Tanjung Puting National Park is Indonesia’s principal orang-utan natural habitat, conservation and research centre located on the southwestern part of Central Kalimantan. The park was approved a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve status in 1977. In 1982 it became a National Park covering a total area of 415,040 hectares, and a sister park of neighbouring Malaysia. With four research centres onsite, the park is managed by the Indonesian Directorate General of Forest Protection and Nature Conservation.
Today the park is a popular ecotourism destination, with various river cruises and boat tours taking visitors to view the rich wildlife and to pay a visit to the research centres to see how the efforts are carried about.
Highlights and Features
The vast natural habitat is dominated by lowland forest trees such as rattan, the jelutong (Dyera costulata), ramin (Gonystylus bancanus), and the meranti tree (Shorea sp.). Endemic and protected animals within the park’s grounds besides the orang-utans include bekantan or proboscis monkeys (Nasalis larvatus), red monkeys (Presbytis rubicunda rubida), sun bears (Helarctos malayanus euryspilus), the kancil or lesser mouse deer (Tragulus javanicus klossi), clouded leopards (Neofelis nebulosa), and leopard cats (Prionailurus bengalensis borneoensis).
It is also home to various reptiles, including crocodiles, monitors, pythons, as well as a natural habitat for exotic birds, including hornbills and kingfishers.
Primate rehabilitation centres include Tanjung Harapan (Cape of Good Hope), Pondok Tanggui and Camp Leakey. Tanjung Harapan is located in a lowland jungle and features a guesthouse, an information centre and a forest trail. Pondok Tanggui features an orang-utan watch post which keeps human contact to a minimum. Camp Leakey, established in 1971, is located in a primary forest and is home to tame and wild orang-utans.
Good to Know
The main reason to visit Tanjung Puting is the wilderness... and of course, the wildlife. Boat tours and cruising down the rivers of Kalimantan in general offers amazing views of these animals in their natural habitats. The early mornings and the late afternoons when the skies glow with gold (and are perfect for telephotos) are the best– and provide the best chances of spotting the animals.
- Location: Tanjung Puting headland, southern coast of Central Kalimantan
- Remarks: Best time to visit is from June to September
- How to get there: by air, Jakarta-Semarang-Pangkalan Bun. By sea, Semarang-Pangkalan Bun. Proceed by land, from Pangkalan Bun to Kumai for an approximate 8km, then to Tanjung Harapan by river boat for approximately two hours, or Kumai-Natai Lengkuas for four-five hours. Via fast boat from Kumai to Tanjung Harapan for an hour, from Kumai to Camp Leakey for two hours, and from Kumai to Natai Lengkuas for two hours.