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SIBERUT ISLAND

West Sumatra

Siberut Island (4.030 km sq) is the largest island of four islands in the Mentawaian archipelago. It is located about 155 kilometers of West Sumatra coast, across the Mentawaian strait. The Mentawaian islands belong administratively to Padang Pariaman Regency in West Sumatra Province. Siberut is divided into two districts: North and South Siberut with administrative centers at Muara Sikabaluan and Muara Siberut which also service as respectively market centers of Siberut.

We can meet the indigenous Mentawai people who live close to nature and still live in comparative isolation, maintaining their age-old ways. Its virgin rainforest, is inhabited by a number of animal species that cannot found anywhere else in the world, among them some rare monkey species, pleasant surprises wait to explore.

The island also offers continuous spectacular white sand beaches with shallow shelves jutting out to the sea and fringing coral reefs, excellent for snorkeling and leisure a luxury for most of the islanders. It can only be found a few coastal communities. We will be rewarded with stunning views and beautiful jungles abounding with unique plant and wildlife. The real highlight of our journey though, is the chance to meet the Siberut people, traditionally hunter, gatherer clans who are now coming into contact with the modern world. We will stay as guests of a local Kerei (medicine -man) in the Uma (traditional family house). Here, where conditions are basic, we will gain a unique insight into the lives of these people who maintain a belief system based on living in total harmony with nature.

Siberut island recently received international attention as a priority conservation area, for the unique culture of the ethnic Mentawaian and endemic of its biodiversity that need to be preserved. Although the island has plenty to offer, the potential has not been utilized fully especially for tourism. Most visitors to the island are only interested to see the culture at the indigenous tribes, such as the communal clan life in the traditional UMA house along the riverbanks.

Siberut National Park occupies the western half of the island, ranging from the northern coasts. At present the Integrated Biodiversity Conservation Project organized by PHPA, MOF, together with local government, local NGOs and other institutions, conducts the community based conservation program.

Topography and Climate

Siberut Island is characterized by a wet equatorial climate, with minimum and maximum temperatures of 22o C (71.6F) and 31o C (87.8F). The dry season is from February to June and the raining season is from July to January. Siberut is hilly with wide variations in elevation. Almost 60% is covered by tropical rain forest with many forest types such as: primary dipterocarp forest, primary mixed forest, swamps forest, Barrington forest and mangrove forest. Also, there are many rivers on the islands with a complex system of tributaries.

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