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Berbak Sembilang National Park preps integrated site to lure tourists

Jon Afrizal

The Jakarta Post

Jambi  /  Wed, January 23, 2019  /  10:04 am
Berbak Sembilang National Park preps integrated site to lure tourists

Sunrise in Bukit Khayangan, Sungai Penuh city, Kerinci, Jambi. (Shutterstock/File)

Berbak Sembilang National Park (TNBS) is currently developing its tourist attractions in a bid to empower local residents and increase their income.

TNBS Agency head Pratono Puroso said the agency had been developing an integrated site in the past year at the side of the park in Sungai Rambut village, Air Hitam Dalam district, East Tanjungjabung regency. 

The site that is nestled in a peat swamp features a post, surveillance tower, rooms and a 1-kilometer walking path. It is also equipped with a solar-powered lighting system and has a 10 by 8 square-meter campsite that can accommodate four four-person tents.

"We're creating a place that is comfortable. It's not mass tourism as it concerns a wildlife destination, hence all possibilities, such safety for visitors, should be anticipated," Pratono told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.

"The site is more popular among domestic tourists," he said, adding that the agency employed two locals to prepare traditional food with fish as the main source of protein for visitors to enjoy as they explored the park. "It is part of our efforts to increase the locals' income."

Regarding costs, Pratono said a visitor could expect to spend around Rp 1 million for a two-day visit, which includes three-hour overland and 30-minute river transportation from the city of Jambi to the site in Sungai Rambut. 

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The 15-meter tower has been prepared for bird watching, as well as viewing the flora and fauna around the wetland. Visitors can also stroll along the river during their visit, an activity which will particularly attract freshwater anglers.

If lucky, the tourists can expect to marvel at the sinyulong crocodile in the river, or other big mammals such as bears and Sumatran tigers -- from a safe distance, of course.

Other activities available for visitors is exploring nearby villages and learning about the Malay people's culture.

The park is a combination of the 141,000-hectare Berbak National Park in Jambi and 202,000-ha Sembilang National Park in South Sumatra. In 2017 the government united the two parks into one because of their similar landscape.

"There are 30,000 hectares that are disputed with the locals in Berbak. We are trying to establish a partnership area there," said Pratono.

Illegal logging that has been going on since the early Reform Era is being dealt with by using a soft approach as well as tough law enforcement.

In 2015, up to 11,000 ha of land in the park was burned down. Bushes have started to grow in the affected area. "This means there's a chance for the plants to regrow."

The park is said to be collaborating with the Zoological Society of London, Gita Buana and Peatland Restoration Agency for its tourism activities and flora and fauna development; and Indonesia Environment Information Center and Jambi University's School of Forestry for research. (kes)