Central Kalimantan, Lamandau River

Lamandau River

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Lamandau River (Indonesian: Sungai Lamandau) is a river of Kalimantan, southern-central Borneo, Indonesia.[1] Downstream after passing the village of Nanga Bulik it becomes the Kotawaringin River.[2]

The valley formed by the river and its tributary has an ancient Kotawarinjin town and also gold and gems stones mining areas. In the upper reaches of the tributary valley of Arut River the Panhakalnbun town flourishing on its banks.

Lamandau River flows through southern Central Kalimantan and flows through Pangkalan Bun and into the Java Sea near Kumai at 2°51′20″S 111°43′14″E. It is a major tributary of Kotawarinjin River, known by this name after its confluence below Naga Bulik village. Tributaries include the Arut River, where in its upper reaches the Panhakalnbun town is located. While the lower reaches of the river is intensely populated, the upper reaches have contiguous forest areas where Orangutans could be seen.[2] Kotawarinjin town to the west of the Lamandau River was an ancient capital of a Sultanate.[3]

The catchment of the Lamandau River comprises the western district of KalTeng and Kotawaringin Barat (West-Kotawaringin). Kotawaringin district has a population of 200,000 people constituted by Tuman Dayaks (about 33%) who are Christians. The capital of this district is Panhakalnbun, which has a sub district, a traditional area of the Dolang, close to the Kundangan city where 7000 Dayaks reside in about 100 longhouses spread over 19 villages.[4]

Panhakalnbun town is a waterfront town, which has a plywood manufacturing plant. Its fame is due to the mines nearby where gold and amethyst stones are extracted. In support of these mining activities, several shops selling diesel sets for use in mining have been set up. Another spin-off from the mines is the establishment of a number of gem stores in the town. The particularly popular item of sale is the five set lucky stones of dark coloured amethysts, duly polished and made to shimmer for sale.[5]

People in the valley

The river valley is inhabited by the Dayak peoples, particularly the Tumon in the upper course of the river. The river is popular with tourists who take trips along the rivers by speedboats and traditional klotok boats to visit and experience the lives of the Dayaks. Buddhist influence has also been traced in the Lamandau River valley in the Kotawarinjin town. Buddhist statues with god’s name of Dewata or Mahatara have been found here.[6]


Much of the land between the Jelai-Bila River and the Lamandau River is developed by agriculture.[2]

Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve



Bornean orangutan

The river flows through the 76,000-hectare Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve, in the unique primary forest in Borneo, which has many endangered species, including Bornean orangutans. Human exploitation in the area has led to the pollution of the Lamandau River from gold and zircon mining, illegal logging and large-scale deforestation to create palm oil plantations. However, an awareness campaign has been initiated by NGOs to preserve the Orangutans in the park and also introduce agricultural practices compatible with forest preservation actions.[7]

Within the park, there are two camps namely, the Camp Siswoyo and Camp I, which are maintained by the Orangutan Foundation International (OFI). They are close to Pangkalan Bun and Pasir Pajang, on its eastern border. The infrastructure facilities in these camps have been improved here since September 2003, with funding provided by the Orangutan Foundation, United Kingdom. A guard post has also been established to prevent incursions into the forest or into the river by illegal loggers who had in the past created large-scale destruction of the forests in the region.[8]

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