Address : Dusun Jetis, Desa Pacarejo, Kecamatan Semanu, Kabupaten Gunungkidul, Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta
Caving and rafting are two outdoor activities usually done in different places and times. That is not the case with this place, which can let you do those challenging activities simultaneously. The place is called Kalisuci Karst Area.
‘Kali’ is a Javanese word that means ‘river’ and ‘suci’ means pure. Just as the name suggests, the main attraction of the place is a river of 5 to 10 meter width with pure water. What makes it different is that Kalisuci flows below earth surface or underground. The stream runs through many caves in Gunungkidul and ends in Indonesian Sea.
Kalisuci Karst Area is a segment of Gunungsewu Karst Range that stretches through three regencies, Gunungkidul (Yogyakarta Province), Wonogiri (Central Java Province), and Pacitan (East Java Province). In Gunungkidul, the karst area covers 10 districts as wide as 13.000 km2 characterized with some phenomena distinguished as exokarst (surface) and endokarst (below surface). The exocarst phenomena includes positive (upwards) forming such as conical karst hills; and negative forming such as valleys (often called poltje) and sinkholes. As for the endocarst phenomena includes caves and the stalactites and stalagmites and the underground rivers.
In 1993, the International Union of Speleology suggested the inclusion of Gunungsewu Karst Area, counting Kalisuci, in the UN’s world heritages list. And President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono himself on 6 December 2004 recommended this place to become an eco karst preserved area.
Today, people come to Kalisuci for cave tubing adventure, which is caving and rafting combined. You can glide in the stream of the underground river on a tire instead of a boat. This is clearly a must-visit place for adventure lovers.
Kalisuci Karst Area is one of three cave-tubing arenas in the world, along with those in Mexico and New Zealand that Indonesia should be proud of having it.
Kalisuci combines two adventures into one tour. Although not as violent as that of Elo or Progo River, the stream is still challenging for everyone. You will not drift in the river with sunshine above your head because soon as you get in the water, you will enter dark tunnels. You only have a flashlight to help you see what is around. Therefore, this tour, usually called cave-tubing, is not recommended for those who have claustrophobia.
There are five caves or tunnels that can be explored one after the other, i.e. Suci Cave, Glatikan Cave, Gelung Cave, Buri Omah Cave, Brubug Cave. Along the way, you can see the beauty of the caves and ecosystem inside them. The windy rivers, the shrubs, and the bats hanging on the roofs of the caves will give you exceptional experience. It takes about 2 hours to go through the 500 meter long dark tunnel.
Aside from being an adventure spot, Kalisuci is also an educational tourism destination. It is often used for speleological and speleogenetical researches.
Kalisuci Karst Area is situated in Jetis Village, Pacarejo Sub-district, Semanu District, Gunungkidul Regency, Special Province of Yogyakarta.
So appealing the place is, unfortunately, there has not been any public transportation operating up to Kalisuci Karst Area. Therefore, you should go by private vehicles, either car or motorcycle. The road is in a good condition. From Yogyakarta, you can reach the place by getting to Wonosari first then continue your trip to Semanu District. Kalisuci is about 10 kilometer from downtown Wonosari.
To do cave-tubing, each person will get charged to pay guide and rent of cave-tubing gears.
F. Accommodations and Other Facilities
For cave-tubing package tour, there are standard equipments such as tire, life-jacket, caving shoes, kneepad, and flashlight. All of these are available for rent on the spot.
There are also other facilities provided by the local people, including parking lot, food stall, and guide service.
Text: Elisabeth Murni
Photo(s): Collection of Jogjatrip.com
Translation: Reza Daffi
(Primary data and various sources)