The north of Sulawesi, formerly known as Celebes, is mainly known for its dive sites, nature parks and volcanic mountains. But it might be one of Indonesia’s best kept secrets that the rainforests at Sulawesi are home to some of the most unique animals on earth, including a tiny monkey which is considered to be the mammal with the biggest eyes in the world. In this blog I would like to introduce the Tangkoko Batuangus Nature Reserve.
When I worked as a volunteer at the Tasikoki Wildlife Rescue Centre back in 2013, I had the pleasure of visiting the Tangkoko Nature Reserve twice. A two-hours drive from North-Sulawesi’s capital Manado, Tangkoko covers an area of 8,700 hectares and includes three mountains.
When visiting, it is required to enter the park under supervision of a local guide/ranger. This is due to the fact that the animals are roaming freely and the guides know how to observe the animals without disturbing or bothering them. You can either book a guide at your guest house in advance or hire a guide at the entrance of the park.
I mainly went to Tangkoko to spot the black macaque monkey’s in the wild as some groups of them were successfully rehabilitated an released by Tasikoki Wildlife Rescue. As a big bonus, I was absolutely blown away by the beauty and the length of the tropical trees that seemed to be endless.
The black Celebes crested macaque monkey is a critically endangered species, mainly due to the fact that the local communities think of them as pests and hunt them down for bush meat. Luckily, at Tangkoko these macaques are relatively safe and able to move freely through the forests every day. Without a doubt, you will get acquainted with one of the groups during you visit; a unique chance to see these animals in the wild.
I was lucky enough to spot a rare Tarsier; one of the smallest species of monkey’s in the world which is simultaneously the land mammal with the largest eyes on earth. As the Tarsiers are active at night, they are quite shy and tend to hide during daytime. But most guides know where to find them, offering you a chance to observe the animals from up close.
Other inhabitants of Tangkoko include the Sulawesi bear cuscus and the red-knobbed hornbill. It won’t come as a surprise that, along with the black macaque and the Tarsier, those species are critically endangered – mainly due to habitat destruction and a lack of awareness at local communities. However, this is a good reason to visit national parks like these as in this case, tourism is a key enabler of the livelihoods of the locals and with that, the main enabler of the Tangkoko Nature Reserve.
Combine your trip to Tangkoko with a day visit to Tasikoki Wildlife Rescue Centre. Make sure to get in touch in advance to book your visit and/or your stay. Read the blog to learn more about Tasikoki.
You can also opt to pay a visit to Bunaken Island, a national marine park in front of the Manado capital. Read more about Bunaken Island in my blog.
Local guides/rangers currently charge Rp. 200,000 (13 EUR) per person for a morning hike of 4 hours and Rp. 100,000 (6,50 EUR) for an evening hike of 2 hours. The entrance fee to the park is Rp. 100,000 for foreigners.
Hotels & Transport
Near to Tangkoko are a variety of small (eco) guest houses available that enables the local community benefits from your stay. From the hotel, it is easy to arrange a guide that will accompany you during your tour at Tangkoko. You can also ask your hotel for transport from and to the Manado airport.
- At Tangkoko Hill Cottage and Resto you will find simple but spacious rooms. Get in touch via the website to learn more about the rates.
- Another fine option is Tangkoko guesthouse, a small guesthouse with 8 guest rooms starting from IDR 300.000 or 20 EUR per night.
- Tangkoko Ranger Homestay is a guesthouse near to the park entrance, starting at 170.000 IDR or 11 EUR per night.