Takabonerate National Park is the one of the best marine tourism object at South Sulawesi Province, locates at Selayar Island Regency in the Flores Sea, South of Sulawesi island, Indonesia. Takabonerate National Park well know as underwater paradise for Diving or Snorkeling and its was famous both foreign tourists and domestic tourists, the area of Takabonerate National Park is about 530.765 hectares which has an atoll expanse of about 220,000 hectares, includes about 21 atoll islands in the region.
Takabonerate meaning "coral islands over sand" is the biggest atoll in Indonesia, and the third biggest in the world after Kwajifein Atol in the Marshal Islands and the Suvadiva Atol in the Maldives, the area of Takabonerate National Park which consists of the atoll islands and surrounding marine area was granted as National Park Protection status in about 1992.
Actually Takabonerate National Park is in a very remote location, consist of Tiger Islands (about 14 islands) and Passi Tallu Islands (about 7 islands), thats why some people call it as Tiger Islands and Gold Reef, most of these islands is the configuration between the atolls with white sand, the atolls consists of a chain of islands of dry coral and a large flat sunken reef, forming a large number of islands. The coral islands are interspersed by narrow, deep, sheer-walled straits. On the coral flats there are small, deep pools surrounded by coral reefs. At low tide, dry land is clearly visible, dotted by water flooding into the small pools, its look great and beautiful.
Geographical location of the National Park of Takabonerate is 120°54' - 121°25' East and 6°16' - 7°06' South, water temperature is 28° - 32° C, salinity 34 - 35 %, weather clearness 80 - 100 %, drifted oxygen 4,5 - 6,0 ppm, low-tide 1 - 1,5 m, wind speed 33 - 50 cm/second, rainy season January to March, dry season July to September.
Takabonerate National Park is home of about 360 coral fish species, about 244 species of mollusc and others for consumption with high economic value such as grouper, skipjack tuna, napoleon wrasse and sharks. Some types of coral reefs characterize Takabonerate National Park is barrier reefs, fringing reefs and ring reefs. They are all composed of live coral, sea grass and algae combined with sand dunes and shelves. All these corals is relatively pristine condition.
The park is a paradise for diver as the atoll which is rich in coral reef and sea grass ecosystem offering some very good wall diving. The atoll rises sharply about 2.000 meters below the surface of water and was formed from a collapse of a huge volcano. The biodiversity of the reef is very high offering attractive spot dives, including drop off- spot dive in some places. The waters inside the atoll are magnificent turquoise, surrounded by the deepest blue imaginable.
Main tourist destination at the park is Tinabo Besar Island, the Tinabo Island is the center of marine tourism development in Takabonerate, with the 5-hectare island possessing a resort and dive center managed by the national park. On the island, tourists can choose dive spots from about 22 locations. Non-divers can enjoy the island’s beauty by snorkeling, fishing or just gazing at the sea from under coconut trees.
Besides Tinabo Besar, visitors also can explore other islands such as Rajuni Besar and Rajuni Kecil, which are near dive spots. When this article was written, Those islands have no resorts, so visitors should be stay at locals house and find someone who can take them to dive sites by rides a boat.
The Tinabo Island is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Takabonerate National Park. It is the Eco tourism Zone in Takabonerate National Park. The island has white sandy beaches with gently sloping topography of the land between 0 - 2 meters. The dominant terrestrial vegetation of coconut trees, santigi, ketapang, grasses, and shrubs. You may enjoy freshly harvest coconut while your on this island. The stunning natural beauty that relies underwater diversity, as well as its remote location from noise of big city has attract many tourists. Visitors can experienced diving, snorkeling, and canoeing. In addition, beautiful scenery of the sun and beach is available any were around the island.
Another island on the park, Jinato Island, was the center for the Third Takabonerate Festival held by the South Sulawesi provincial administration in November 2011. Jinato and Tinabo Besar are roughly the same distance from Benteng, the capital city of Selayar Island, which is about 70 kilometers away, its about 6 hour rides by traditional wooden boat or 4 hour rides by speedboat. Other ones is Tinanja Island, Tinanja is the core zone of the Takabonerate National Park, which still have original biota and undisturbed by humans and allocated the interest education, science research and development.
Recommended time to visit Takabonerate is on April - June and October - December every years, on the these period you may found where sea surface very smooth like mirror. Some places may have current because of its geography, but in average dive spots there is considered no current. However fish likes current, so some of the best dive spot definitely has current, at least mild. Others month is also worth to visit, just avoid any rainy season. Best Dive sites at Takabonerate located around Tinabo Besar and Tinabo Kecil, Rajuni Besar dan Rajuni Kecil, and Tinanja Island, those areas offers exotic coral reefs combined with a fantastic underwater view because there are so many different types of coral reefs and various beautiful sea creature.
Dive sites at Takabonerate National Park started at 2 - 3 meters over the reef top, and the outer wall of the atoll. Visibility was well over 30 meters, and the wall seemed to extend downward forever. The gorgonians was excellent, and school of jacks cruised the wall. In the huge cuts and creavasses in the wall, we saw three giant groupers, Napoleon wrasse, turtles, lionfish and moray eels. Its a World class diving Experience.
When this article was written, we can say is not easy to reach Takabonerate, since the place still lack with sea transport, there is not much sea transport available to cross to the national park area. Sea transportation is inadequate to reach this atol that might offer a million dazzling enchantments. A large port is needed that could accommodate large ships and smaller boats which could make the trip into these islands. The presence of a port would facilitate the sea crossing between Tanjung Bira to Selayar Island and Selayar Island to Kupang in East Nusa Tenggara. If this could be made available, then we can say it would help mobility and spur economic growth in this area.
List name of some island around Takabonerate National Park :
• Ampalasa • Belang-belang (No Population) • Bungin Belle – Temporary village (for fishermen) • Bungin Kamase (atoll) • Jinato – Jinato Village • Lantigiang (No Population) • Latondu Kecil • Latondu Besar – Latondu Village • Mariam Barat (atoll) • Pasitallu Tengah – Tambuna Village • Pasitallu Timur – Tambuna Village • Pasitallu Barat • Rajuni Kecil – Rajuni Village • Rajuni Besar – Rajuni Village • Tambuna Kecil • Tambuna Besar • Tarupa Kecil (No Population) • Tarupa Besar – Tarupa Village • Tinabo Kecil (No Population) • Tinabo Besar • Tinanja.
Best time to Visit.
April to June and October to November, others season Wave may big and strong winds.