Seram Island

Seram Island fishermen, Maluku Islands, Indonesia

The largest island in the region Seram is located north of Ambon Island.  A mountainous island Seram is home to the Malukus highest peak, Mount Binaiya. It is also a major karst area and has Indonesia’s deepest cave Hatu Saka.

Seram island pearl farm, Maluku's, Indonesia

Photo © Mark Richards

One of the world’s longest underground rivers the Sapalewa is also on the island. A part of the Wallacea region between Asia and Australia Seram is an extremely diverse region where plants and animals from both continents can be found. Include the Manusela National Park and endemic bird species and there is plenty on offer for nature lovers and adventures alike on Seram Island.

West Seram, Maluku Islands, Indonesia

Photos © Rudi Lansky

Masohi the Capital is located on the islands south coast. With air and sea ports it is the main access point for those looking to explore the island.

Mount Binaiya

The 3027 metre high mountain is located in the Manusela National Park. The mountain is remote and rarely visited. It is surrounded by rain forest making access difficult. Getting to and climbing the mountain is for the truly adventurous.

Guides and a climbing permit are required for the hike. Permits can be obtained from the Manusela National Park Office in Masohi. The permit may take a day to process. Ask the staff about guides they may be able to help. Some of them may have done the climb themselves. If not guides can be organised in the northern villages of Sawai or Wahai.

There are several routes up the mountain. The most common is from the north coast of the island. From Masohi it is a 6-7 hour car or bus drive north to the coastal fishing village of Sawai. A popular tourist destination with good accommodation it is lovely place to overnight before starting the hike, most of the village consists of stilted homes built out over the water with towering cliffs in the background.

Allow at least 8 days to reach the summit from the first village of Huahulu and return. The trek begins at the Huahulu village a few kilometres from the main road on the islands north coast. Be prepared to camp out and where possible spend nights in Roho and Kanikeh. Bringing small gifts or cigarettes for the guides and village chiefs is a nice touch and will be much appreciated. A traditional ceremony may also be held in Kanikeh to protect hikers.

Wet and dry seasons don’t really apply on the mountain. Rain is a constant possibility. Passing through Roho and Kanikeh, the last village before the summit expect densely forested steep, wet, muddy and slippery terrain including river crossings. Rain and high humidity can also make the hiking and camping uncomfortable. Bring a good tent and a tarp for the forest camping.

The hiking gets a little bit easier as the summit is approached as the terrain whilst steeper is not as wet and muddy although moss covered rocks can be slippery . The dense forest thins out as the elevation increases giving way to smaller highland plants. By the time the small camping area just below the twin summits is reached the weather has changed. The heat and humidity is gone and the temperature has dropped considerably. It can be very cold higher up with some reports of climbers suffering hypothermia. Climbers are rewarded with spectacular views in all directions from the summit.

Hikers need to be fit, experienced and well equipped to complete the hike. Expect to be wet most of the time. Keeping clothes and sleeping gear dry is essential as once things are wet they cannot be dried.

Manusela National Park

Established in 1997 the park is approximately 1890 square kilometres and includes mountains, coastal lowlands, swamps, caves and karst formations. The park is also known to have a number of bird species unique to the island. Located centrally on Seram island the park can be accessed from Wahai in the north and Mosso in the south. Visit the Manusela National Park office in Masohi for more information and permits.

Hatu Saka cave plunges to a depth of 388 metres and is Indonesia’s deepest cave. Little is known about the cave as only one or two expeditions have explored it. There are numerous caves within the National Park. Visit the park office in Masohi for more information.

The Sapalewa is one of the world’s largest underground rivers. Flowing through the mountains it enters the sea on the islands north coast. It may be possible to hire a guide in Taniwel Village to be taken to the point where the river emerges from the mountains. Be well prepared with food and water. Allow a few days to complete the hike. Expect difficult, steep and sometimes dangerous terrain. Once there the spectacle is worth the effort with an enormous cavern to explore and impressive water flow from the river. Depending on the water flow it may be possible to venture several hundred meters into the cave.

Hiking across Seram through Manusela National Park from Hatumeti on the south coast to either Sawai or Wahai in the north is popular with those seeking a bit more adventure. The going can be wet, muddy and steep. Allow about a week and hire a guide and porter if the budget allows. Accommodation can be found at some villages along the route.

For those not wanting to do the full trans island trek one or two day guided hikes can be arranged from villages and within the National Park.

Sawai

Sawai village, Seram Isand, Indonesia Sawai huts, Seram Island, IndonesiaFrom Masohi it is a 6-7 hour car or bus drive north to the coastal fishing village of Sawai. A popular tourist destination with good accommodation options it is lovely place to stay and explore the region. With beautiful beaches, rivers to explore and hiking destinations there is plenty of reasons why this is one of Serams most popular destinations. Located in an amazing setting much of the village consists of stilted homes built over the water with towering cliffs in the background. Be sure to take a boat ride to enjoy the views of the village from the water.

Salawai River

A pleasant long boat cruise from Sawai Village. Take in the beauty of the river and surrounding jungle. Might spot some locals working their plantations as well.

WESTERN SERAM

7 Stairs Waterfall

Way off the beaten track in West Seram the beautiful waterfall is located at the village of Limoli. Located in as unspoilt jungle setting this a great place to enjoy the pristine environment as well as village life.

Waisia and Waihetu Waterfalls

Waisia and Waihetu waterfalls are located at the village of Rumahkai on the south coast to the west of the capital Masohi.

Take a car from Rumahkai then hike the final 500m to the 80 metre high Waisia water fall. A popular swimming spot, visitors can swim under the falls and enjoy the natural surroundings.

EASTERN ISLANDS

Lying of the eastern tip of Seram are a number of tiny islands. Extremely remote and mostly Muslim they are only accessable by sea. Geser Island, the Seram Laut Islands, Gorom Islands and Watubela Islands can be found in this far flung corner of Indonesia. There are few attractions other than beautiful beaches and the feeling of being so remote. Getting there is a hit and miss affair unless using a private boat charter. Pelni and Perintis ships drop in from time to time but these can be unreliable, crowded and not particularly pleasant.


Location
Seram Island. North of Ambon Island
Region
Central Maluku Islands, Indonesia
Allow
2-3 days
Get there
Air or sea to Masohi
Need to know
Parts of the island are remote and rarely visited, be self sufficient when trekking.

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