Sustainable local project worth supporting
In 2006 a tsunami devastated Pangandaran and Batu Karas with loss of life and damage to much of the coast—locals have reflected on the experience and researched positive ways to prevent future destruction.
As mangroves play an important role in coastal areas to stabilise and prevent erosion, local youth began initiatives to conserve and expand the mangrove forests that surround the local beaches and set about educating the public on their importance. The Centre of Mangrove Restoration and Education (Pusat Restorasi dan Pendidikan Mangrove) was opened in December 2015 and the area has developed with a mangrove nursery and work continues to rejuvenate the coastal forest.
A short network of boardwalks about 250 metres through the mangroves offers pretty coastal views. Through clever marketing, by tapping into the local love of the selfie, and promoting the boardwalk as “the love bridge”, the mangroves have since become a popular ecotourist destination favoured by young couples for its romantic atmosphere (although signage warns “no immoral acts” with an illustration of a couple holding hands).
As well as the educational aspects, the initiative has increased economic empowerment of the local community. Win win. By supporting this excellent project you will be rewarded with attractive scenery and the opportunity to spot birdlife and the small critters that breed in this muddy ecosystem.
Unfortunately some of the boardwalks could do with a little maintenance, but most is in good condition. The mangroves are mostly immature and as yet don’t provide much shade, so bring a hat.
The Mangrove Centre is about four kilometres from Batu Karas Beach and is a little tricky to find. From the main road that heads into Batu Karas, before you hit the beach, turn left into Jalan Sanghiangkalang and continue until it narrows to a track passing ricefields. From here access is best by motorbike, bicycle or foot. Turn left when you see a group of fish breeding ponds and continue following the paths until you see the entrance to the mangrove centre.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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