In the eastern part of the region there is a 45.000 square hectares Sembilang Wildlife Reserve. Sembilang National Park was setup in 2003 in southeastern Sumatra. Over 350,000 hectares of peat swamp, freshwater swamp and mangroves, the park is host to a few critically endangered Sumatran tigers. Sembilang is such a paradise for various kinds of protected birds like lesser adjutant stork, milky stork, spot billed pelican, wild duck, eagle, hornbill, etc. There are also two kinds of Sumatra crocodile, i.e. crocodilus porosus and tomistoma slegeli. In Sembilang river there also lives irrawadi dolphins and humpback dolphins.
Sembilang National Park with a total area of approx. 206 ha, is also one of the largest mangrove forests in the Indo-Malayan region and one of the widest mangrove zones in the world, in some areas extending inland up to 35 km. The mangroves provide feeding, nesting and roosting areas for many globally threatened species of wildlife, and are one of the most important stopover sites for migratory waders in the East Area Flyway (up to one million birds). The shallow mangrove zone in the area is highly productive, and more than 8.000 fishermen and their families find full time employment in the coastal fisheries.
The Banyuasin Peninsula, located on the east coast of South Sumatra, is a haven for water birds. Its muddy lands and sands border mangroves resulting in ideal habits for various types of invertebrates such as worms, mollusks, and crustaceans. The actual peninsula sticks out into the sea for 1.5 kilometers which makes this land an ideal stop for migrant birds from Asia and Europe from October to December.
Kuntul Cina (Egretta Eulophotes), Trinil-Lumpur Asia (Limnodromus Semipalmatus), and Pedendang Topeng (Heliopais Personata), are among 30 species of migrant birds visiting the Banyuasin Peninsula. These birds seek a temporary home to avoid cold seasons in their primary habitats in Siberia, the Korean peninsula, and Japan. Their final destinations are sub-tropical areas of Australia.
You will find very exotic scenery in the far north of Betet Island because some of its swamps are famous for its snakes, crocodiles and rare orchids.
How to get there
You can take a speed boat of 40 (PK) capacity to reach Sembilang National Park. There are two routes to this area; from Sungsang, the capital city of Banyuasin II sub-district which will take you about two hours, or from Palembang which will take you about four hours.
To travel around the national park, you must first obtain a permit from the office of Sembilang National Park. This offices purpose is to provide you with guards to take rivers, bays and seas. It is best if you contact the management office at least one week in advance, so as to enable them to prepare your needs. The waves in this area are very dangerous and if your boats crew is not experienced, your speed boat may turn upside down.
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