into UNESCO, list as world heritage for natural category.
World’s Nature Riches
Maros Pangkep Karst Forest extends for approx 43,750 hectares. Around 21,631 hectares of it is located in Bantimurung Bulusaraung National Park. Beside the lines of cliff, Maros Pangkep Karst area is also a protected forest, villages, and rice fields.
Strong cliffs are line up in this vast area. Many of them stand in group, and soars like a tower. The height of the cliff can reach to 100 m. Many of the cliffs are in small size and spread in the flat land. Below the blue sky, black stones look emerge in the green rice field. The marvel and the beautiful color combination makes this place looks fantastic. This place is suitable for you with adventurous soul.
Besides exploring the cliff forest by foot, you can also follow the river by renting local people’s boat. By following the river, you will find many amazing scenery. Along the river, you will find impressive cliff wall right next to the river edge. The tweeting bird amongst the trees and the splashing water will accompany you along the trip/ once in awhile, you will pass under cliff tunnel. The rental price for boat is quite cheap, around IDR 100,000-150,000/ boat with 5 people capacity. The price depends on your bargaining ability.
In addition, beside the beautiful cliff walls scenery, Maros Pangkep also keeps nature riches. According to UNESCO, Maros Pangkep Karst area is a natural habitat for some endangered flora and fauna, such as Bintangur, Beringin, Enau, Nyato, Black Wood, and Sappang plant.
Unique animals that live in this area are Cave bee, black monkey, kus kus, rare butterfly species, big lizard, cave shrimp, cave scorpion and some kinds of fish. The ecosystem needs to be take care of and preserved for the sake of science of the next generation.
There are hundreds of caves in the cliff wall which own incredible stalactite and stalagmite. Some of them are 89 prehistorical caves which aged thousand of years. According to UNESCO, those caves contains information which will be useful to dig any history about the earth, such as wall painting art in age of prehistoric, and tools in prehistoric age, and kitchen tools which made form ancient mollusca shell.
Beside the genuine nature riches, you will also meet and enjoy local people’s culture product. Some villages in Maros Pangkep Karst area often held local custom ceremony.
The culture products of the local people are varying, like brown sugar which the material is taken from lontar and enau tree (palm and enau tree). The tools to make the brown sugar also made from surrounding nature material such as palm and sago palm leave. You will meet other traditional tools, made form natural material such as head bag, wooden rice bowl, head cover (saraung), and many others.
Some traditional custom ceremony which held by local people is also unique, for example Tudang Sipulung which a ritual to mark the start of rice planting. The harvest period will also have Mapadendang ceremony. In this ritual, will also held match making party, where the boys and girls will meet and marry.
UNESCO recorded at least 12 dancing owned by the local people. Those dancing usually performed in many custom ceremonies. You can also see the Ied Fitri celebration, Maulud Nabi and boat decorating festival.