In the afternoon of 26th August 1883 Mt. Krakatau suddenly erupted with such cataclysmic force that its boom could be heard in Burma to far away Australia. The next day, massive volcanic materials blasted so high causing a gaping gash in its crater and the mountain imploded and sank. The boiling sea brought about huge tsunami waves of more than 10 meters high, devastating the towns of Banten and Anyer on Java and Lampung on Sumatra, wiping out their entire population. The tsunami waves spread throughout the Indian Ocean, and was said to be felt even as far away as France. While Krakatau’s volcanic ash was reported to circle the earth’s atmosphere, creating spectacular sunsets around the globe for two years.
Today, where once stood the mighty Krakatau volcano, a number of idyllic small tropical islands are left in the Sunda Straits between the island of Java and Sumatra. These are the Krakatau islands which consist of Rakata or Krakatau Besar (Large Krakatau), Panjang or Krakatau Kecil (Small Krakatau),Sertung and the Anak Krakatau (The child of Krakatau). While the islands of Rakata, Sertung and Panjang are remnants of the ancient Mount Krakatau, Anak Krakatau is an active volcano that surfaced only in 1927 and incredibly, still continues to grow as a result of volcanic activities below.
Administratively, the Krakatau Islands are located within the sub-district of Rajabasa, South Lampung , in Lampung Province on Sumatra. But, in fact they form part of the Ujung Kulon – Krakatau Nattional Park, which is recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage site.
As the site of one of the most catastrophic natural disasters in the world, the Krakatau Islands are considered today as a massive natural laboratory. Encompassing a total area of 13.735,10 hectares, they comprise 11.200 hectares of marine reserves and 2.535,10 hectares of land reserves, the Krakatau Islands bear considerable importance to scientists in Geology, Biology and volcanology. For general visitors, nonetheless, the sheer view and incredible history of volcanic activities of the islands are surely something worth travelling for
Setting foot on an active volcano is certainly a one of a kind sensation, and if fortunate enough, visitors can watch as the Anak Krakatau volcano presents its active side. “Born” in 1927, the young volcano still frequently ejects smoke, lava and other volcanic materials as it continues to grow higher. The marine environment around the island offers its own attraction as it holds no less than 50 species of fish that live among its unspoilt coral reefs
The island- group along with its marine environment was declared by the Dutch Colonial government as a nature Reserve since 1919, encompassing a total area of 2.405,10 hectares. The Krakatau Islands were later in 1984 incorporated into the Ujung Kulon National Park located on the western part of Java. In 1990, the Directorate General for Forest Protection and Nature Conservation of the Ministry of Forestry assigned the management of the Krakatau Islands Nature Reserve to the Balai Konservasi Sumber Daya Alam or the Natural Resources Conservation Office of Lampung , on Sumatra, with the aim to protect and preserve its integrity as an important conservation site for science and education. In the same year the nature reserve was expanded by the Ministry of Forestry to cover the total area as known today.
In 1991, UNESCO acknowledged both Ujung Kulon National Park and the Krakatau Islands Nature Reserve as an integrated UNESCO Natural World Heritage site.
Krakatau is also commonly known in the English-speaking world as Krakatoa. This may have been attributed to a sub-editor at “The Times” who may have typographically swapped the ’a’ and ’o’ of the Portuguese spelling as he interpreted a telegraphic report on the massive eruption of 1883. Furthermore, the 1969 Academy Award nominated movie, “Krakatoa, East of java” ,-which is geographically misleading, - also aided in popularizing the Krakatoa misspelling .The Smithsonian Institution’s Global Volcanism Program cites the Indonesian name, Krakatau, as the correct name but says that its spelling as Krakatoa is also often used.
For more information about visiting Krakatau Island Nature Reserve,please contact:
BALAI KSDA Lampung
Jl. Z. A. Pagar Alam IB - Bandar Lampung
Telp/Fax. (0721) 703882