Danau Sentarum Festival reveals nature’s beauty and a people’s culture of hope

Posted on 08 February 2013  | 
How does it feel to blow a poisonous pipe to hunt for meat? In the past, Dayak people hunted for meat using sumpit, a traditional weapon using a small poisoned dart or arrow made from light wood.

Now the use of sumpit has become the sport of locals played all over Kalimantan. It is also one of the unique events that can be experienced at the annual Danau Sentarum Festival in West Kalimantan, Indonesia.

Danau Sentarum National Park is a conservation area located in the Kapuas Hulu District - West Kalimantan with an area of 132,000 ha - an area within the Heart of Borneo (HoB). This area is important to West Kalimantan Province as it serves as a water catchment area as well as a water manager for the Kapuas River basin.

The festival, held in December 2012, and created by the local Kapuas Hulu government, is a celebration of the magnificent nature and Indigenous culture of the Danau Sentarum area. This area is one of the largest and most important freshwater wetlands in Asia, with its unique lake and swamp forest ecosystem and high biodiversity of wildlife.

In cooperation with its partners (including NGOs and the private sectors) and involving 23 sub-districts in Kapuas Hulu, the festival is also one of the ways the local government supports the Heart of Borneo ecotourism program.

The four day festival highlights Danau Sentarum as a place to visit, through a display of interesting workshops, local sport competitions, exhibitions and music performances.

Local community groups from all areas of the Kapuas Hulu sub districts display their unique art and culture and locally produced traditional handicrafts such as jewellery, bags and clothing.

A variety of sports competitions are held, such as canoe, sumpit, and pangkak gasing. Unique traditional art and culture such as Dayak and Malay dances and Dayak and Malay songs parades are on display. While musical performances held during the festival present a variety of local and national artists including Nugie.

Focusing on the eco-tourism of the area, the festival holds a competition for a tourism ambassador and a water tour for visitors to Danau Sentarum .

Community workshops and the annual meeting of the people of Danau Sentarum are held in conjunction with the festival. This annual meeting has been held since 2004 and involves an array of activities and cooperation between the communities of Danau Sentarum, local governments, the National Park management and partners to achieve the dreams of Danau Sentarum in 2014.

“Our hope is Danau Sentarum National Park will go forward so that it can benefit the local people living in the Danau Sentarum area,"  said Leo, one of the participants from the Batang Lupar subdistrict.

All communities participate actively in the activities held in the festival. Large crowds and the excitement of the event give the Festival Danau Sentarum its own uniqueness and is expected to improve tourism to the Kapuas Hulu District.
In the past, Dayak people hunted for meat using sumpit, a traditional weapon using a small poisoned dart or arrow made from light wood.
© WWF Indonesia Enlarge
Man using sumpit, a traditional weapon used for hunting by Dayak at the Danau Sentarum Festival in West Kalimantan
© WWF-Indonesia Enlarge
Nugie performing at the Danau Sentarum Festival 2012
© WWF-Indonesia Enlarge
Danau Sentarum Festival 2012 - West Kalimantan
© WWF-Indonesia Enlarge

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required