General Berbak National Park is located on the east coast of Sumatra, in Jambi province, and is one of two Ramsar sites yet established in Indonesia. The park comprises an area of 162,500 ha. of partly inaccessible peat swamp forest with some freshwater swamps. There are small degrade mangrove clumps along its adjacent coast. Most of the coastline lies outside the park but within the proposed buffer zone. The shallow muddy Berbak coastline is a very important feeding site for migrating waders and other shore birds particularly during the months October to March. The Air Hitam river, and its tributaries Simpang Gadja, Simpang Melaka and Simpang Kubu, flow through the area, while the River Benuh forms the site’s southern boundary. The rivers are oligotrophic, draining low-mineral peat. In brackish conditions near the coast, river banks are dominated by a 5 to 50m-wide belt of Nypa fruticans. As salinity decreases, the nypa fringe give way to a zone of Pandanus tectorius. This occurs 8-10km upstream, giving some indication of saline penetration on this flat alluvial plain. Riverine forest is often locally dominated by an association of the poisonous rengas tree Gluta renghas and Barringtonia spp. Within the peat swamp forest the low-sediment, black water rivers, have the appearance of strong tea. Both the colour and high acidity (pH3-4) result from the leaching of tannins and organic acids from the peat. Large areas of the park are inaccessible due to forest flooding, making Berbak’s undisturbed peat swamp forest an important refuge for many animals including endangered species. Berbak is one of the most important reserves for tiger (estimate +20 individuals) and tapir in Indonesia. Its avifauna is very rich; MacKinnon (1993, Birds of Borneo, Sumatra, Java and Bali) lists 245 recorded bird species. These include the very rare white-winged wood duck, which, with local knowledge, is quite easy to see around Air Hitam Dalam with nine of the ten hornbills found on Sumatra represented. The park also supports more than 150 species of tree and at least 13 species of palm, making it the most palm-rich swamp yet recorded. Twenty or so year’s ago Berbak swamps were inhabited by approximately 150 indigenous people of the nomadic Kubu tribe. However, it is now likely that they have gone from the area. The coastal fishing villages today largely consist of Bugis from Sulawesi who settled in the 1950s and 60s. Inland riverine villages along the Batanghari River are largely Melayu but also have immigrants from Java and West Sumatra. Access The national park is a wetland wilderness primarily set up for conservation. Visitors are welcome providing they register and follow a few simple rules intended to prevent damage and increase visitor safety. Registration A PHPA permit is obligatory and can be obtained from the park headquarters in Jambi city. In addition, researchers needs to get permission from LIPI in Bogor before they come to Indonesia. The travel centre in the Novotel, Jambi City can contact the National Park Authority for you and provide you with further information. Alternatively, you can go to the National Park Offices in Jambi City with your passport or ID details (The park address is given below, ask a taxi driver to take you next door to Bank Exim). It is best to sort out the administration a few days in advance. Transport From Jambi City the park is a 2-hour boat journey along the Batanghari River. Most visitors, however, take a 1-hour car trip to the ancient Sriwijayan river port of Suak Kandis, established around 1,500 years ago. From there, hire a speed boat to the Air Hitam Dalam River. The river journey takes about 45 minutes. (Ask the boat driver to stop off at the 400-year old grave of Rang Kayo Hitam, en route.) Safety and Enjoyment Unless you are very experienced, take a park officer with you from the Suak Kandis Park Information Centre. This is usually insisted on. Your biggest danger is getting lost on foot, so do not go beyond calling distance of your boat. Take sunblock and insect repellent. Do not use matches in the park, as there is a serious risk of peat fires in the dry season. For a longer stay of a few days, necessary to see the coastal area, take a speed boat from Suak Kandis to the coastal market town of Nipah Panjang (1.5 hours). From there hire a speed boat to Desa Air Hitam Laut. This is a major village located on the main coastal river entrance into the park. It can be reached in approximately four hours, although your travel time may double during the wet season (October to March), when waves are large and dangerous enough to swamp small speed boats. However, this is also the best time to see the large flocks of waders. Usually the village head can find a basic place for you to sleep. Then, next day travel down the coast to the Sungai Cemara mud flats. (Current rate to hire speed boat Rp 150,000/day, fuel extra). Accommodation Nipah Panjang has very rough “hotel” which is not to everyone’s taste. You could get clean basic “homestay” accommodation in villages, such as at Simpang Datuk or Sungai Lokan, located at the northern tip of the park. Alternatively, with permission, take food and bedding and sleep in one of the park’s patrol posts. Jambi offers a very wide range of hotels. The three top of the range are Novotel, Abadi – both central and in international style – and the new Tepian Ratu Hotel – a little out of the town centre and built in Indonesian style. All are very good. Due to the devaluation of the Indonesian Rupiah, at around $15 a night, they are exceptional value. It is usually not necessary to make reservations. Other nearby sites of interest If you come to Jambi town, visit the traditional batik making centre over the river in Sebrang and take a short car or river trip to the nearby 14th century temple complex of Muara Jambi. Jambi Province has been designated Indonesia “Ecotourism Province”. In contrast to the coastal swamplands of Berbak, also try visit the mountains of Kerici-Seblat National Park, about 8-10 hours away by car. Addresses * National Park Office is at Jl. Sri Soedewi, no 4, Telanaipura, Jambi. Tel: [+62] (0)251 60251 * Wetlands International in Bogor have close links with the National Park. Tel/Fax [+62] (0)251 325755 Email:firstname.lastname@example.org Hotel Reservations * Abadi: [+62] (0)741 25600 * Novotel: [+62] (0)741 27208 Email: email@example.com * Tepian Ratu: [+62] (0)741 668888 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Born in the Netherlands on 23-04-1940 and passed away in Bali on 25-05-2015. Farelli was the pseudonym of a remarkable man who was infused with an obsessive desire to create things that did not yet exist. Born in the Netherlands in 1940 Dolf Versteegh left his home country in 1990 in order to start a new life on the Island of Bali. Without any formal education he reinvented himself as an architect, as a designer of furniture, as a sculptor and as a writer.
As a teenager Dolf spent only three years in High School but he kept studying history and the natural world all his life and during his last 25 years on Bali he revealed himself not only as versatile artist but also as a formidable scholar of biology.
Farelli was a prolific creator of web content and what he has left behind will remain standing as a great monument to his creative spirit, his ingenuity and his never-ending search for knowledge.