Gunung Rinjani is one of the highest mountains in Indonesia with an altitude of 3.726 m. At the bottom of the crater there is a large lake called Segara Anakan, about 8 km long and 6 km wide. The lake is surrounded by steep walls and is located about 600 meter below the rim of the crater.

Nusa Tenggara, Lombok. Rinjani. A traditional Sasak village on the slopes of Gunung Rinjani, this one is located south of Bayan. (Bjorn Grotting)
Nusa Tenggara, Lombok. Rinjani. A traditional Sasak village on the slopes of Gunung Rinjani, this one is located south of Bayan. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Between the lake and Rinjani sits the new crater of Gunung Baru which is only a couple of hundred years old. Rinjani’s latest eruption took place in 1994, when the shape of the crater changed and ash was spread all over Lombok.

Plawangan, Gunung Rinjani
The best view from Plawangan, Gunung Rinjani with Danau Segara Anak. The little mountain on the left is Gunung Baru Jari (2296-2376m) which erupted in 1994. Photo © Tina Rahmawati

Both the Balinese and the Sasak people look upon Gunung Rinjani as sacred. Every year people from Bali come here on a pilgrimage where they bring offerings to the gods and throw valuables into the lake.

View of Danau Segara Anakan
View of Danau Segara Anakan from Plawangan. The name Segara Anakan come from the blue colour of water in the lake, similar with the colour of the sea (Segara = sea, Anak = child/kid). In the background Gunung Rinjani (3726m/ 12224feet), the highest mountain in Indonesia outside Irian Jaya. Photo © Tina Rahmawati

Gunung Rinjani is considered to be as important as Gunung Agung. The Sasak’s prefer to walk up here at full moon to show their respect to the mountain and take healing baths in the hot springs northeast of the crater, known as Kokok Putih.

The mountain is a popular destination for trekking, the roundtrip to the top will normally take two to five days. This is far from the easiest mountain in Indonesia to climb, and you should be in a reasonably good shape before you even consider to try. April to October is considered the best period for trekking here, while November to April is not a good time as the paths can be very wet and slippery. You can hire a guide and “sherpa” at one of the starting points, for example the Sapit village on east Lombok.

Danau Segara Anak,
Danau Segara Anak, which is full of fish, is a bonus for climbers after an exhausting journey from the top of the mountain. Lets go fishing! Photo © Tina Rahmawati

Most trekkers however prefer to start from Senaru on north Lombok and do the northern route to the top and back again. Here you will find guides who know the area well, and also hire tent, sleeping bag and other necessary equipment. You can also arrange the trip from Mataram or Senggigi, this is easier but to a much higher price. It is also possible to do the trip on your own, but this is only recommended for trained people who are used to trekking.

Tree on the top of Rinjani
One of the fancy trees that is found during the trip to the top of Rinjani. Photo © Tina Rahmawati

There are not many facilities on the way, only small sheds. But the reward is said to be great, on the top there is a fantastic view

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Bjørn Grøtting

Photographer based in Norway. See a collection of my best photos in the portfolio. Licensing of images is done through Photoshelter or alamy.
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