- Indonesia: The land of living gods. Its volcanoes
- Azimuth and volcanoes
INDONESIA: THE LAND OF LIVING GODS. ITS VOLCANOES
A Indonesia’s volcanoes or ‘living mountains‘ are reviewed below to help you totally enjoy the amazing experience of volcano climbing. Volcanoes vary in ‘temper,’shapelandscapes and the views they provide from their summits, craters or calderas. The charm of each volcano is further enhanced by the respective culture and beliefs of its surrounding populations, different from one volcano to the next.
How do we design our tracks?
Our tracks approaching the summit or various lookouts are chosen with care as a result of our thorough knowledge and experience with these volcanoes. To provide you with the most suitable ascent or hike, we attach great importance to the following factors:
Number of days of ascent
We select from among a number of criteria: the need to reach the top before sunrise (to be able to enjoy the view from the volcano’s top at dawn or because of cloud covering…), the possibility to camp on its flanks, and the beauty of the environment at its base.
- A ‘suitable’ climb does not mean opting for the easiest or shortest way to reach our goal… but the best way to totally enjoy the surrounding splendors. Therefore, we offer at times a two- to three-day -ascent (instead of the usually offered one-day climb, mostly carried out at night, which only lets you enjoy the view from the top for a short while). Of course it is possible to reach the top in one night: logistics are then easier and the trip itself is less expensive. But why travel so far from your home to discover the world’s most beautiful volcanoes but only be able to admire them briefly in unfavorable conditions?
- Discovering legends about volcanoes, transmitted from one generation to the other in the villages lying at their base. Discovering the typical vegetation or the excitement of camping on mountain flanks, and getting closer to the genuine local people. Here is the introduction to staggering volcanic landscapes and spectacular views over surrounding areas.
- Our focus is on getting you out of tracks crowded with tourists, and into the wilderness! We consider the observation of these volcanoes’ beauty as a great start, but feeling their power as living gods is even more exciting. And this is the bonus you will get withAzimuth Travel Adventure Ltd!
Several itineraries are always possible. We consistently offer you the most comprehensive one:
- Whenever feasible, we choose different tracks for ascents and descents..
- We always choose tracks with the widest range of scenery, the richest vegetation (rainforests, rice fields…), and tracks which allow the most interesting encounters with local people.
- Tracks to the summit are carefully selected. They let you discover volcanic activity, including craters, caldera lakes, fumaroles…
Track selection takes into account your fitness level and technical abilities. Volcano climbing ranges from ‘easy’ (walk on well-marked trails) up to ‘strenuous’ (treks end on unmarked trails). Among the country’s numerous volcano trips, there are no doubt several which best fit your physical condition. Read through our selection and find the one for you!
What does ‘approaching a volcano’ mean”?
Two approaches are possible:
Climbing a volcano
We climb up a volcano to reach its most interesting points (not necessarily its summit). For example:
- Volcanic activities (observation of smoke curls, ancient lava flows, active craters…). It may indeed be pointless to walk to the top of a volcano when its crater lies 500 m below.
- View from its summit. Some volcanoes, whenever they are dormant, are attractive because of the panorama their summits provide (e.g. view over other volcanoes, the ocean or the sea…)
- Walk on its slopes. A number of curiosities are found around volcanoes: lush vegetation, mud ponds, hot springs, older lava flows…
Trekking at the base of a volcano
- Lush vegetation. While some volcano treks may be too demanding for you, striking features of volcanoes can be enjoyed at their base. Volcanoes indeed generate everlasting lush landscapes. Tropical trees, flowers and fruits abound along our trails. They open for you a wonderful ‘green’ world with delightful walks in store..
- Volcanic aesthetics. volcanoes themselves are a delight for the eye. We offer you treks at the base of a number of volcanoes where we may at leisure appreciate the beauty of these stunning mountains.
- The local populations. Many Indonesians and even more those who live close to volcanoes, consider them as gods. Volcanoes lie at the center of numerous tales and legends. Some volcano gods remain venerated today, including Mount Bromo (Java) or Mount Agung (Bali). On our tracks we encounter local people, unaccustomed to mass-tourism. As a result, you have the opportunity to deepen your knowledge about their culture, way of life, and beliefs about volcanoes…
AZIMUTH AND VOLCANOES
Tatistically, Indonesia is the world leader in a number of statistics about volcanoes. It hasis in fact the largest number of historically active volcanoes (76). Azimuth Travel Adventure offers to guide you to the 34 most striking ones (see ‘Volcanoe climbing‘ in our Program pages)
Volcano: Mt. Gede
Elevation: 2,958 m
Mount Gede is among the highest mountains in West Java. As its older twin (on its northwest side), the Pangrango volcano , Mount Gede overlooks the major cities of Cianjar, Sukabumi and Bogor. Numerous lava flows streak the flanks of the Gede volcano, some of which date back to earlier unrecorded eruptions. Its activity has been recorded since the 16th century, with its last eruption in 1957. Because of these eruptions, Mount Gede’s slopes are covered with a wonderful flora, and are right at the heart of Mount Gede Pangrango National Park, a Unesco world biosphere reserve. On your trip, you will admire fast flowing rivers, waterfalls, lakes, mountain forest, elfin woodlands, sub-alpine grasslands and a unique fauna!
Our track : Starting from the base of the volcano’s southwest slope, we head up its north flank and skirt its main crater. Return trek on the volcano’s northeast slope.
Volcano: Mt. Tangkuban Prahu
Elevation: 2,084 m
Mount Tangkuban Prahu is an active stratovolcano within the Sunda caldera. It overhangs the West Java capital of Bandung 18 miles to the South. With 17 eruptions since 1826, this volcano’s latest activity, a small phreatic eruption, dates back to 1985. Numerous legends refer to this oddly-shaped volcano. Wonderful tea plantations cover its flanks.
Our track: We trek around the volcano’s various craters and concentrate on its most active one: Kawah Baru (or ‘the new crater‘). Trek back down on the volcano’s northeast face to Ciater’s hot springs.
Volcano: Mt. Galunggung
Elevation: 2,168 m
The first eruption of the Galunggung volcano was recorded in 1822. Its last eruption dates back to 1984. Mudflows following its 1822 eruption killed over 4,000 people. The April 1982-January 1983 eruption destroyed the lava dome created in 1918 and produced a new cinder cone within a new crater. Overthis period, 62,000 civilians had to evacuate the area.
Our track: We walk around the volcano’s new crater and head down to hot springs at the foot of Mount Galunggung’s east slope.
Volcano: Mt. Merapi
Elevation: 2,911 m
Mount Merapi is among Indonesia’s most active volcanoes and dominates the landscape immediately north of the city of Yogyakarta, in one of the world’s most densely populated area. Because of this proximity, a number of volcanologists keep a close watch from the Merapi volcano observatory (which we are fortunate to visit on our trek).
Last eruption: January 2001.
Our track: A one-day uphill trek on a track designed by and exclusive to Azimuth Adventure Travel Ltd. We return on the regular track… Our trek ends with an ascent along lava flows, at the foot of the south slope of the Merapi volcano.
Volcano: Mt. Lawu
Elevation: 3,265 m
Mountaineers climb this volcano to enjoy the unique green scenic view it provides, including lovely edelweiss flowers and the challenging beauty of its seemingly dormant crater. No eruptive activity has indeed been reported over the last 10,000 years. However, the crater of this dormant volcano contains active fumaroles and some seismic activity was registered in 1978-1979.
Our track: Trek on the volcano’s west slope onward to the famous ‘erotic’ temple of Sukuh.
Volcano: Mt. Arjuno-Welirang
Elevation: Mt. Arjuno: 3,339 m
Mt. Welirang: 3,156 m
The twin-volcanoes of Mount Arno and Mount Welirang constitute a 6 km-long line of volcanic cones and craters. Several fumarolic areas with sulfuricdeposition are found on several locations on the Welirang volcano. Its first known historical activity was registered in 1952, when sulfuric mud flowed down several hundred meters from the top of its northwest flank, while a dense white smoke rose into the air.
Last activity: Smoke was observed from the summit area of the Welirang volcano in September 1991.
Our track: A two-day ascent. Starting from the village of Tretes, on the north flank of the Welirang volcano, we trek on the pass separating the Arjuno volcano from Mount Welirang. Camping at this pass. We head down towards Selekta, then to Batu, on the south flank of the Arjuno volcano.
Volcano: Mt. Bromo
Elevation: 2,329 m
The massive Tengger volcanic complex consists of five overlapping stratovolcanoes, each truncated by a caldera. Its youngest volcano is Mount Bromo, one of Java’s most active and most frequently visited volcanoes. Its caldera is one of the world’s most beautiful and is venerated by one of Java’s last hindu communities: the Tengger. In 1995, Mount Bromo woke up from a ten-year sleep..
Our track : We easily access Mount Bromo’s caldera. Trek on the caldera’s ridge, up to Mount Bromo’s summit and along its crater.
Volcano: Mt. Semeru
Elevation: 3,676 m
Mount Semeru, the highest volcano in Java, and one of its most active, lies at the southern edge of a volcanic massif extending north to the Tengger caldera. Its eruptions are explosive and recur every 20 minutes. Its most recent eruptive period began in 1967.
Last eruption: July 2000.
Our track: A two-day ascent. From the village of Ranupani, through a splendid rainforest, we hike to our base camp, named Kalimati, at the foot of Mount Semeru. The second day, final ascent to the top and back to Ranupani.
Kawah Ijen Crater
Elevation: 2,368 m
Type: stratovolcano with an amazing acid lake
The Ijen volcano complex consists of a group of small stratovolcanoes strucured within the large 20-kilometre-wide Ijen caldera. Immediately west of Mount Merapi is the renowned historically active Kawah Ijen crater, which contains a nearly one-kilometre-wide, emerald-green, acid crater lake. The picturesque lake is the site of a labour-intensive sulphur mining operation.
Last eruption: July 1993
Our track: One-day ascent to reach the crater’s slopes as we follow the difficult tracks used by sulfur miners. It is also possible to walk down into the crater and observe the extraction of sulfur.
Volcano: Mt. Batur
The historically active Batur volcano is in the heart of two concentric calderas, about 20,000 years old for the first one and 50,000 years old for the second. One of its calderas has become a caldera lake; and above the surface of lake Batur rises an active 700 m tall dome. The first historically documented eruption of the Batur volcano occurred in 1804 and the volcano has been frequently active since then.
Last eruption: July 2000.
Our track: One-day ascent. From the village named Toyabungkah (along the lake), we reach the volcano’s highest crater. We skirt the four craters and finally head down.
Volcano: Mt. Agung
The symmetrical Agung Volcano, Bali highest and most sacred mountain, towers above the eastern side of the island. In Bali, it is forbidden to climb volcanoes during religious ceremonies. Indeed, because mountains are considered sacred by the local population, it would be unthinkable that ’non-believers’ stand higher than sacred temples. Mount Agung’s 1963 eruption apparently caused a considerable decrease in temperature around the world.
Our track: One-day ascent from the Pasar Agung temple, on the volcano’s south flank, or from the Besakih temple, on its southwest flank. Return on the same track.
Volcano: Mt. Rinjani
Elevation: 3,726 m
This massive volcano dominates the northern part of the island and was considered dormant till 1994, when it proved otherwise. Trekking on the way up to Mount Rinjani is among the reasons why a number of tourists visit Lombok. Its most breathtaking feature is Segara Anak, a magnificent crater lake, 8 km long by 6 km wide.
Last eruption: 1994. It sent an ash plume 500 m into the air. Months later, a cold lahar (mudflow) made its way from the summit to a river and killed 30 villagers.
Our track: Three-day ascent. From the village of Senaru (on the north slope), we reach our first campsite along the Segara Anak, then our second campsite in Plawangan II. We head down the east slopes toward the village of Sembatun.