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In 1857, leading British naturalist, Alfred Russell Wallace discovered wonders beyond his imagination as he travelled into the interior of South Sulawesi, Indonesia. He found himself surrounded by thousands of enchanting butterflies of various sizes and colors. Fascinated by the scene, he dubbed the area “the Kingdom of Butterflies” and later spent most of his life in this region to enjoy and examine the 150 species of butterflies not found elsewhere. Today the area is known as the Bantimurung Bulusaraung National Park, which is not only the scene of butterflies but also of magnificent caves and a stunning waterfall.
Located in the Maros regency in the province of South Sulawesi, the Bantimurung Bulusaraung National Park is a mere 50Km from Makassar or 20Km from the Sultan Hasanuddin international airport.
The Bantimurung National Park has a total area of approximately 43,750 hectares and is divided into three major types of ecosystems, namely the karst ecosystems, a lowland forest ecosystem, and a lower montane forest ecosystem. The valleys of limestone hills and steep karts walls with tropical vegetation have made Bantimurung an ideal habitat for various rare and endemic species of butterflies, birds and insects.
Although there are not as many butterflies today as there were during Wallace’s expedition, visitors can still observe the wide variety of butterflidx within the Butterfly Conservation Captivity managed by the Center for Butterfly Breeding. Among various species of butterflies found here are: the Troides halipron, Papiliio Pofites, Papiliio Satapses, Papiliio blumei and Graphium androcles. One of the rarest and biggest butterflies of the world, the papillo androcoles are also found in this National Park. This unique species has the tail similar to swallows. Within the national park, visitors can also find a butterfly museum which houses thousands of unique and rare butterflies that have and still inhabit the area. Among other fauna found in the area are: the Kuskus (Phalanger celebencis), Tarsiers (Tarsius sp.), Monkeys (Macaca Maura), hornbills (Ryticeros cassidix, Peneloppides exahartus), and Weasels (Macrogofidia mussenbraecki).
By the butterfly center, the fascinating Bantimurung waterfall draws visitors with its powerful rush of water and refreshing atmosphere. This is a favorite holiday destinaton especially on weekends.
The word Bantimurung itself is derived from two Bugis words: Benti meaning water, and Merrung meaning roaring. Therefore meaning roaring waters. Others also suggest that the name Bantimurung comes from the words Banting Murung or smashing one’s gloom, meaning that here visitors can release their sadness or depressing thoughts through refreshing nature.
With a height of 15 meters and a 20 meters width, the Bantimurung waterfall can only be described as one of nature’s finest artwork, where waters rush down through its multi levels rocky streams, decorated by colorful surroundings.
The hills of Bantimurung-Bulusaurung National Park also hold wonders in some of its astonishing caves. The most notable of these caves are the Goa Mimpi (dream caves) and Goa Batu (the Stone Cave). Inside these caves, visitors can marvel through their interiors filled with fascinating stalactites and stalagmites. The dreamlike crystal clear stalactites and stalagmites earned the cave its popular name, the dream cave or Goa Mimpi. Among these caves are found prehistoric “hand stencils”, similar to the rock art of Australia.
Hiking through 10 meters ascending stairs, visitors can discover another amazing cave, the Stone cave, or Gua Batu. Aside from offering hiking challenges, Goa Batu also present enchanting sceneries of small waterfall, and a 30 meters long intriguing cave.
Official website: http://www.tn-babul.org/
Located only 20 Km from Hasanuddin Airport, the national park can be reached from the airport by local public transportation called pete-pete for about 30 minutes. The pete-pete will charge about IDR 5.000. If you travel from Makassar, you can catch a public bus or DAMRI, from the Makassar Mall in the direction of Maros for about one hour and costs IDR8.500. From Maros, take the same pete-pete that also goes to the airport.