Beautiful Seasonal Lake at Sentarum Lake National Park

Sentarum Lake National Park is one of Indonesia’s national parks on the island of Borneo (Kalimantan). This 132,000 hectare area is precisely located in Kapuas Hulu Regency, West Kalimantan. The Sentarum Lake National Park area is traversed by the Kapuas River. The area around this longest river in Indonesia has a very original ecosystem and is a habitat for various flora and fauna, including several endangered species.


Moreover, The Lake Sentarum National Park natural charm is no less beautiful than other national parks in Indonesia, because it is surrounded by rows of hills. Sentarum Lake National Park is a Nature Conservation Area that can be used for research, cultural education, cultivation, tourism and recreation purposes.


Sentarum Lake National Park has been listed in the Heart of Borneo (HoB) initiative which was declared in 2007. HoB is an initiative of three countries, which are Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam to manage highland tropical forest areas in Borneo based on the principles of conservation and sustainable development.



Sentarum Lake National Park Location


lake sentarum national park location

Credit: Dream Indonesia


Sentarum National Park administratively is located in Kapuas Hulu district, West Kalimantan Province. The distance of this national park from the largest city in West Kalimantan, Pontianak, is 700 km. The area of Lake Sentarum National Park covers 7 districts, which are Batang Lupar, Badau, Embau, Bunut Hilir, Suhaid, Selimbau and Semitau.


The topography forms are from flat, wavy to hilly. Most of them are located in flat basins, as well as floodplain areas surrounded by mountains, such as the Lanjak Mountains to the North, the Muller Mountains in the East, the Madi Plateau in the South and the Kelingkang Mountains to the West.



Habitat Type of Sentarum Lake National Park


Habitat Type of Sentarum Lake National Park

Credit: Get Lost ID


The Indonesian Institute of Sciences categorizes the habitat types in the Lake Sentarum National Park area based on the knowledge of the surrounding community, which are:


1. Dwarf Swamp Forest
Its vegetation characteristics consist of trees 5 to 8 meters tall and inundated by 8 to 11 months in a year. Several types of plants that live in this area are Putat (Baringtonia acutangula), and Kebesi (Memecylon edule), Mentagis (Ixora mentangis), and Kayu Tahun (Carallia bracteata).


2. Reed Forest
This forest is also called the stunded swamp forest where dwarf plants grow as high as 10 to 15 meters. This area is submerged in water as high as 3 to 4 meters for 4 to 7 months so that the trees that are visible are only the crowns. The vegetation that dominates is Kamsia which is overgrown with epiphytes, Menungau (Vatica Menungau), Kenarin (Diospyros coriacea), and Menungau (Vatica Menungau).


3. Pepah Forest / Upright Swamp Forest / High Swamp Forest
This area is covered with relatively high vegetation, between 25 and 35 meters. When there is an overflow of water or a flood, there will be a puddle of 1 to 3 meters for 2 to 4 months. Examples of existing plants are emang, melaban and kelansau trees.


4. Edge Forest / Riparian Forest
This type of forest is located on the edge of a large river. Because of its location, standing water can reach 6 months. Examples of vegetation that grow in this area are red rengas (Gluta renghas) and tembesu (Fagrarea fagrans).


5. Peat Swamp Forest
Peat swamp is a type of ecosystem that is located in a rather high area and experiences inundation for 1 to 4 months every year, but the puddle is quite shallow, which is less than 1.5 meters. The species of plants in this region are Kapur (Dryobalanops abnormis), Bintangur (Callophylum spp.) and Terindak (Shorea seminis).


6. Lowland Hill Forest
Some of the plant species in this area come from the Dipterocarpaceae family, such as tengkawang rambai (Shorea smithiana), resak (Vatica micrantha), keruing (Dipterocarpus retusus) and coconut (Dipterocarpus spp).


7. Seashell Forest / Heath Forest
Shell forest is a forest that is located on extreme or vulnerable land, and is very sensitive to disturbances such as forest fires. The plants in this forest depend on humus on the forest floor which is very thin, so they grow stunted with thin stems.



Flora & Fauna of Lake Sentarum National Park


Flora and Fauna of Lake Sentarum National Park

Credit: Panda ORG


The Danau Sentarum National Park area has an abundance of flora and fauna. Being in the lake area makes the diversity of the species more and more. Ranging from familiar species to endangered species can be found in this area.


1. Flora
It is known that there are about 675 species of flora that grow in this national park area. The flora is diverse, ranging from rare species to protected species. The types of flora in this area can be distinguished based on the existing forest types.

The flora that dominates the Putat Swamp Forest are shrubs and dwarf trees that are always inundated with water. The tree height ranges from 5 to 8 meters. Several types of flora here are the belantik (Baccaurea bracteata), sieving (Croton sp), putat (Barringtonia acutangula), pungu (Creteva religiosa), mackerel (Eugenia spp.), Years (Garcinia sp), and mentangis (Randia sp).


2. Fauna
There are many types of fauna that live in this national park area. Starting from the types of fish and reptiles, mammals to birds. Some of them are wild, endemic, rare and endangered species.

There are two types of fishes that can be found in this national park, those that can be consumed and freshwater fish. There are 265 species of freshwater fishes that have been identified, such as tapah fish (Wallago leeri) and linut fish (Sundasalax cf. mixrops).

Meanwhile, some types of fish that can be consumed include jelawat fish (Leptobarbus hoeveni Blkr), lais, belida, toman fish, and catfish. There are also ornamental fish such as the super red siluk fish which is commonly referred to as the super red arowana (Scleropages formosus) which is an endangered species and has a habitat in this national park area.



Sentarum Lake National Park Tourism Activities and Destinations


Sentarum Lake National Park Tourism Activities

Credit: Bisnis Wisata


There are lots of activities tourists can do in Lake Sentarum National Park area. Starting from simply observing the beauty of flora and fauna, to visiting various tourist spots that offer stunning panoramas.


1. The charm of Lake Sentarum
In accordance with the name of this national park, Danau Sentarum has become such an attractive icon. Lake water in wetlands and tropical forests is reddish black because it contains tannins that come from the surrounding peat forests. The depth of this beautiful lake when the tide reaches 6 to 15 meters. The water is reddish brown due to tannin acid from the trees and leaves rot in the water. Meanwhile, at low tide, this lake only leaves a few water points and becomes a source of life for the animals that live behind the bush.


2. Laboratory in Bukit Tekenang
This location is a paradise for visitors who have an interest in getting to know more about Lake Sentarum National Park. Visitors can conduct research on various natural resources in this national park.


3. Bukit Lanjak and Nanga Keneleng
This national park is indeed a paradise for various types of animals. One of them is the various types of birds that can be found in this area. For visitors who have strong interest in birds, Bukit Lanjak and Nanga Keneleng are the right tourist destinations. Both places have the best spots to observe the charm of various types of birds in Lake Sentarum.



Sentarum Lake Community


sentarum lake community

Credit: Geopark Langit Itera


Most of the people living in the vicinity of Lake Sentarum National Park are Malays and Dayaks. The two ethnic groups live in harmony and mutually protect the preservation of the national park.


1. Malay Society
It is estimated that before the 18th century there were more than 45 permanent hamlets and ten seasonal hamlets around the national park area. Meanwhile, according to royal history, this area includes at least five kingdoms.


The Malay tribe in this area can be distinguished based on their residence, namely the Malay with the traditional lanting house (floating house), the tall house (tall stick house), and the boat house (kelotok).


The majority of the Malay population works as fishermen who still use traditional fishing tools, such as nets, trawls, sentaban or fish traps, cultivating karamba fish and collecting ornamental fish in the lake area.


Apart from fishermen, there are also those who work as farmers of wild honey bees (Apis dorsata) and have been practiced from generation to generation for hundreds of years.



2. Dayak Society
Apart from the Malay community, the Sentarum Lake National Park border area is also inhabited by people from the Iban, Kantuk and Embaloh Dayak tribes. Most of them work as field farmers, hunting, managing rubber plantations and fruit farmers.


Meanwhile, residents who live near the headwaters of rivers or lakes usually work as field farmers, catch fish and hunt turtles. The Dayak people live in betang houses or long houses and a small number build separate small houses.