Lombok is just a mere small island of 5,435 square km in size. But it has 175 waterfalls identified so far. It means there is one waterfall in every 31 square km. “It is something,” said Ari Garmono, a travel enthusiast from Mataram who has discovered and documented
175 waterfalls in Lombok.
He documented his discoveries into a book titled Lombok Waterfall Journey to be released in May 2015. This book briefly discusses ten most beautiful waterfalls including Kokok Puteq and Danau Segara Anak. “Every waterfall is beautiful and unique so it is difficult to choose 10 from 175 waterfalls,” said Ari.
Ari has started his exploration since 2013 during his days off from his office work at Mataram Post Office. “I started this off out of curiosity after visiting several famous waterfalls and learned that there were many other waterfalls that were not publicized. After visiting a new waterfall, I learned again there are many other waterfalls that I have not known. The number grew from 50 to 75, then 100. Wow!. It is something,” said Ari.
He continued his journey and his list now already hits 175 mark. This is a tremendous achievement and does not come easy. “If you search on Google Maps, you cannot find them as they are covered by trees. Therefore I mapped villages along mount Rinjani ridges where rivers flow. Then I checked each village to find the existence of a waterfall,” he said.
It was often not an easy trip. He had to travel difficult locations. “Some waterfalls are located in dangerous locations. I should be very careful when travelling difficult locations as I don’t have any basic mountaineering skills,” he admitted.
“But once I discovered a new waterfall, I felt all the exhaustion being paid off,” he explained.
But Ari also raises an alarming note. Five waterfalls are now already extinct. “The key contributing factors include deforestation, use of chemical fertilizers, forest fire etc. The fact that five waterfalls are already gone is very alarming,” he said.
To address this issue, Ari suggested that all parties including communities and government should work together to protect the environment. “The government can also improve the road to the waterfall locations and promote them as tourist destinations to generate income for the local community,” he added. (LI/KM)