So you heard about the beauty of Rinjani, and you have put it in your Indonesia trip itinerary.
Did you know that you will probably be one of the 200 other hikers to go up the mountain on the same day?
Rinjani is “bleeding” by the high number of tourists trekking up its slopes daily. Trash accumulated on hiking paths and camp sites, trees being cut down to make hiking sticks and camp fires that run the risk of turning the mountain into ashes are leaving a heavy footprint from the hiking activity.
Here are 10 practical tips that you should follow to minimise the impact of your visit on the natural environment and also on other visitors while enjoying your hike on Mount Rinjani.
- Book green trekking guides
Choose wisely your trekking company, as only a few are following green hiking guidelines. “Green Rinjani” and “Rudy Trekker” have been some of the known ones with good practices. Green Rinjani groups plant a tree every time, while Rudy Trekker are leading cleaning expeditions collecting trash from the mountain.
- Remove rubbish
Plan your trip to minimize rubbish by not taking bottles and cans. Rinjani has a “pack it in –pack it out” policy, so be sure to carry out of the pack whatever you carry in. Bonus points: take 1-2 plastic bags per person with you and collect all garbage you can find on your path or camp sites and bring it down (with the help of the porters), especially plastic, metal and glass.
- Camp with care and bury toilet waste
When camping, leave no trace of your visit. In areas without toilet facilities, bury your toilet waste in a shallow hole well away from waterways, tracts, campsites and shelter.
- Keep to the track
By keeping to the trail, you avoid trampling undergrowth and risking getting lost in the forest.
- Take care of fires
Portable fuel stoves are less harmful to the environment and are more efficient than fires. If you must use a fire, keep it small and make sure that the fire is out before leaving by dousing it with water and checking the ashes. Also avoid burning plastic garbage, as the debris is toxic to the environment.
- Keep streams and lake clean
Wash well away from the water source by talking water in a container. Soap and detergent are harmful to the creatures that live in the streams alike, drain used water into the ground.
- Respect cultural and natural heritage
Help protect the spiritual and historical significance of Mt. Rinjani by respecting the local culture; it is considered a holy mountain. Conserve the flora of the National Park by not removing anything. That includes cutting young trees to make hiking sticks. Walk quietly trough the forest so that you do not disturb the wildlife that you and others have come to see.
- Live and let live
Enjoy your visit and before leaving the area take one last look – will the next visitor know that you have been here?
- Bonus points: plant a tree!
Plant a new tree with your hiking group to accelerate the natural restoration of the forest.
- Spread the word
Speak to the other hikers, as well as guides and porters about the importance of following good hiking guidelines. If you see someone littering or being careless of the environment, don’t ignore it but speak to them and help them understand what they are doing wrong. As the old Chinese proverb says: “Tell me and I will forget. Show me and I will remember. Involve me and I will understand.”
Help conserve the environment at this gorgeous natural park and leave it unspoiled for future visitors!
Have some extra tips of your own? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!