Bantimurung

Bantimurung, about 45km from Makassar, is a place famous for its waterfall, tropical rain forest and butterflies. The location was first discovered by a Bugis named Karaeng Simbang.

The name Bantimurung originated from two Bugis words “benti”, which means water and “merrung” which means thundering sound. Literally, this refers to the sound of the cascading falls there. However it also connotes “getting rid of sadness”. While one doesn’t have to be melancholy to go there, a trip to Bantimurung might result in joy for nature lovers.

The journey from Makassar to Bantimurung, is marked by padis, rivers, and karst mountains. Upon arrival, the visitor will be greeted by green forests and cool fresh air.

At Bantimurung, visitors may catch a glimpse of creatures such as the black monkey or macaca maura, cuscus, hornbill, parrot. Above all, Bantimurung is renowned for its myriad bright and colorful butterflies, which tend to gravitate near the falls.

The waterfall, about 20 meters wide and 15 meters tall, is located at valley of a limestone hill that’s covered with thick vegetation. The fall is active all the year, even during dry season. Visitors can either swim or, for those feeling adventurous, climb up the hill to get to the turquoise lake, to be rewarded with the startling view of multi-colored specks of butterflies fluttering above the blue water surface.

More than a hundred years ago, an English naturalist named Alfred Russel Wallace spent time in Bantimurung researching the butterflies. He documented as many as 250 species then inhabiting there. Some included rare species like the Papillo Androcoles, a large sparrow-tailed butterfly and also the Troides hypolitus, Troides Helena, Troides halipron, and Chetosia myrina. In his book, Archipelago Malay, Russel even declared Bantimurung as the Kingdom of Butterflies. Since then, recent studies conducted have indicated a sad and sharp decline in the number of butterfly species to 108. Local authorities, in order to stem further decline, have taken steps to protect the area and also educate the locals against poaching.

Besides butterflies, Bantimurung also features two caves, located near the falls. They are named Goa Mimpi “Dream Cave” and Goa Batu “Rock Cave”. Walk on in and behold the beautiful stalagmites and stalactites that glitter when exposed to light.

To enter Bantimurung visitor will need to pay a fee of US$ 1 per person.Public facilities like toilets and shelters have since been built by the park management for visitors convenience. Souvenir shops offer crafts with butterfly motifs and themes.

Getting there is convenient as public transport to and from Bantimurung is regular and frequent during daytime. For those who using public transport, first take a minibus from Makassar to Maros, a regency outside of Makassar for transit. And then take another public bus from Maros to Bantimurung. The latter journey takes about 30 minutes.

Photo courtesy of  mpaku2flickr

Filed Under: Parks and Nature Reserves

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