Mt. Rinjani forms the second highest volcanic peak in Indonesia, part of the celebrated “Ring of Fire”. The dramatic landscape has been created over millions of years of cone-building, violent explosions, and erosion. Forested slopes rising directly from the sea create their own weather pattern and act as water-colections for the whole of Lombok.
For the people of Lombok, Sasak and Balinese alike, the volcano is revered as a sacred place and abode of deities. Segara Anak crater lake is the destination of thousands of pilgrims who place offering in the water and bathe away disease in the hot springs. It was built a unique partnership among the major stakeholders to promote responsible tourism in Gunung Rinjani National Park.
Over 20 villages surround Rinjani and there are many routes up the mountain, but the main access is from Senaru in the north, Sembalun Lawang to the east and Timba Nuh to the south. The challenging three-day Rinjani Trek routes from Senaru to the crater rim (Plawangan), down to the stunning crater lake then on to Sembalun Lawang, is considered one of the best treks in South East Asia. Those heading for the summit usually prefer to start in Sembalun Village. The most challenging and more adventures trek, the route of the trek starts from Timba Nuh.
A model for ecotourism in Indonesia, the community-based activities are focussed on the Rinjani Trek Center in Senaru, the most popular starting point for the tough trek. It was developed with New Zealand Government assistance since 1999, the Rinjani Trek Center embodies under one roof the unique partnership of the National Park, tourism industry and local communities that has been forged to manage and protect the Rinjani mountain environment.
The organisation formed was Rinjani Trek Management (RTMB), an organisation to continue the program of Rinjani Trek Ecotourism. It was established in June 2003 after three years consultation with the member of the Gunung Rinjani stakeholders. RTMB was a consultation and coordination forum for ecotourism management in Gunung Rinjani based on participatory principle and integration between government, community, and the tourism industry. In May 2013, the National Park requested the chairperson of RTMB to stop as a partner because it considered the MoU is considered not inline with government regulation no: 36 year 2010 on Forest Protection and Natural Resource Conservation.
Local community of Senaru Village are represented by the Rinjani Trek Center (RTC) and that of Sembalun Village are represented by Rinjani Information Center (RIC). Both are at the main entry points into the National Park for visitors undertaking the Rinjani trek. Similar Centers and community-based organization is required if other main entry points to the Trek evolve.
The RTC and RIC are intended to be the heart of an integrated approach to managing the “Rinjani Trek”. They have been conceived as the joint home of both administrative and commercial activities associated with the Trek. They are a physical expression of a partnership between the National Park, Tourism Industry and the people of Senaru and Sembalun. They provide a “one roof” focus for visitor services, including tourist information and displays about the Rinjani Trek and Sasak culture for both international and domestic visitors.