Central Sulawesi Morowali Nature Reserve

Central Sulawesi

Morowali Nature Reserve

Morowali is a 225,000 ha nature reserve in the eastern part of Central Sulawesi province. The reserve is the only area in Sulawesi where forests on basic or ultra basic rock and limestone, are protected. Morowali comprises several forest types: lowland alluvial forest, mountain forest, swamp forest, mangrove forest, moss forest and some secondary forest. The reserve is dominated by three high mountains: Gunung Tambusisi (2,422 m), Gunung Morowali (2,280 m) and Gunung Tokala (2,630). The mountains are separated by river valleys with steep slopes and are located in the northern part of the reserve. The southern part of the reserve comprises the so called Morowali Plain. This 45,000 ha area includes two lakes, seasonal swamps, peat swamp and some mangrove forest. Most of the area is covered with primary forests.
The Wana are the native people living in the reserve. About 600 families, comprising the Wana Kajurmangka and the Wana Uewaju, still live according to their ancient traditions. The Wana Kajurmangka live in the isolated area around Gunung Rapangusulemana while the Wana Uewaju have their villages in the east of the reserve.
The entrance of the reserve is in Kolonodale, which can be reached by bus from Ujung Pandang, Poso, Soroake, Palu en Tentena. Permits, guides and information are available at the KSDA office in Palu and the PHPA office in Kolonodale. The NGO Friends of Morowali http://www.lp3es.or.id/direktori/data/sulteng/sulteng_004.htm can also provide detailed information about the reserve and their inhabitants.
* Kolonodale
o Penginapan Lestari
o Penginapan Sederhana
o Penginapan Rejeki
* Morowali Nature Reserve
o Simple accommodation and food in local houses
KSDA, Jl.Prof.Moh.Yamin 17, Palu.
PHPA, Kolonodale.
Friends of Morowali, Penginapan Sederhana, Jl.Jend.A.Yani 154, Kolonodale.
There are several possibilities to trek through the reserve. Inquire at the PHPA or Friends of Morowali offices.
* Bear cuscus – Ailurops ursinus
* Celebes dwarf cuscus – Strigocuscus celebensis
* Sulawesi rousette – Rousettus celebensis
* Tonkean macaque – Macaca tonkeana
* Sulawesi tarsier – Tarsius spectrum
* Sulawesi palm civet – Macrogalidia musschenbroekii
* Malay civet – Viverra tangalunga
* Mountain anoa – Bubalus quarlesi
* Rusa deer – Cervus timorensis
* Babirusa – Babyrousa babyrussa
* Sulawesi warty pig – Sus celebensis
* Golden shrew-rat – Bunomys chrysocomus
* Trefoil-toothed giant rat – Lenomys meyeri
* [ ] – Maxomys wattsi
* House mouse – Mus musculus
* Pacific rat – Rattus exulans
* House rat – Rattus rattus

* Maleo – Macrocephalon maleo
* Wandering Whistling-Duck – Dendrocygna arcuata
* Cotton Pygmy-goose – Nettapus coromandelianus
* Pacific Black Duck – Anas superciliosa
* Indonesian Teal – Anas gibberifrons
* Garganey – Anas querquedula
* Hardhead – Aythya australis
* Tufted Duck – Aythya fuligula
* Common Kingfisher – Alcedo atthis
* Blue-eared Kingfisher – Alcedo meninting
* Black-billed Kingfisher – Pelargopsis melanorhyncha
* Collared Kingfisher – Todirhamphus chloris
* Green-backed Kingfisher – Actenoides monachus
* Scaly-breasted Kingfisher – Actenoides princeps
* Yellow-crested Cockatoo – Cacatua sulphurea
* Red-eared Fruit-Dove – Ptilinopus fischeri
* Grey-headed Imperial-Pigeon – Ducula radiata
* White Imperial-Pigeon – Ducula luctuosa
* Slaty-legged Crake – Rallina eurizonoides
* Buff-banded Rail – Gallirallus philippensis
* Slaty-breasted Rail – Gallirallus striatus
* Isabelline Waterhen – Amaurornis isabellinus
* White-breasted Waterhen – Amaurornis phoenicurus
* White-browed Crake – Porzana cinerea
* Watercock – Gallicrex cinerea
* Purple Swamphen – Porphyrio porphyrio
* Dusky Moorhen – Gallinula tenebrosa
* Sulawesi Woodcock – Scolopax celebensis
* Pintail Snipe – Gallinago stenura
* Swinhoe’s Snipe – Gallinago megala
* Black-tailed Godwit – Limosa limosa
* Bar-tailed Godwit – Limosa lapponica
* Little Curlew – Numenius minutus
* Whimbrel – Numenius phaeopus
* Far Eastern Curlew – Numenius madagascariensis


* Common Redshank – Tringa totanus
* Marsh Sandpiper – Tringa stagnatilis
* Common Greenshank – Tringa nebularia
* Terek Sandpiper – Tringa cinerea
* Common Sandpiper – Tringa hypoleucos
* Great Knot – Calidris tenuirostris
* Rufous-necked Stint – Calidris ruficollis
* Long-toed Stint – Calidris subminuta
* Broad-billed Sandpiper – Limicola falcinellus
* Red-necked Phalarope – Phalaropus lobatus
* Comb-crested Jacana – Irediparra gallinacea
* Beach Thick-knee – Esacus neglectus
* White-headed Stilt – Himantopus leucocephalus
* Pacific Golden-Plover – Pluvialis fulva
* Grey Plover – Pluvialis squatarola
* Little Ringed Plover – Charadrius dubius
* Malaysian Plover – Charadrius peronii
* Mongolian Plover – Charadrius mongolus
* Greater Sand Plover – Charadrius leschenaultii
* Oriental Plover – Charadrius veredus
* Great Crested-Tern – Sterna bergii
* Black-naped Tern – Sterna sumatrana
* Little Tern – Sterna albifrons
* Whiskered Tern – Chlidonias hybridus
* Brown Noddy – Anous stolidus
* Osprey – Pandion haliaetus
* Spotted Harrier – Circus assimilis
* Little Grebe – Tachybaptus ruficollis
* Masked Booby – Sula dactylatra
* Brown Booby – Sula leucogaster
* Oriental Darter – Anhinga melanogaster
* Little Pied Cormorant – Phalacrocorax melanoleucos
* Little Black Cormorant – Phalacrocorax sulcirostris
* Yellow Bittern – Ixobrychus sinensis
* Schrenck’s Bittern – Ixobrychus eurhythmus
* Cinnamon Bittern – Ixobrychus cinnamomeus
* Black Bittern – Ixobrychus flavicollis
* Japanese Night-Heron – Gorsachius goisagi
* Little Egret – Egretta garzetta
* Pacific Reef-Egret – Egretta sacra
* Great-billed Heron – Ardea sumatrana
* Purple Heron – Ardea purpurea
* Intermediate Egret – Ardea intermedia
* Cattle Egret – Bubulcus ibis
* Javan Pond-Heron – Ardeola speciosa
* Striated Heron – Butorides striatus
* Glossy Ibis – Plegadis falcinellus
* Australian Pelican – Pelecanus conspicillatus
* Woolly-necked Stork – Ciconia episcopus
* Great Frigatebird – Fregata minor
* Lesser Frigatebird – Fregata ariel
* Streaked Shearwater – Calonectris leucomelas
* Zitting Cisticola – Cisticola juncidis

* Fin-tailed Lizard – Hydrosaurus amboinensis
* Wagler’s Pit-Viper – Tropidolaemus wagleri
* Reticulated Python – Python reticulatus
* Estuarine Crocodile – Crocodylus porosus


The wana people, a small ethnic group of about 5 000, are living in the Morowali area, which can be entered from Kolonodale. They practice shifting cultivation and are collecting rattan and resin to trade. The wanas are also skilled hunters and still using blowpipes. By living their traditional lives they are now violating the laws according to the governement, who made Morowali to a nature reserve. The wanas can be moved out from the area in a near future. The organization “Sahabat Morowali” , Friends of Morowali, are figthing for their rigths.
The Wana Kajurmangka live in the isolated area around Gunung Rapangusulemana while the Wana Uewaju have their villages in the east of the reserve.

Morowali Nature Reserve
Located on the eastern arm of Central Sulawesi, Morowali Nature Reserve consists of a 225,000 ha protected area containing almost completely intact primary forest. The north of the reserve is dominated by steep mountains reaching over 2600 m in height, but the terrain in the south is much less rugged and terminates in a wide coastal plain with natural lakes and swamp forest.

This region, together with much of eastern Central Sulawesi, comprises some of the most extensive formations of ultrabasic rock in the world. This results in soils which have a severe deficiency of important plant nutrients and instead contain toxic concentrations of certain heavy metals. Consequently, ultrabasic forest areas have largely been spared from intensive agriculture and logging due to the poor conditions for planting and lack of valuable timber trees.

The indigenous Wana people live throughout the reserve and consist of about 600 families that follow a traditional lifestyle. Their subsistence is based on swidden and shifting agriculture, hunting, and harvesting of forest products such as rattan and damar.

Current Status
This nature reserve was first established in March 1980, but although it is a completely protected area there are no currently maintained facilities or management staff. It is possible that in the near future Morowali may become a national park, which would lead to funding for proper management but also probably result in the majority of lowland areas being subsequently zoned for logging. Due to the relatively intact indigenous culture of the Wana people, Morowali has recently been proposed as a World Cultural Heritage Site.

Vegetation on ultrabasic ridge top How to Get There
The reserve is approachable from several directions, but the easiest is to take a 2-hour boat ride from Kolonodale to Tambayoli, which is a settlement at the western end of the park. It is possible to charter your own boat to access other parts of the park, but this is much more expensive.

Kolonodale can be reached by bus from Palu or by a 6-hour boat ride from Baturube. Alternatively, to reach Kolonodale from Macassar or Rantepao it is necessary to first take a bus to Soroako, cross Lake Matano via boat, and then take a small bus from the village of Nuha.

At the time of this writing, there is only a very poor road from Poso passing through Kecematan Tojo to Tambayoli, but it is not recommended since an expensive 4WD vehicle is required, and it is impassable during wet weather. A new road is planned from Baturube but this is not expected to be completed until 2008.

From Mando there are several flights per week to Luwuk, but travellers with more time on their hands can take the overland route to Gorontalo and then board a ferry to Pagaimanan. From Luwuk it is a 6-hour bus ride to Baturube from which it is possible either to take a boat to Kolonodale or enter the eastern end of the park near the Tokala Mountains.

The best time to visit is in the dry season (September to November). During the rainy season (May to June) the Tambayoli valley is sometimes prone to flooding, and the rivers are more difficult to cross.

What to See
Despite having a great diversity of wildlife which includes all the larger endemic mammals such as Babirusa (Babyrousa babyrussa), Anoa (Bubalus quarlesi), and Sulawesi Civet (Macrogalidia musschenbroekii), spotting animals in the forest is relatively difficult. Most species are very wary of people due to continuous hunting pressure from the local inhabitants.

Over 170 bird species have been recorded from Morowali, including many endemics. Notable species include the Maleo (Macrocephalon maleo), Yellow-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua sulphurea), Ornate Lory (Trichoglossus ornatus), all five endemic kingfishers, and 18 species of forest pigeons and doves. The Tambayoli valley is a pleasant and easy place to spot numerous raptors, water birds including the Wooly-necked Stork (Ciconia episcopus), and nightjars at dusk.

Reptiles include the bizarre Sail-fin Lizard (Hydrosaurus amboinensis), and huge 9 meter-long Reticulated Pythons (Python reticulatus).

A wealth of fascinating plants can also be seen in the reserve, ranging from massive Agathis (damar) trees to rare orchids and seven species of pitcher plants (Nepenthes).
Despite the great potential for nature tourism, Morowali sees few foreign visitors and there are currently no developed facilities available. Guides can be found in Kolonodale, Tambayoli, or Morowali village, but you must be well-versed in Bahasa Indonesia as few of them speak English. Simple accomodation can be obtained at any village or town, usually by making arrangements with the kepala desa (head of the town).

The office of Yayasan Sahabat Morowali (“Friends of Morowali”) in Kolonodale is an invaluable resource of information on various treks and practicalities about the reserve. They also have a small library of excellent books and research papers on Morowali. It is required to obtain a police permit before entering the reserve, even though the borders are not enforced. The closest police kantor for this is in Kolonodale, but due to the infrequency of visitors they don’t always stock blank forms (I was once told by the officer in charge to travel 2 days by bus to the next nearest office to get a new form). It is thus a better idea to obtain the permit in Palu or Manado beforehand if possible.

Hiking is generally very pleasant if one follows the well-established trails used by the Wana, but can get strenuous on the mountains. When trekking it is most convenient to stay in Wana huts or jungle shelters, but tents must be carried when attempting some of the more remote peaks. Leeches can only be found on some of the wetter mountains. Malaria is a small probem in the Tambayoli area. If you are concerned, you might want to consider prophylactics.


Alpha Primo Tours

 MOROWALI RESERVE EXPLORATION MOROWALI reserve situated in Central Sulawesi is natural, unique and lonely , large mountainous area , lakes, forest and flood plains. MOROWALI derived from WANA language, MORO means river, WALI means change or moving, so MOROWALI means a river which always change its course suddenly during the rainy season. Declared as a reserved in 1980, as a result of the work of BRITISH ARMY run expeditions called. Operation Drake which celebrating Sir Francis Drakes famous voyage around the world in 1580,five rivers flow through the reserve, three of them into long narrow to TOMORY BAY. DAY 1 : ARRIVAL MAKASSAR(UJUNG PANDANG)-TORAJA Morning arrival in MAKASSAR, the new capital city name. Meeting service by the tour guide at the airport, then directly transfer to Toraja which takes about 8 hours drive by bus passing the Buginese area.. one of the ethnics who live in South Sulawesi with their distinctive stilt houses. Afternoon stop at Erotica Mountain for refreshing before catching Toraja in late afternoon. Arrive in Toraja, check in hotel for overnight. DAY 2 : TORAJA FULLDAY TOUR After breakfast at hotel, fullday excursion exploring the fantastic village of Toraja with their unique Traditional Houses(Tongkonan)which shape like a ship with a bow and stern. First visit to LEMO ,the grave yard on the cliff with row of Tau Tau(Puppets representing the death). SUAYA,the royal stone graves of the seventh king of the village. SANGGALA,the tree graves for the death babies who has not yet having teeth. Lunch at local restaurant. After lunch visit NANGGALA,the traditional village of Toraja which surrounded by the Tongkonan Houses and the Barn Houses. MARANTE,the hanging graves. Afternoon back to hotel. DAY 3 : TORAJA FULLDAY TOUR After breakfast, fullday tour visiting SADDAN, the center of the traditional weaving mill. PALAWA, the oldest Toraja village which has marvelous buffaloes Horns in front of the traditional houses. RANTE BORI, the stones showing the existence of the funeral site of the clan. Lunch at local restaurant. After lunch visit LONDA, an ancient natural graves and row of puppets on the balcony. KETEKESU, the traditional Toraja village. Afternoon back to Hotel. DAY 4 : TORAJA – PENDOLO After breakfast at hotel, depart to PENDOLO, the Southern side of Lake POSO passing the border between South and Central Sulawesi, Javanese transmigrates, mountainous road via rain forest. Afternoon arrive in PENDOLO. Check in hotel for overnight. DAY 5 : PENDOLO – TENTENA After breakfast, visit BANCEA, the forest of the black orchid with Lake POSO as the background ,then by bus leave for TENTENA, Christian community in Central Sulawesi. Lunch at local restaurant. After lunch visit SULEWANA, terrace water fall. Afternoon check in Hotel for overnight. DAY 6 : TENTENA After breakfast, half day tour in Tentena, Rest of the day free at own .swimming, sun bathing and relaxing at the LAKE POSO, ( Optional Tour, cruising LAKE POSO is available by own account using motorized Boat exploring the virgin Area of the lake. DAY 7 : TENTENA – KOLONODALE After breakfast, Early morning leaving for KOLONODALE, a small port at the head of TOMORI BAY, crossing the mountain and beautiful savanna of TARIPA. Afternoon arrive in KOLONODALE, overnight at Simple Accommodation. DAY 8 : KOLONODALE-MOROWALI After breakfast, by motorized boat crossing the TOMORI Bay for about two hours to reach the bay, then two hours walk to the WANA VILLAGE, Bird watching is possible in the afternoon. Overnight at local WANA Guest house DAY 9 : MOROWALI RESERVE After simple breakfast, starting for four hours walk through the MOROWALI reserve to KAYU POLI. On the way witnessing the Orchid and the Maleo Bird along the MOROWALI river. Overnight at WANA guest house DAY 10 : MOROWALI RESERVE- KAYUPOLI After breakfast, continuing trekking through the forest and mountain, using traditional canoe exploring the lake.a good chance to see the shy ANOA, specific animals of Sulawesi. Afternoon arrive in KAYUPOLI. Simple Accommodation DAY 11 : KAYUPOLI – MUARA After breakfast, today starting climbing the mountainous area for about 5 hours witnessing the beautiful un touch panorama of TOMORI BAY from the top of the mountain, passing down to MUARA along the forest and rattan tree. Afternoon arrive in MUARA, overnight at simple WANA Guest House DAY 12 : MUARA – TENTENA After breakfast,, by motorized boat crossing the TOMORI BAY to see the archeological cave with the painting of the human on the cave.Back to Tentena. Afternoon arrive in Tentena. Check in Hotel for overnight. DAY 13 : TENTENA – PALU After breakfast, leaving Tentena for PALU the capital city of Central Sulawesi, passing the ebony handicraft, Afternoon arrive in PALU, check in hotel for overnight.(B,L,D) DAY 14 : TANJUNG KARANG RESORT After breakfast, fullday free at own leisure.. DAY 15 : PALU – DEPARTURE After breakfast, free program till time to be transferred to the airport for next destination.


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