Gunung Gede-Pangrango National Park, designated in 1980, is one of the first five national parks in Indonesia. However, its unique characteristics have made it a natural laboratory for researchers since long before this time.
In 1819, C.G.C Reinwardt was recorded as the first person to climb Gunung (Mount) Gede, followed by F.W Junghuhn (1839-1861), J.E Teysman (1839), A.R Wallace (1861), S.H Koorders (1890), M. Treub (1891), W.M van Leeuen (1911), and C.G.G.J. van Steenis in 1920 and 1952. They made a collection of plants which formed the basis for a book entitled "The Mountain Flora of Java", published in 1972.
Gunung Gede-Pangrango National Park represents a distinct diversity of ecosystems: a sub-montane ecosystem, a montane ecosystem, a sub-alpine ecosystem, a lake ecosystem, a marshland ecosystem, and a savanna ecosystem.
The sub-montane ecosystem is characterized by many large, tall trees like jamuju (Dacrycarpus imbricatus) and puspa (Schima wallichii). The sub-alpine ecosystem, meanwhile, is characterized by grassy meadows of Isachne pangerangensis, edelweiss flower (Anaphalis javanica), violet (Viola pilosa), and sentigi (Vaccinium varingiaefolium).
Among the endangered animal species that can be found in the Park are primate species which are now threatened with extinction such as the Javan gibbon (Hylobates moloch), Javan leaf monkey (Presbytis comata comata), ebony leaf monkey (Trachypithecus auratus auratus); panther (Panthera pardus), leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis javanensis), barking deer (Muntiacus muntjak muntjak), lesser Malay mouse deer (Tragulus javanicus javanicus), Asian wild dog (Cuon alpinus javanicus), southeast Asian porcupine (Hystrix brachyura brachyura), stink badger (Mydaus javanensis), and yellow-throated marten (Martes flavigula).
Gunung Gede-Pangrango is widely known for its wealth of bird species: 251 of the 450 species in Java inhabit this Park. Among these are endangered species like the Javan hawk eagle (Spizaetus bartelsi), and the owl (Otus angelinae).
UNESCO declared Gunung Gede-Pangrango National Park a Biosphere Reserve in 1977, and it is a Sister Park to Taman Negara Malaysia, under a cooperation signed in 1995 between Indonesia and Malaysia.
This Park is surrounded by ancient superstitions and beliefs. Legend has it that the spirits of Eyang Suryakencana and Prabu Siliwangi guard Mt. Gede to keep it from erupting. Even now, at certain times of the year, people flock to the caves around Mt. Gede to meditate or hold ritual ceremonies.
Biru Lake: a small lake, covering about five hectares, situated at 1,575 m asl. It is located 1.5 km from the Cibodas entrance gate. Its blue colour (and name) comes from a covering of blue algae.
Cibeureum Waterfall: 50 metres high, this waterfall is located 2.8 km from Cibodas and attracts a lot of visitors. Around the waterfall, it is possible to see a kind of red moss which is endemic to West Java.
Thermal springs: about 5.3 km, or a two-hour walk from Cibodas.
Kandang Batu and Kandang Badak: camping, and plant and animal observation. At an altitude of 2,220 m asl., this site is 7.8 km, or a three-to-five hour trip from Cibodas.
Summit and crater of Mt. Gede: a magnificent place to watch the sunrise or sunset; the towns of Cianjur, Sukabumi, and Bogor can be clearly seen, as well as unusual plants around the crater. It is also interesting from a geological point of view. At this peak, three active craters - Lanang, Ratu and Wadon - are united in a single complex, at an altitude of 2,958 m asl. The craters are 9.7 km, or a five-hour hike, from Cibodas.
Alun-alun Suryakencana (Suryakencana Meadow): a 50-hectare plain covered with edelweiss flowers. The meadow is situated at an altitude of 2,750 m asl., and is 11.8 km, or a six-hour hike, from Cibodas.
Mt. Putri and Selabintana: camping grounds which can accommodate 100 to 150 people.
Best time of year to visit:
June to September.
How to reach the Park:
Jakarta-Bogor-Cibodas, about 2.5 hours by car (100 km), or Bandung-Cipanas-Cibodas, about 2 hours by car (75 km).