Siberut Island in the Province of West Sumatra is separated from the mainland by the Mentawai Strait, at a distance of about 155 km from Padang where Siberut National Park is located on the island. Some 60% of the forest area is covered by Dipterocarpaceae primary forest, mixed primary forest, swamp forest, coastal forest and mangrove forest. The forest area of the Park is still relatively natural, with abundant large trees with an average height of 60 metres. The Park has four primate species which are found nowhere else in the world. They are the Mentawai gibbon (Hylobates klossii), Pagai pig-tailed macaque (Macaca pagensis), Mentawai leaf monkey (Presbytis potenziani . In addition, there are four endemic species of squirrel, 17 species of mammal and 130 species of bird, four of them endemic.
Siberut island, including Siberut National Park, has been declared by UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme as a Biosphere Reserve. Very few visitors walk through the inland parts of the Park; the main attraction so far has been the culture of the Mentawai people who live in and around the Park. The Mentawai people are among the many tribes in Indonesia who have preserved their very traditional way of life. Most of the people still adhere to animistic beliefs. Their social activities are centred around the Uma, a communal longhouse which may be occupied by 30 to 80 people.
Visiting Siberut National Park can be an unforgettable adventure, involving a combination of travelling along long rivers by boat, trekking along muddy tracks, enjoying the beauty of the tropical forest with glimpses of rare plants and animals, bathing in waterfalls, and meeting the indigenous people.
Interesting locations and Attractions: Madobak, Rokdok, Matotonan, Rorogot, Butui, Teteburuk, Selaoinan and Mailepet.
Exploring the forest, kayaking/canoeing, enjoying thermal springs, waterfalls, marine tours, observing plants and animals, and cultural visits (Uma and religious dances). Good beaches at Sagulubek and Masilok. Surfing and diving/snorkelling in the marine park or mangrove forest.
Cultural attractions outside the Park include the Gandang Tasa Festival in May and Tabuik Festival in June each year, both held in the city of Padang. Best time of year to visit is January to September.
How to reach the Park
The Park is located in Mentawaian Strait, about 155 km from Padang. The route from Padang (Muara Padang) to Muara Siberut/Muara Sikabaluan/Muara Saibi is served by ship. It departs regularly (3 times a week) from Muara Padang Port at night (19:00) and takes 10 hours of trip.
Minister of Forestry, SK No.407/Kpts-II/1993, A total area of 190,500 hectares.
Regency of Mentawai Island (Province of West Sumatra) Temperature 22° - 31° C Rainfall 2,900 - 3,700 mm/year Altitude 0 - 500 m asl. Geographical location 98°36’ - 99°03’ E; 1°05’ - 1°45’ S.
The tourism and adventure in the Siberut National Park involves a combination of boat traveling, trekking along the muddy tracks, enjoying the beauty of tropical forest including flora-fauna observation, bathing in waterfalls and observation of the indigenous people’s cultures.
Geology and Soil
Siberut is a sedimentary island dominated by relatively young pebbles, sediments and marble. There are some small areas consisting of conglomeration of the pra-Miocene era that contains sista (quartz), granite and small chalk, which may be formed in the Miocene era, and some volcanic rocks, which may come from volcano explosion in Sumatra in the Miocene era. However, most of the geological shapes wereoccurred in the Pliocene, Pleistocene and Holocene eras.
The Pleistocene era is noticed by the gradual shifting of non-volcanic island in the western Sumatra. However, Mentawai Island appears to have shifted in the different era compared with Nias and Enggano islands. Since the hills have the same height, Siberut Island may have shifted as a relatively flat land, although in several areas the sedimentary lands have turned and sunk vertically.
The geological process was continued with the sinking process and was occurred along the East coast as well as the inner valley of Mentawai Island. The result of sinking process is appeared as the irregular coastal line that has many bays, peninsula, small islands and reefs. Some even formed a “false barrier reef”.
In the contrary, the West coast is rather straight and resembles a line. The West coast is directly faced the Indonesian Ocean, has less reef and is hardly accessed.
Vibration and earthquake, which sometimes occurred, were always recorded. The last Epicenter happened in 1994, which was between Sipora Island and Sumatra in the Mentawai Strait. This activity indicated geological activities of shifting and burial. The earthquake may be followed by tsunami and tidal wave. As well, there are recorded many destructions in the east coastal area affected by tsunami in the beginning of this 20th century.
The topography of Siberut area varies from flat, swampy to hilly with a steep elevation. Most of the lowland is located in the Eastern parts and consist of peat, swamp, settlement and cultivation areas with the elevation ranged from 0 to 15%. The hilly area is located in the Westernpart with the elevation ranged from 40 to 75%, with the highest peak at 384 m asl.
The Siberut Island is characterized by hot and wet equatorial climate with high rainfall and short dry season. The average annual rainfall is 3,320 m/m. The relative humidity and temperatureare generally constant, with the humidity is between 91 - 95% and the temperatures is between 22 - 310C.
The Siberut has seven types of ecosystems with various flora and fauna species:
Dipterocarp Primary Forest
Dominated by some genera, including Dipterocarpus, Shorea, Vatica, Hopea, Palaquium and Hydnocarpus.
Mixed Primary Forest
The common families in the area include Euphorbiaceae, Myristicaceae, Dilleniaceae, Dipterocarpaceae and Fabaceae.
Dipterocarp Secondary Forest
Dominated by pioneer genera such as Macaranga, Trema and Neolamarckia (a regeneration from logged-over forest).
Freshwater Swamp Forest
Dominated by Terminalia phellocarpa, while the under-storey area is dominated by palm, rattan and fern.
Dominated by Rhizophora as the main genera which all spread over the island.
Sago Swamp Forest
It is dominated by two sago species: Metroxylon sago and Metroxylon rumphii.
The commonly found species are Casuarina equisetifolia, Barringtonia sp., Pandanus sp., and Hibiscus tiliaceus.
Estimated that around 15% of Siberut’s plants is endemic, such as Mesua cathairinae (Clusiaceae), Diospyros brevicalyx (Ebenaceae), Aporosa quadrangularis (Euphorbiaceae), Baccaurea dulcis (Euphorbiaceae), Drypetes subsymmetrica (Euphorbiaceae) and Horsfieldia macrothyrsa (Myristicaceae).
Fauna There are around 28 mammals species in which 65% of them are endemic at the genera level. The species are: bilou or mentawai gibbon (Hylobates klossii), joja or mentawai leaf monkey (Presbytis potenziani siberu), simakobu or pig-tailed snub-nosed monkey (Simias concolor siberu), bokoi or mentawai macaque (Macaca pagensis), sambar deer (Cervus unicolor equinus), and 4 species of endemic treeshrew.
Around 106 bird species are found in the National Park, with 12% of them (13 species) has sub species. Some of them are mentawai scops-owl (Otus mentawi), which is the only endemic bird species in the island, storm’s stork (Ciconia stormi), wallace’s hawk-eagle (Spizaetus nanus nanus), sumatran drongo (Dicrurus sumatranus), and large-green pigeon (Treron capellei).
There are 21 reptile species, such as anglehead lizard (Gonocephalus herveyi), olive tree skink (Dasia olivacea), banded malayan coral snake (Maticora intestinalis lineata), common mock viper (Psammodynastes pulverulentus), indonesian tree-viper (Trimeresurus hageni); siberut frog (Rana signata siberut) – endemic species,harlequin tree frog (Rhacophorus pardalis), kuhl’s creek frog (Limnonectes kuhlii), collett’s tree frog (Polypedates colletti),and saint andrew’s cross toad (Pelophryne brevipes).
Based on the research taken in 1999, there are54 insect genera identified including 11 families or 29,4% genera and 5,9% of world’s insect families in this island. The species includes Batocera thomsoni, Diatocera wallichi, Prothoe franck phameralis, and Delias hyparete hypopelia.
To get to the recreation objects, visitor may take speed boat or sampan, then go by foot through muddy tracks in the forest. During the trip the visitor can observe some flora and fauna that inhabit the forest. In Madobak village, visitor will also find the Ulukubuk waterfall, which is sacred for the local people.
The other common activity for Siberut’s visitors is surfing in Nyang-nyang and Karang Islands; as well, snorkeling, swimming, fishing and enjoying the beautiful white sandy beach.
A place for gathering and bird nesting is in Saplap Island that is located in Saliguma Village. This activity can also be done in the forests or along the river.
One of the Siberut’s attractions is observation of the unique primate species such as mentawai leaf monkey, pig-tailed snub-nosed monkey and mentawai macaque. The location for this activity is in the Intensive Utilization Zone of Siberut National Park that is located in Simabugai.
Canoeing and Kayaking
Not only sport, through this activity the visitors are also offered the beautiful view of forest and wildlife along the river.
The conditions of relatively good mangrove forests and the wildlife in it are another interesting objects to enjoy.
Education and Research
The biodiversity of endangered and endemic flora-fauna and the unique of Mentawainese’s cultures are interesting for research and education.
The cultural attraction
It is including the daily life of Mentawai people in their traditional house (Uma, Rusuk and Sapou). The visitor can observe the traditional activities of local communities such as sago making and cooking, hunting, poison making, tattoo, ‘kabit’ (traditional pants) making, and traditional ceremonies.