Sentarum Lake, a Seasonal Wonder in West Kalimantan


Kapuas is one of the longest and most powerful rivers in Kalimantan. It is a bit surprising then to learn that the water source of such great river is a large lake. Sentarum Lake, located in the depth of Kalimantan Island, is a mesmerizing body of water that forever changes.

The vast lake. via Instagram/muhammadvalentholic

Sentarum is a magical place, with a network of hundreds and hundreds of kilometers of rivers, many small islands, and surrounded by magnificent mountains. This is a house of not only beautiful flora and fauna but also wonderful people. Here is all you need to know about Sentarum Lake.


A part of Sentarum when dry season comes. via Instagram/coffeemocca_

First of all, Sentarum is a massive lake. It spans in seven districts in Kapuas Hulu: Batang Lupar, Selimbau, Badau, Jongkong, Bunut Hilir, Suhaid, and Semitau. Overall, the lake has a total area of 132,000 hectares. In other words, there are a lot of places where you can reach the lake. Each place has different characteristics. There are two rivers that feed this lake; Tawang and Leboyang Rivers.


During dry season, fish are trapped. via Instagram/tamannasional_danau_sentarum

Sentarum is the largest pristine floodplain in Southeast Asia. That means that this lake relies heavily on the rainfall to fill its lakes. Consequently, the lake will be full in the rainy season and will dry up during the dry season. An amazing view will come during the dry season. As the water level recedes, the fishes are trapped in the mud. This means a harvest season for the traditional fishermen there.

Diverse Flora and Fauna

The lake is house to a lot of species. via Instagram/indonesiatravel.galery

Overall, Sentarum is home to 265 fish species, 657 plant species, 147 kinds of mammals, 64 types of reptile and amphibians, and 154 types of orchids. There are also many species that are endemic to this area. This lake is vital to all wildlife there as it supports all the life in the area. If you visit this lake, you might be lucky enough to meet the rare animals there.

Local Culture

The lake has an important role in local Dayak tribe. via Instagram/natgeoindonesia

Sentarum doesn’t only support wildlife but also the people living in its area. There are at least 20 thousand people living around the lake, in 45 permanent villages and 10 seasonal hamlets. Most of them are farmers and fishermen. Most people who live here are accustomed to live with nature. They are masters of natural herbal medicines as there are a lot of them in this lake.

Sentarum is a massive lake in West Kalimantan. This seasonal lake is the water source for the Kapuas River. Visiting Sentarum Lake will make you realize just how unique the ecosystem and its close relationship with people there.

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