Glamping & Corporate Outbound in Situgunung, West Java
Offering crisp fresh air, Situgunung in West Java is a favorite place for many activities, from camping with five-star facilities to far greater challenges!
Situgunung lies hidden in a valley between hills at 1023 meters above sea level, within the precincts of Gunung Gede Pangrango National Park and near two inactive volcanoes whose watershed provides the main water supply for Jakarta and Bogor.
The word situ means “lake”, referring to the lake created by the eruption of Mount Pangrango, while gunung means “mountain”. So, based on its geographical location, it’s called Situgunung – a lake between mountains.
Situgunung can be reached by road in only three hours (under normal conditions) from Jakarta, via Ciawi and the main road toward Sukabumi. But you need to plan your travel time carefully, as you pass through several congested spots on the road to Sukabumi and in Cisaat.
Situgunung is the oldest tourism destination in West Java and a perfect location for camping. Much of the area is full of large trees, providing the natural cool that visitors crave.
Part of the area is commercially managed as a tourism site by the state-owned forestry company, Perum Perhutani. Visitors can choose camping sites from among those provided by Perhutani and others outside this area.
The Sensation of Five-Star Camping
When my good friend Inge, quite an adventure seeker, recommended “five-star camping”, I couldn’t resist. Arriving at the entrance to the Situgunung tourism area, I walked 200 meters to the Tanakita Camp Site, the five-star camping location owned by well-known tourism operator Rakata Adventure.
The camp site lies at around 1100 meters above sea level. Thin mists drifting between the huge trees keep the air cool; the temperature at Situgunung typically ranges between 16 and 18 degrees Celsius. A Javan hawk soared above the camp site, performing a “guest welcoming” ritual that I really appreciated.
The beauty of Situgunung deserves to be enjoyed through special, fun activities. The area’s beautiful natural endowments and the constantly developing lifestyle of the guests have inspired Rakata Adventure to create the concept of five-star camping, enabling guests to enjoy completely effortless camping.
Five star? You bet. You don’t need to carry a tent or worry about all that messy camping equipment. Just bring a change of clothes and other personal needs – windbreaker, sweater, suitable shoes and the like. Comfortable restrooms are provided, and the buffet is just like that in a five-star hotel.
Since it opened in 2002, guests have shown great enthusiasm for five-star camping. Many companies have rented the site to give their employees a new and different camping experience, but it’s just as much fun for private groups.
Patrick Mauchant, an advertising agency employee whom I met there, regularly takes his family camping at Tanakita.
“My family and I enjoy everything here – the atmosphere, the nature, the camping and even the food,” he said while watching his kids play on the bungee trampoline.
Children can sharpen their skills through a variety of outbound activities. To ensure safety, the Rakata Adventure crew provides professional supervision and friendly instruction.
For my stay here, I was assigned a tent with one compartment for up to three people. Other tents have two compartments and accommodate six people.
Inside my tent, there were no creeping little creatures or soft but damp mattresses. All tents are made of fireproof material and built on strong pallets – very comfortable and different, but without losing the sensation of camping.
Adrenalin-pumped Rappelling and Tubing
Tanakita was the starting and ending point for my short sample of Situgunung. I began the morning with a hike to Lake Situgunung, just 25 minutes down a rocky trail. The lake attracts both local people and visitors from outside. During my hike, I was accompanied by monkeys jumping between the high leafy branches.
I then walked back up the trail to Tanakita to join a company group that was planning to test its nerve through the activities provided by Rakata Adventure.
The first activity was rappelling – descending a steep slope on a rope. They were required to undergo a 20-minute briefing beforehand on the proper procedure and reacting to hazards.
Even getting to the rappelling site was a bit of a challenge – a 25-minute walk along a small, steep, slippery trail next to a stream. Proper footwear and focusing on foot placement are the main keys to reaching the rappelling site without major problems.
The Rakata team was already waiting for us. One by one, the participants tightened the rope to be as secure as possible and then slowly let out the rope and descended the rock wall until they “landed” at Cigunung River. If you suffer from fear of heights, the only other way to rejoin your group is to walk back down a trail that’s nearly as steep as the rock face.
Reassembling after the rappelling, they continued with an even greater adrenalin rush: tubing. This is a new sport from Rakata Adventure: floating down the river in an inner tube.
Tanakita’s Operations Manager Isep Kurnia said that this activity uses the rivers available at Situgunung, which are relatively safe for tubing because the rapids are not too swift and the river is only waist-deep.
But tubing also entails its own challenges. At first, those who wanted to try it were worried about going under; skill in handling the current and the rapids is the key.
The tubing trip with Tanakita takes around an hour, floating 1½ kilometers down a river with cool to very cold water and ending up at Cinumpang River. If you can’t stand cold, you’d better give it a miss.
There are a lot of other challenging outdoor activities apart from rappelling and tubing. You can take a very challenging 12-hour hike all the way to the summits of Gede and Pangrango, or just take a relaxing 30-minute stroll through the plantations to enjoy the beauty of the Curug Sawer waterfall.
And if you want to interact with the local people, you can walk about an hour down the valley to Cikaramat village; if you choose the right time, you may see traditional ceremonies.
For more information: Rakata Adventure, Jakarta