Waterfalls for the adventurous

Enchanting Land- the Berkelah Waterfalls

This Waterfall or waterfalls were admired by the many who had seen them. Very natural settings and beautifully carved out falls. As it is located in a sparsely populated locality, it is difficult to identify any landmark for those who have not being there to make entry to the waterfall area.

Perhaps this brief write-up may will give a better impression on the access. Along Federal Route 2 to Kuantan from Maran, 42 kilometers before destination, you will come across a bridge with this signage.
To make identification of destination even more prominent, a couple of attractive stalls have opened. On the opposite side of the road is the pump house for the waterworks.

This is adventure land! River trekking, walking through 'desert', wondering where the river has disappeared to and behold! Waterfall after waterfall.

The regular mode to reach the waterfall area, is to get transported overland by 4X4 vehicle through the mini-estates for 8 kilometers { as mentioned in the book on "Waterfalls"}. Alternately, which most people traveling on a budget do, is to follow the river beside the pump house. The river trekking and hiking trail is only 5 kilometers. Either method too, will meet up at one mid-point, then follow the same trail to the end. i.e. when the motorized tracks end.

Just for the archives and for those of you who cannot find the way-in. First move, following the river upstream is an easy way and best bet.

Water level is quite low, between 20-30 cm deep. It is walking and not wadding for a distance of about 1.5 kilometers. This should take close to an hour as progress is slow.

Then, after this stretch, it is nice broad track among low brushes for a while.

Here after completing a third of the way strolling on the river bed, the group trekked through this desert-like basin terrain, there was some difficulty in seeing the track, but we stayed close to the river basin.

You need experienced eyes to discern the foot prints left on sandy ground.

Now this first portion described here will be relevant to those reaching this place by public transport i.e. Bus

You lucky guys with cars- it is good & bad news too! Surf On-

Those coming from the river will also meet up at this same place, you walk - they drive!

Things have changed somehow, this time we were able to take our car all the way in and parked it in an area with the hills as background. There is now another access road in, normal saloon can ply without problem cutting short all the terrain mentioned earlier.

Caution! In the last months, reports that this new road was not properly upkept, making difficult for cars to go through.

At this point, after the arid landscape earlier on, the terrain changes into a type with low bushes and dry river bed.

Another new feature is the concrete path that is paved to lead trekkers through these confusions. This critical entrance helps to prevent hikers going the wrong way in an area where every corners looks alike. The paved path confirms it all.
It is only a short path, and very quickly revert into a laterite trail. Not all confusion is over! Avoid the temptation to follow other trail seen on this dry river bed! The river at this point has gone underground.

There is a sign to show the overall distance to the fall as 700 meters, but takes a good 30 minutes walk, cement path and laterite trail.

Caution: There are rumors about this place being "uncleaned" Many reports of visitors getting lost. For us, there are reasons and over confident is the main one. Open country gives the impression that it is easier to spot distant landmarks. No- it is also make recognizing immediate tracking signs more confusing. 2 places are misleading, the dry river bed above and trekking by the river bank.

Stay by the river side and don't try to venture out!

At the end of the short hike is the first campsite in the woods and also the magnificent looking fall No. 1. Watch out for the 'model' in all pictures. This is to provide a better impression on the relative size of falls. This twin falls is about 30 meters tall.

All the waterfalls here have one distinctive feature, they have pool at the base, ranging from fair size to large. Very deep and dark blue in color. Without land clearing [just starting] the water is perpetually clear. The stony geology with sharp drops forces the strong water power from floods to dig deep. The effects of the vertical forces from sudden down pour do not work on the edges to widen but deepens the pool area.

This 1st waterfall above is preceded by 2 gorgeous looking 'baby' falls, some 25 meters above.

Now we continue with more waterfalls and their appearances. If you think that the 1st waterfall is large and majestic, wait till you see those further up! The tallest falls being the 3rd and the last - 4th fall.

2nd fall is splitted into a twin fall. Here is a glimpse of the left half . This a 35 meters drop The right flank is hidden from view.
The whole hill is actually one huge granite block Waterfall No.1 shown earlier is where the river finally reaches level ground. Higher up into the hills, the river cut through the 'stone' hill.

This fall No. 3a. on the left. The drop is only 6 meters tall but look at the size of the pool!

Last but not least, after 90 minutes of slow and cautious trekking by the steep banks, the grand finale.

Innermost Berkelah waterfall

Behold that breathtaking sight of the 150 meters tall drop. One of the tallest, dramatic and seen by only the few strong willed trekkers.

The journey up to this point can be budgeted as follows:

River Trekking - 2 kilometers - 1 hour
Desert/ low bushes - 2 kilometers - 0.5 hour
Car park to 1st Fall - 1 kilometer - 0.5 hour
1st Fall to last Fall - 3 kilometers - 1 hour

Profile of the river - moving from downstream upwards.

1] Broad flood basin - sand and low scrubs, river trekking and desert
2] Overflow Plain- Broad plain, tall grasses and loose boulders, underground river
3] Rock wall carved by river- broad at 1st fall converging into ravine with steep wall
4] Broad base steep ravine where river make right angle turn- last fall

Most day trip visitors do not find time to move all the way up. Here is one scene taken from the top of the starting point

Up above 1st Waterfall

While the banks are near vertical, it is fairly easy and safe to slowly ascend the first fall. The view from the top is quite dramatic.

There are safe campsites along that few kilometers stretch of unspoilt natural wonderland. Safe from rising water in the night and on dry land away from the banks.

We had the pleasure of meeting up with Miss Asmaliza Abdullah and the "Latepackers Inc.". They are members of IIUM Adventure and Recreational Club.

To the lesser prepared trekkers, let me assure you that the hard walk is definately worth the efforts. The view of the water is superb and unique.

A journey with the overnight stay at this destination - an ultimate venue for adventure.

Again, the area is also acknowledged to be treacherous.

We should ensure that it remains well-preserved, at least the area besides the river banks.