TANGKOKO NATIONAL PARK TOUR
Located at the foot of Dua Saudara Mountain, the Tangkoko national nature reserve is comprised of rolling hills and valleys with a variety of hardwood trees and unusual plant life. It offers a suitable protective environment helping prevent animals from extinction.
Tangkoko is located in northern Bitung, near Lembeh Straits, and takes two hours to reach from Bitung or Manado. Please note that the road to Tangkoko is somewhat difficult and visitors are recommended to visit with a local tour operators to ensure a safe journey.
The reserve is located next to Batuputih village, and this offers the only accommodation option of ‘Losmen’s’ or simple guesthouse.
Animal life is also quite varied, and one can often view Tarsius Spectrum, the world’s smallest primate that weighs 200g, is 15cm long or the Black Macaque Nigra, a black monkey, both are only found in North Sulawesi. Hornbill birds, wild pigs and Couscous are also found here.
All visitors are required to hire a local experienced guide who can assist in spotting the wildlife. The best times for spotting wildlife is in the early morning or late afternoon, and so treks are normally organized for 4/5am and 4/5pm.
VOLCANOES AND THE HIGHLANDS AROUND MANADO
The Minahasa Highlands are situated above Manado on a plateau 700 m above sea level, with magnificent countryside with cool mountainous air. It is about an hour’s drive from Manado, and offering some amazing views of Manado City on the journey, as well as of Bunaken Island. The highlands cover an area of approximately 418,862 Ha, with a population of 700,000+ people; the capital is Tondano, a town close to Lake Tondano. The word Minahasa means unification of the traditional tribes, and was derived from the word esa or one. The Minahasan people believe the legend that they are descendants of Toar and Lumimuut, and the reminders of this time long ago are the Waruga (stone graves).
The main village in the highlands that everyone aims for is Tomohon. It is known as the Flower City, and there are many Flower Markets in the surrounding area. Two active volcanoes surround Tomohon, Mt.Mahawu and Mt.Lokon (below). They offer some good climbs, suitable for most people, of only one or two hours.
Other highlights of Tomohon include a Chinese Pagoda, and a Traditional Jungle Market known for Minahasan meat such as Rats, Wild Pigs, Snake, and Dogs, along with spices, fruits, vegetables and more.
AROUND TOMOHON & THE MINAHASA HIGHLANDS
Linow Lake is a unique sulfuric crater lake (colorful lake) with hot gas and bubbles coming out from under the ground.
Woloan village, where traditional Minahasan wooden houses are made, disassembled and sold all over the country.
Lake Tondano has floating restaurants that serve freshwater fish.
Pulutan village is known for making local pottery.
MORE AROUND MINAHASA HIGHLANDS
KALI WATERFALL & ANCIENT WARUGA
Kali waterfall is located in Kali Village, Pineleng this natural 60m waterfall is an ideal place to enjoy nature and fresh water pools at the base of the falls.
The ancient Waruga – stone graves of the Minahasan people are extremely interesting. 144 stone graves were built to house remains in the sitting position. The pre-Christian belief was that the babies were born in the sitting position in the mother’s womb, and it is in this position that humans must pass on to eternity. The engravings on the headstones depict the cause of death, the deceased’s hobby, character or occupation, etc. There is a small shop in front of the gate and a small donation is suggested.
Other sites include Kawangkoan village that is famous for producing peanuts, and the Japanese caves located alongside the road between the villages of Kiawa and Kawangkoan that were built by the Japanese during the World War II primarily for storage.