Take a Walk on the Wild Side: Tangkoko Nature Reserve

Tangkoko National Park

The fertile, lush forest of Tangkoko is located at the foot of the Dua Saudara Mountain and is home to Sulawesi’s most impressive wildlife and bird species. Tangkoko is one of the oldest nature reserves in Indonesia and it covers almost 9000 hectares of rainforest. The rolling hills and valleys with their dense carpet of tropical trees and exotic fauna are where you’ll find the iconic tarsier monkeys and large troops of the endemic Sulawesi crested black macaque. Observing these primates while they roam freely, play,  groom and nurse their young in their natural environment is a very special experience for any nature enthusiast.

Primates are not the only inhabitants of the forest. The varied and vibrant tree canopy supports a plethora of bird species including knobbed hornbills, kingfishers, Sulawesi myna, lorikeets and maleo birds. The Sulawesi bear cuscus, a type of tree dwelling marsupial, is another endemic species which can be observed as it moves sloth-like through the greenery.

Tarsier monkey
The tarsier is the world's smallest primate species and the provincial mascot of North Sulawesi

An array of butterflies live in the park as well as a multitude of lizard and amphibian dwellers. The brightly colored Forester Moth is one of the most eye catching of all buttefly species which we regularly see during our walks through the park.

Small lizards can also be see in the trees and underfoot as well as larger monitor lizards which are often spotted warming themselves in the sun. One of the most unique reptiles found in the park is the Draco flying lizard (Draco spilonotus), or the ‘Sulawesi Lined Gliding Lizard’. This unusual species has patagiums (membranes or wing-like folds of skin between the forelimbs and hind limbs) on each side that enable it to launch itself and ‘glide’ from tree to tree.

Tangkoko flying lizard

Our trip to Tangkoko includes visiting the park, light trekking through the forest and countless wildlife encounters and nature photography opportunities. Tangkoko is around a 1.5 hour drive from Lembeh Resort and we offer both a full day and half day option.

Full Day Tangkoko Trip

For the full day tour of the park we leave early in the morning and arrive at the Tangkoko Lodge and rangers station in time for a breakfast. After a hearty breakfast and introduction to our expert local tour guide we begin exploring the park in search of the most iconic species. Half of the day is spent gently trekking through the forest, while the other half is spent exploring the mangroves by boat. Lunch is served in between at the ranger station. During the trek is when we usually have sightings of cuscus, macaques and tarsiers. Cruising through the mangroves allows us to observe the nature of the park from the water. As our small local boat glides silently along, this is when we often encounter herons, kingfishers, large monitor lizards, sandpipers, terns and frigate birds flying overhead.

Half Day Tangkoko Trip – ideal for after your final morning dives

Half day Tangkoko tours can be morning or afternoon tours depending on your diving schedule and preferences. We recommend taking the Tangkoko tour in the afternoon, after your morning dives, so you don’t miss out on any time underwater. Taking the half day tour in the afternoon also gives us the best possible chances of spotting the iconic tarsier monkeys which become active in the late afternoon. During our half day tour we trek for around 2-3 hours with an expert park ranger through the forest looking for the birds, butterflies, cuscus and primates. It is not unusual to see large numbers of these animals on each trip. Bird species are also commonly spotted although during the half day tour but during this option we do not take the boat tour through the mangroves.

Tangkoko Kingfisher
The green-backed kingfisher is one of several kingfisher species found in Tangkoko
Planning a Trip to Tangkoko

A trip to Tangkoko is highly recommended during your stay – the gentle stroll through the lush forest and the rare animals which inhabit the park are a wonderful way to experience the nature of North Sulawesi. Photographers will be overwhelmed by the volume of photographic opportunities which present themselves, from staggering landscapes through to primates in the wild and even macro insects and butterflies.

Light clothing and long pants (and sleeves) are recommended and good walking shoes or training shoes are required. Both the half day and full day tour include drinking water, refreshments and snacks. The full day tour also includes breakfast and lunch.

All Tangkoko tours include park entry fee and knowledgeable, English speaking guide.

Staying at Lembeh Resort

Would you like to explore the Tangkoko Nature Reserve during your next diving trip to Lembeh? Stay at Lembeh Resort and enjoy the wonders of the Lembeh Strait in comfortable accommodation with a touch of luxury. Our secluded location on Lembeh Island, combined with our exclusive service and exquisite dining make Lembeh Resort a wonderful home away from home in North Sulawesi. For more information, or to make a reservation contact us at: reservations@LembehResort.com 

Tangkoko Macaque
Taking a walk through the Tangkoko Nature Reserve reveals some of North Sulawesi's most unique wildlife species such as these Sulawesi crested black macaques