Most people think of Senaru as being simply where the Mount Rinjani trek starts and ends but there is more to this village and surrounding area. There are three beautiful waterfalls located on the slopes of Rinjani within easy trekking distance of the village. Air Terjun Sindang Gila is the most popular due to their natural beauty and moderate 20min hike from the village along a pleasant forested trail and stairs. For a nice alternative return route, following the irrigation canal back to Senaru along the edge of the valley.
On a cautionary note, local touts have taken to congregating near the entrance and pressuring tourists into hiring them as guides, which you certainly don’t require for the well-defined walk down to the falls and back. They can get quite nasty when their services are declined and often demand payment from drivers and non-local guides instead. The only payment that you need to make is a fixed price admission fee payable at the ticket booth only. Don’t be fooled by claims that guides are compulsory; they are not! Furthermore, in Lombok they must have a “Izin” (permit) to act as a guide and carry official identification identifying them as one. You are within your rights to request to see their Izin. Word is the local government is trying to clean things up but until then, these opportunists are doing Lombok and Senaru a serious disservice.
The second waterfall Air Terjun Tiu Kelep is located another 45-60 min trek upstream from Sindang Gila. Whilst not as spectacular as Sindang Gila, Tiu Kelep falls have a nice plunge pool were you can jump of rocks and a tunnel with a concrete chute that serves as a water slide. After dropping into the first falls, back track a short way to until you see a path leading further upstream and follow your nose. The path is quite well defined but there are some steep sections and a creek crossing so wear good sturdy sandals. A guide is recommended but not strictly necessary. If you engage one at the entrance 50.000Rp is a reasonable price.
The little visited third waterfall Air Terjun Betara Lenjang can only be reached via a 2 hour challenging trek through tropical jungle and over rough terrain. The trail begins in the same place as the Rinjani trek but heads left down into the valley after passing through Eaglewood Forest. It requires a good level of fitness, agility and an experienced guide. There’s a bit of rock climbing involved, nothing too extreme, but safety equipment is required so you’ll have to arrange a guide ahead of time. Whilst certainly very pretty, Betara Lenjang falls are not as spectacular as Sindang Gila but you’re just about guaranteed to have them to yourself and for those who like a bit of adventure, it’s a top outing. Keep your eye out for long tailed macaques and the rare ebony leaf monkey.
Senaru village is located inside the Rinjani National Park on the eastern slopes of the mountain about a 2 hour drive from Sengiggi. There is some accommodation in Senaru and nearby Sembalun if you prefer to stay close by.