Travel Journal: Makassar Trip (Part 2)

Travel Journal: Makassar Trip (Part 2)

After all the food the night before, I couldn’t believe myself that we actually managed to wake up at 5.30 in the morning, to leave for Maros at 6.00 AM. Well..that was the plan. 
Most of us did get up that early, I was about 20 minutes late. Yet our driver, Andi, slept in and arrived at our doorstop at about 7.00 AM. So we finally left, and was already on our way out of Makassar city around 7.20 AM. 
Why am I being overly minute on this? because apparently where we were going, timing is everything. Andi emphasized that we did not want to see the Makassar Sunday crowd vacationing in Bantimurung, so we need to get there at least before 10. We would have enough time to muck about, and leave right on time when other people just start to pours in. 
Bantimurung National Park, Maros
From Makassar, we drove north for about an hour to reach the Bantimurung National Park in Maros Region. The air in the area is noticeably a lot cooler, and you can see a cool waterfall where a lot of locals play and used the waterfall as a huge (yet rather dangerous) slide with the aid of big rubber donuts. 

The Waterfall in Bantimurung National Park, which many locals use as slide

Stairs leading to a pathway into a forest and, in the end, a cave.
Swamp/lake alongside the path. (In reality the colour isn’t all that pretty)

flashlight for rent, Rp. 15,000 (i think)

You will also notice that the area is surrounded by tall Karsts, or Limestone, and supposedly this place should be swarming with butterflies. At least that’s how my brother whom I talked to after my trip remembered it. But all the time I was there, I only saw probably a couple of them.  
If you keep on walking up the stairs, and into the park, in the end of the path you will find a cave where you can see..well, not very much. But there are some stalagmites and stalactite. If you don’t have bring enough light source, there’s a guy outside the cave who will readily rent you a flashlight. I am rather squeamish with damp dark places, so I actually enjoyed the walk leading to that cave more than the cave itself. 
Right on time when the recreational area went from deserted to swarming with people, literally in about 20 minutes when it hit around 10.00 AM mark, we decided to continue the journey and drove for another 20 minutes to Leang-Leang Prehistoric Park. 

In front of the cave’s gaping mouth
 Leang Pettakere (Leang – Leang) Prehistoric Park

In the local dialect, leang-leang means caves, and that’s how the leang Pettakere is widely known by the locals. The caves in this park was found in the 1950s by a couple of Dutch anthropologists who discovered a cave decorated with prehistoric drawings of hand prints, babi rusa or babyroussa, and remnants of kitchen midden in the form of sea shells. There are more than 100 of these caves in the Karst rich area of Pangkep-Maros, albeit not all of them have archaeological drawings. 

The minute we stepped out of our car, a guide working for the park approached us, ready to guide us (in Indonesian) into the caves. They did not explain much, but having them around is helpful to know where you are going. The caves in the park isn’t much of a struggle to go to, but you still need to be careful with your steps. There were only two caves that were shown to us, probably because these two are the only one that shows clear display of the prehistoric drawing. The easiest drawings to notice are the handprints, while the animal ones aren’t really that obvious. It’s almost like before seeing it you got to believe it first, then it shows. 

Can you see the (fine) hand-prints

Annisa on the steep-ish stairs leading to one of the caves

Pade & Jordan trying to discover new ancient drawings ?

In front of the Leang Pettae, the first cave discovered in 1950

The Gang

Kitchen middens or Kjokkenmodinger of seashells


On our way back to Makassar, we passed some really amazing view of open fields  and endless limestone or karsts on the background. Here and there you could see horses grazing around traditional Bugis elevated houses. 

The beautiful view of Maros 

Bugis-Makassar Traditional Elevated Houses

Clear, open, nicely paved road from Leang-Leang Prehistoric Park

Our continued food stops in Makassar for the day:
1. Mie Sulawesi at Jalan Sulawesi 
2. Kafe La Galigo at Jalan Arief Ratte
3. Sunset Watching at Kampung Popsa (“where the young Makassar hangs out” Andi said) 
4. Rumah Makan Surya (too expensive for me)

All of which food reviews I will publish soon. 🙂

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