Bantimurung National Park is a 480 km2 large nature reserve just 45 km north of Makassar / Ujung Pandang. The name Bantimurang is a combination of the words 'membanting kemurungan' which means 'getting rid of sadness'. The park is famous for its many butterflies. When Sir Alfred Wallace visited this area in 1856 he termed it the 'Kingdom of butterflies'. A name still used till today.
Unfortunately the number of species and amount of butterflies has dropped significantly in the last decades. In the first count there were 270 species, a count in 1997 stopped at 147 species. The last count in 2010 could only found 90 species. Also, besides a decline in species, the total amount of butterflies has dropped significantly: before there were so many butterflies they would gather in groups and drift by in a cloud.
Increased human activity in the area is seen as the cause of this decline. In a response the government has started a butterflies breeding program. But in spite of the decline you can still enjoy the thousands of multi-colored butterflies here especially in or near one of the caves.
Besides the butterflies this National Park is famous for the 15 meter high waterfall. This is the place where most visitors go to. Behind the waterfall are a few caves which you can explore. The waterfall and caves are set in a lush tropical forest with limestone cliffs.
Bantimurang National Park is especially popular in the weekends when local visitors from Makassar head out to the waterfall and adjacent picnic area.
Park entrance is Rp 5,000 per adult. Accommodation to spend the night is available inside the park perimeter for as low as Rp 50,000.
The park can be reached from Makassar by taking a bus heading to Maros. Tell the driver you want to go to the park and he will drop you at a place where you have to switch to a microlet which will get you to the park entrance.