Silokek Geopark is one of the largest Geoparks in Indonesia. It is located in Sijunjung Regency, West Sumatra Province with an area of 130,000 Ha/1300 Km2. In November 2018 the Indonesian National Geopark Committee designated the Silokek area as a geopark.
The Silokek Geopark was formed by a sea fault due to a tectonic earthquake in the range of 350 million years ago which caused the ground level to rise as high as about 400 meters and until now the fault is still clearly visible with the formation of high cliffs that rise along the way to the Silokek Geopark area.
Suspension bridge on Batang Kuantan River.barrabaa.com.photo
The name Silokek itself comes from the name of Silokek Village which has a tourist attraction for Sijunjung Regency. It is bordered by Durian Gadang village in the north, Aie Angek village in the east, Muaro village in the south, and Sumpur Kudus sub-district in the west. The geopark area is surrounded by the Batang Kuantan river. Silokek village is approximately 15 km from Muaro Sijunjung or 133 km from the capital city of Padang with a travel time of 4 hours.
The Silokek Geopark is managed by the Silokek Ranah Minang Geopark Management Agency which is an agency formed by the local government of Sijunjung Regency to develop the geological heritage potential of Sijunjung Regency. This agency was formed in 2021, based on the Decree of the Sijunjung Regent Number 188.45/83/KPTS-BPT-2021. The establishment of a management body aims to realize the effectiveness of the management of the development and management of the Ranah Minang Silokek Geopark that is capable and considered capable of being responsible.
The Ranah Minang Silokek Geopark has a range of managed areas including Silokek which offers natural tourism in the form of Karst Hills, river landscapes and rocks. Furthermore, Traditional Village (Kampung Adat) which is located in the hamlet of Padang Ranah, offers tours of traditional houses and bakaua (post-harvest parties) as well as songket and culinary crafts. Then the Sumpur Kudus area offers natural tours of Lubuk Pendakian Waterfall and cultural tours of the Tomb of Rajo Ibadat / King Pagaruyung, touchstone (Batu Uji), and finally in this area also offers religious tours of the Tomb of Sheikh Ibrahim. The next area, Tanjung Labuah, offers natural tourism in the Pine Forest and Gunung Tombuok Cave. Then the Durian Gadang area which offers natural tourism of Palukahan Waterfall and Sipungguak Cave, not only that there are also historical and cultural tours of de Grave’s tomb, steam locomotive and bakaua tradition in Batu Godang village. Lastly, the Aie Angkek area offers natural hot spring baths and Loguong Cave as well as cultural tours of Khatib Ramadhan.
Based on the information above, it can be said that the Silokek geopark offers a complete tour package. Here, geological, historical, cultural and flora and fauna tours and outdoor sports gather in one place. It is rare to find a tour package as complete as this in other areas, both in West Sumatra and outside West Sumatra.
In historical tours, for example, visitors can trace back to learn about the atrocities of the Japanese when colonizing the archipelago. During World War 2, Japan built a railroad connecting Silokek area to Pekanbaru city. The goal was to avoid the pursuit of the allied troops who had controlled the city of Padang city and the Indian Ocean and for the needs of war logistics. To build the 220 km long road, Japan deployed forced laborers (romusha) consisting of civilians and prisoners of war totaling about 100,000 people. Many of the romusha died in this area due to starvation and work accidents. The point of the massacre was in the Cigak Cave or at the Kuantan water crossing in forbidden forest (Rimbo Larangan Silokek). The silent witness of the Japanese atrocities was the discovery of a steam locomotive around 1980 in the village of Durian Gadang in a half-buried state. Now it can be visited in the village of Durian Gadang, Sijunjung Regency.
In addition, visitors can trace back to learn about the history of the spread of Islam in the Sijunjung area and the expedition of a Dutch geologist, de Greeve, along the Batang Kuantan river to find coal sources in the 19th century. He is a geologist from the Netherlands who was the first to examine coal deposits in Ombilin Mining.
Geological researchers are very suitable to visit this area. In the hamlet of Sankiamo and still included in the geopark area, there is a stretch of granite rock originating from the cooling of magma 250 million to 350 million years old. This granite rock is the bedrock of the Ombilin Earth Basin. The discovery of this ancient stone confirms that the rocks in the Silokek Geopark are in the three eras of the geological time scale, namely Cenozoic, Mesozoic, and Paleozoic. Evidence of the geological era is illustrated in the types of rocks in the geopark consisting of limestone (karst), sediment, metamorphic, and granite intrusion.
Source: Bridges and granite outcrops.tvonenews.com.photo
Silokek Geopark is very rich in biodiversity, this is supported by unspoiled natural conditions. A highly recommended location for flora and fauna researchers, herbal plant researchers and photographers. Some of the flora and fauna found in the Minang Silokek Geopark such as rafflesia arnoldii flowers (Raflessia Arnoldi), titan arums (Amorphophallus titanium), bioluminescent mushroom (Mycena chlorophos), and so on. Several species of mammals such as gibbons (Symphalangus syndactylus), forest goats (Capricornis crispus), bearcats (Arctictis binturong), forest cats (Prionailurus planiceps), porcupines (Hystrix sumatrae), bats (Vespertilionidae sp.), and so on. Types of bird species such as finches (Pycnonotus aurigaster), magpies (Copsychus malabaricus), hill barbets (Megalaima monticola), coppersmith barbets (Psilopogon haemacephalus), black-naped orioles (Oriolus chinensis), hornbills (Bucerotidae sp.) and many more. In Cigak Cave there is a flock of tame long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis).
Sumber: Long-tailed macaques in Cave.pesonasilokek.picuki.com.photo
There is also a waterfall whose water flow into the Batang Kuantan river, among the waterfalls that are often visited are the Palukahan waterfall and the Lubuk Pendakian Sumpur waterfall. To reach it requires trekking through small forests, fields and people’s houses. It is recommended for visitors who like exploring nature. There is also an island in the middle of the Batang Kuantan river called Andam Dewi Island. The beauty of Andam Dewi Island looks unique, it can be seen from the top of the panorama.
In Silokek Village, the residents participate in promoting cultural tourism as well as supporting the economy. There are those who sell a variety of typical Silokek culinary and various kinds of art crafts such as souvenirs, clothing and paintings. In addition, the Silokek tourist village already has a mosque, a parking area, a meeting hall, souvenir kiosks, restaurants, wi-fi areas and a lodging.
Source: The rest area Silokek Geopark.infosijunjung.blogspot.com.photo
From November to December 2019, Sijunjung Regent Yuswir Arifin held the Silokek Geopark Festival. There are 14 activities and competitions including: valley singing, geology, biology, history and culture workshops, fun bike Silokek, de Greeve traceback, geopark fun run, story telling competition, Geofest Unggan Weaving Competition, geopark souvenir creation competition, International White Water Rafting, river clean up action, bakaua tradition activity, photography competition, national children’s culture week and tourism video competition. The Silokek Geopark Festival is a promotional event for the Silokek Geopark to tourists.
At the Silokek geopark, adventure activists can try the challenges of white water rafting on the Kuantan Batang river, cave exploration and rock climbing. Everything is available in one area. So, get your adrenaline ready and let’s go on an adventure!
Rafting on the Batang Kuantan River
This 38 km long river is formed from the combination of two major rivers in West Sumatra, namely the Batang Ombilin river and the Batang Palangki river. In the past, the Batang Kuantan river was the main transportation route for the community. The Batang Kuantan River is one of the rivers that has extreme tracks for white water rafting in Sijunjung Regency, West Sumatra Province. This river has rapids that are dangerous and challenging. Especially when it rains and the water discharge increases, the Batang Kuantan current will feel heavier. The level of difficulty (grade) of rafting on the Batang Kuantan river ranges from 1 to 4.
In 2019, Silokek village hosted the Silokek Rafting World Cup which was attended by 257 athletes from Indonesia, Malaysia and the Czech Republic. They tried the Batang Kuantan River which is famous for its Palukahan waves and extremely challenging rapids. This championship is part of the 2019 Silokek Geopark Festival.
Source : One of participant Rafting World Cup 2019.infopublik.sijunjung.go.id.photo
Source: Palukahan Wave.jadesta.kemenparekraf.go.id/photo
In Silokek Geopark there are many caves on the cliffs. There are four caves that are best known to the public, namely the Talago cave, Basurek cave, Saribu cave and Cigak cave. The caves in the Silokek Geopark are a type of wet cave where the cave walls have a very high water content. Drops of water from the cave walls flow down the surface of the cave to form a stream of water. Therefore, the surface of the cave at Geopark Silokek is generally slippery and moist, so cave explorers are advised to be careful not to slip.
- Basurek Cave
Basurek Cave is one of the most beautiful caves in the geopark. The cave, which is located in the village of Muaro Silokek, has writing engraved on one of the cave walls and is believed to have been written by the Dutch in 1927. Near the mouth of the cave there is a swimming pool and two gazebos that can be used as a place to rest and enjoy the cool nature. The surface of Basurek Cave is slightly sandy, there is also a little mud found at the bottom of the cave, which is different from most caves in Java. Over your head you can often see bats (Vespertilionidae sp.) and swallows (Collocalia vestita) passing by.
The feces of these animals often have a sour smell that is carried by the air in the cave. The walls of the cave are moist and contain limestone compounds forming stalactites and stalagmites that are formed from water droplets over thousands of years. The dissolution of limestone by rainwater that erodes limestone is still ongoing today.
Source: The entrance Basurek Cave.tvone.news.com.photo
Source: The track to Basurek Cave.rentalmobilpadang.com.photo
Source: The stalactite in Basurek Cave.rentalmobilpadang.com.photo
Source: Writing Engraved in wall of Basurek cave.portalbaraya.com.photo
- Talago Cave
Talago Cave is located in the Nagari Silokek area which is about 12 Km from the capital of Sijunjung district which can be reached by spending as much as 45 minutes from the capital of Sijunjuang Regency. To be able to reach the tourist location of Talago Cave is not too difficult. From Cigak Cave, which is precisely on the island of Andam Dewi, then your journey will continue by walking to the location of Talago Cave with a distance of about 1.5 Km from the main road with a path in the form of a community garden that can be reached within 1 hour trekking.
The scenery inside is decorated with limestone stalactites and stalagmites dripping with clear water droplets and emitting colorful lights like beads. The beauty of Talago Cave does not end here, as the name implies, inside the cave there is a lake which is flooded with lots of water during the rainy season so that we can swim there. In some rooms in the Talago Cave, we can find rocks that resemble elephants and there are also those that look like crocodiles which complement the natural beauty in the cave.
Source : The entrance of Talago Cave.rentalmobilpadang.co.id.photo
Source: The Lake Colour.rentalmobilpadang.co.id.photo
Saribu Cave is a cave located on a karst cliff. This cave is formed naturally in the earth’s crust connected to the surface and can be entered by humans. Just like the Basurek cave and Talago cave, in the cave there is also deposition, where the sediment forms stalactites and stalagmites. It is quite difficult to explore the Saribu cave because the entrance is located on a karst cliff with a height of 3-4 meters from the mainland. Cave explorers have to climb karst cliffs to reach the cave entrance.
Rock climbing at Saribu Cave
Source: The Saribu Cave.geoparksilokek.com.photo
On the outer wall of the cave there are cliffs that are suitable for rock climbing sports activists. Unlike the cliffs in Harau, the cliffs in the Silokek geopark have a balanced structure of karts and granite. The color of the cliff is a bit whitish and the texture is rougher so there are many points that make it easier to climb. This cliff reaches a height of 70 meters and is overgrown with a kind of shrub in some parts.
Source: Rock climbing in Saribu Cave.mapalaunand.screenshot.youtube.com.photo
To implement the goal of establishing the Silokek geopark management agency, the management and person in charge of the agency carried out several programs including first, carrying out conservation activities in geo heritage, bio heritage and culture heritage areas. Second, conducting educational activities through research, Geopark Goes to School (GGS), School Goes to Geopark (SGG), capacity building for geopark activists and Geopark Youth Forum (GYF). Third, Geo tourism through the creation of geo track tourism packages and increasing the capacity of geo tourism guides, as well as developing geo products.In addition, to facilitate the management of local governments in collaboration with local communities. The local community formed a Tourism Awareness Group (Kelompok Sadar Wisata/Pokdarwis). An institution at the community level whose membership consists of tourism activists who have concern and responsibility and act as a driving force in supporting the creation of a conducive climate for the growth and development of tourism. In the field they manage as well as become tour guides. The following are some Pokdarwis in the coverage area of the Silokek Geopark: Pokdarwis Nagari Silokek, Pokdarwis Durian Gadang, Pokdarwis Silukah, Pokdarwis Saribu Gunung, and Pokdarwis Talago Ameh that located in Aie Angkek village.
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