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  • Boat trip on La'fau River to the interior of Nias Island. North Nias (Nias Utara), Indonesia.

    NORTH NIAS NATURE

Explore the hidden gems of the Islands green interior…

Nias is so much more than just beaches and surf. The interior of the island is an ecotourism haven with a range of natural environments. Most of Nias consists of forest-clad hills crisscrossed by rivers and streams. Hidden in the forests and valleys are stunning waterfalls, caves, small lakes and natural springs. Even though parts of the interior is fairly remote, many people live here making their lively hood from rubber tapping, copra and cocoa farming. Smaller pockets of primary forest remain in more remote areas. This is where the chance of encountering local wildlife is best. Monkeys, wild pigs and deer’s are regularly spotted in the forest. Rarer sightings include crocodiles which were once prolific in all of the rivers on the island. As of now very few visitors venture into the green forests of the hilly interior. Potential activities include trekking, bird-watching, river trips, cave-exploration or just cooling off under the mist of a waterfall.

Rivers and Waterfalls

The hills of Nias are the source of many rivers including Muzoi, Oyo, Tumula, Lafau, Sawo and Sowu Rivers. In addition there are many smaller tributaries, which contribute to the livelihoods of local people. River travel is a great way to explore remote natural areas of Nias. As of yet there are no organised river tours, but local boats can be hired in communities along the rivers, for example at La’fau village in North Nias. As the rivers meander their way down the hills, they are sometimes interrupted by waterfalls. There are 10 known waterfalls in North Nias. Some of them only run seasonally, others are very remote. The following waterfalls run all year and are accessible to visitors;  Luaha Ndroi, Tögi Gana’a and Helewuti (Bohoya) Waterfalls.

Caves

There are many limestone caves across Nias Island. In North Nias there are 15 known caves, but it is believed to be many more. Local mythology often involves tales of spirits and giant serpents living in caves. As a result most Nias people are afraid to go near them. Caves were used as a hiding place during inter-tribal warfare and fighting against the Dutch. Some of the known caves have not been fully explored and it is possible that long underground cave systems exists, waiting to be discovered by adventurous cave enthusiasts. Most caves are located in in Alasa and Alasa Talumuzoi sub-district, for example Nisui’arö , Tögi Heno, Tögi Banua, Simangani, Gua Naworia and Tögi Wiro caves.

Birdlife

Bird watchers have good chances to spot many of the tropical bird species that are also found in nearby Sumatra. In total 219 species have been recorded on Nias. Along the coastline Brahminy Kites and White-bellied Sea Eagle are frequent. In wetlands water birds such as the Purple Heron and Pacific-Reef Heron are common. Other interesting and regularly seen species include; Pink-necked Pigeon, Greater Coucal, Stork-billed and Collared Kingfisher, Blue-throated and Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Oriental Pied Hornbill, Banded Wood Pecker and the Greater racket-tailed Drongo. The most sought after bird species on Nias is the endemic Nias Hill Myna (Gracula robusta). This bird is famous for its talking abilities, and fetches a high price. For this reason it is under pressure from trapping for the illegal pet trade and it is unclear if it still survives in the wild. Locals are adamant that the Nias Myna (called Burung Beo locally) still survives and breeds around Lake Megötö in the far south-west corner of North Nias.

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