Mount Rinjani or Gunung Rinjani is an active volcano in Indonesia on the island of Lombok, Administratively the mountain is in the Regency of North Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara (Indonesian: Nusa Tenggara Barat, NTB).
It rises to 3,726 metres (12,224 ft), making it the second highest volcano in Indonesia, and similar in height to Mount Fuji, the third highest mountain of the Indonesian archipelago and the thirty ninth most prominent peak in the world.
The 6 km by 8.5 km oval-shaped caldera is filled partially by the crater lake known as Segara Anak (Child of the Sea) This lake is approximately 2000 metres above sea level and estimated at being around 200 metres deep, the caldera also contains hot springs.
The western half of the caldera contains a 230 metre-deep lake whose crescentic form results from growth of the post-caldera cone Barujari at the eastern end of the caldera.
The volcano and the caldera are protected by the Gunung Rinjani National Park established in 1997. Tourism is increasingly popular with trekkers able to visit the rim, make their way into the caldera or even to make the more arduous climb to the highest point, fatalities, however, are not uncommon. In July 2009 the summit route was closed due to volcanic activity at that time and subsequently reopened when the activity decreased. During early 2010 up to and including May 2010 access to Rinjani was at times again restricted due to volcanic activity.
The park is popular for mountain climbs and trekking and represents an important nature reserve and water catchement area. The park is officially 41,330 hectares within the park boundaries and includes a further 66,000 hectares of protected forest outside. The mountain and its satellites form the Mount Rinjani National Park (Taman Nasional Gunung Rinjani) – officially 41,000 hectares within the park boundaries and a further 66,000 hectares of protected forest outside. In 2008, the Indonesian government proposed to UNESCO that Mount Rinjani be one of the world’s official geoparks. If this was approved by UNESCO, Mount Rinjani would become the first such geological park in Indonesia.
It has been claimed that the preliminary documentation required for UNESCO registration has not received sufficient support from the Nusa Teggara Barat government offices. Among the requirements to become a geo-park sufficient information must be supplied to show that the location has sufficient and appropriate management, information services, access to educational instruction to facilitate “knowledge-based geotourism”, the implementation of a sustainable regional economy, biodiversity conservation, and to have established public access to the park area.
Mount Rinjani has obtained the World Legacy Award from Conservation International and Traveller (2004), and was a finalist for Tourism for Tomorrow Awards (2005 dan 2008) from the World Travel Tourism Council (WTTC).
Gunung Rinjani Observation Post Rinjani Sembalun is located in the village of Lawang, Sub Sembalun 12.5 km (4000 feet) northeast of G. Rinjani) in the Regency of East Lombok. Observers at this post monitor G.Rinjani, G.Barujari/G.Tenga within the Segara Anak Caldera.
The lower and mid levels of the mountain are quite heavily forested. Above the tree line though the slopes are barren and rugged scree slopes and volcanic rock. The views of the crater lake are quite breath-taking from the caldera rim, as is the sunrise. From the absolute peak you can see Bali to the west and Sumbawa to the east.
Flora and fauna
The lower and middle elevation slopes are densely forested with typical tropical species. Fig trees are especially apparent. Casuarina forest (cemara) takes over higher up and eventually these give way to an alpine flora above the treeline.
Lombok is east of the Wallacean Line and some Australian bird species are therefore apparent. These include a lot of Sulphur Crested Cockatoos and Green Hanging Parrots. Bird life is generally not easy to observe here though due to the density of the forest.
The familiar long-tailed grey macaque (the Bali temple monkey!) is common right up to the crater rim. Of much more interest is the rare ebony leaf monkey which inhabits these forests. Rusa deer and muntjacs are more often heard than seen.
Rinjani is best climbed during the April-November dry season. It is possible to climb during the rainy season as well but treks are often cancelled at short notice if the rain is heavy.
It gets very cold on the mountain above 2,000 metres and nears freezing at the summit. Warm clothing is an absolute must.
Most visitors arrive via the village of Senaru (600m), on the northern side of the mountain and thus closer to the main resort areas of the west coast including Senggigi. The other possible entry point is Sembalun Lawang (1,150m), on the eastern side, which is closer to the summit.
Both villages are accessed from the main north coast road.
Entry to the park costs Rp 150,000 per person. This fee is split up as follows: 13% to the national park authority, 62% to the Rinjani ecotourism trekking program and 25% for trek route maintenance etc.
Within the park the only way to get around is to hike. Porters can be arranged to carry your supplies.
What to See
- Segara Anak, the crater lake
- Aik Kalak hot springs, at the crater rim
- The Mulang Pakelem. This annual Hindu ceremony at the crater lake dates from the 18th century invasion of Lombok by Balinese from the kingdom of Karangasem and attracts hundreds of participants. The lake is sacred to Hindus and the sight of hundreds of white clad Hindu pilgrims sitting and praying here is a wonderfully uplifting experience.
In and around Sembalun Lawang you will have the opportunity to purchase unique and high quality hand woven cloth.
If you are trekking outside of an organised group, you should carry in all necessary food for your trek. Fresh fruit and high energy foods are especially appropriate. If you are planning to make the ascent to the absolute summit try to carry a special food item with you for celebrating your achievement of reaching the top.
Trekking packages usually include food which is carried and prepared by the porters.
There are simple restaurants at the lodges in Senaru and Sembalun Lawang.
If you are trekking independently, stock up with some liquids at Senaru or Sembalun Lawang. A flask of hot tea or coffee is very appropriate.
There are a lot of fresh springs on both routes and these determine the siting of the campsites. You therefore do not need to carry large quantities of water with you. The springs can run a little dry sometimes but all guides should know the status of each spring beforehand.
There is no lodging in the park itself, but some simple places to stay can be found at Senaru & Sembalun Lawang.
Tanjung on the nearby northwest coast has several more upmarket offerings, and both it and the Gili Islands are reasonably close to Mount Rinjani. Many visitors choose to stay in the Senggigi region and travel north to Mount Rinjani by road.
Accommodation for the Sembalun Lawang Route
Lembah Rinjani Homestay, Sembalun Lawang village, ? +62 852 39841709 (firstname.lastname@example.org). Ten double rooms all with cold water showers. Has a decent restaurant attached. Rp 175,000.
Camping is possible at designated rest shelter areas on the ascent routes, and at the crater rim.
This is a very active volcano. Always be aware of the current assessment of eruptive activity. Sources worth keeping an eye on include local media and The Smithsonian Institute’s weekly Volcanic Activity Report. Do not always take the word of a trek organiser as gospel on safety issues.
Rinjani is high enough that altitude sickness is a concern. Be aware of the symptoms and treatment.
It is also very cold up on the summit (4 to 5°C), so warm, windproof clothes are a must as are appropriate hiking boots and a head lamp. The sun can be very strong during the day and severe sunburn is a risk.
Make sure that your guide is carrying a radio with him and that it is fully charging and working. A test call to the trek centre is advisable. The trek centre has a satelite telephone and it can be used by visitors – ask to see the chart of charges.
- Back to Senggigi, Tanjung or Kuta for some well earned rest on the beach.
- Cross to the Gili Islands for a chill out and views of the huge mountain you just climbed.