Because of its easy access, the Mount Gede-Pangrango National Park with its spectacular panorama is a favourite site with visitors. Located in the province of West Java this Park encompasses the peaks of Mt. Gede, Mt. Pangrango. Around these peaks are tea plantations, recreation parks, waterfalls, hot springs, lakes and accommodation facilities within the park as around its periphery. The Park was declared nature conservation area in 1889, although prior to this the Cibodas Botanical Gardens was already established here in 1830, where cinchona (quinine) and coffee were first cultivated to become Java’s most prominent exports in the 19th century.
Most notable about the Gede-Pangrango Park are its three very distinct ecosystems: a sub-montane ecosystem (1,000 m to 1,500 m altitude), a montane ecosystem (1,500 m – 2,900 m) characterized by large tall trees, and a sub-alpine ecosystem (2,400 m. and higher), characterized by grassy meadows where the Java edelweiss grows in abundance. It also has a savanna as well as marshland ecosystems.
Edelweiss grow in a field known as the alun-alun Suryakencana, located to the north of Mt. Gede. It takes some six-hours hiking from Cibodas. The view from the Summit and crater of Mt. Gede is stunning both at sunrise or sunset.
There are four types of primates in this Park, including the Java Gibbon which is endemic to Java, the Surili which lives around the Cibodas waterfall but is rarely seen as it is shy, the long-tailed macaque monkeys and the Javan langur. There are also leopards, wild dogs and wild boars. The Park boasts a wide variety of bird species, 251 of the 450 species on Java inhabit this Park, including the Javan hawk eagle and the owl.
The Biru Lake, situated at 1,575 m located at 1.5 km from the entrance at Cibodas is a favourite picnic spot. The blue colour comes from the a blue algae with which this lake is covered.
The 50 m high Cibeureum Waterfall, where three separate streams plunge over a cliff, is located 2.8 km. from Cibodas. Here is a red moss that is endemic to West Java. Watch Arjuna butterflies sip salty mud at the water’s edge. Thermal springs are found around two-hours hike from Cibodas, while camping grounds and accommodation can be found at Mt. Putri and Selabintana.
In 1977 UNESCO declared the Gunung Gede-Pangrango National Park a Biosphere Reserve.
Today the Gunung Gede-Pangrango National Park covers 15,196 hectares that include Cibodas, Cimungkat, the Gunung Gede-Pangrango Reserve, the Situgunung recreation area, and the forests on the slopes centered on two volcanoes. These are Mt. Gede, (2,958m ) with its gaping crater and fumaroles, and Mt. Pangrango (3,019 m). The two are connected by a high saddle at 2,500 m above sea level.
The scenic and fertile mountain stretch between the Salak, Gede and Pangrango volcanoes near the town of Bogor has long been the favored resort since Dutch colonial times. Puncak or the Peak is the highest point on this scenic route that takes one from the capital city, Jakarta to Bandung, before the road slopes down into the interior of West Java. Here are swathes of neat tea plantations stretching as far as the eyes can see.
From Puncak you have a grand panoramic view on the valleys below with mountain peaks on the side. And what can be a more thrilling experience with your adrenaline rising than majestically gliding down amidst this grand panorama.
And, indeed, today, Puncak has become the favored spot for the paragliding sport with fans coming from all ages.
Paragliding is the recreational and competitive adventure sport of flying paragliders, which are lightweight, free-flying, foot-launched glider aircraft with no rigid primary structure and no engines whatsoever. The pilot sits in a harness suspended below a fabric wing that consists of a large number of interconnected baffled cells. The wing-shaped canopy is maintained by suspension lines, while the pressure of air enters vents in the front of the wing with the aerodynamic forces of air flowing over its outer canopy.
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