Madakaripura Waterfall – East Java, Indonesia

Maria Goncharova Indonesia, Travel Blog Leave a Comment

Madakaripura waterfall

Beautiful and powerful Madakaripura waterfall is one of the waterfalls in the area of Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park. It’s the biggest waterfall in East Java. The water has cascades from the dense forest above. You need to go 20 minutes and climb the cliffs before you can see the main waterfall. But the stunning glory of rumbling water going down from the cliff is worth the effort for sure!

To be precise, the Madakaripura is a set of seven waterfalls, the biggest cascade of which falls from a height of 200 m. The bottom part of waterfall is no longer flowing streams of water, it turns into a mist of cold prickly rapid splashes.

This waterfall is not typical for Southeast Asia. Usually they are small and are not impressive, mostly they look like natural SPA than miracles of nature. But Madakaripura is really majestic and ruthless. The gorge around highlights the power of falling water. The place looks mysterious and dangerous, and it is so.

Waterfall Legends

Madakalipura waterfallMadakaripura is not only a beautiful place, but also a historical one. A legend of this falls is connected with the name of Gadjah Mada, who was a prime minister of the largest Javanese empire Majapahit. In 1355 Vuruk Khayyam an emperor of Majapahit gave lands in the area to the prime minister. Gadjah Mada refused revenues from these lands until he unite all Indonesia lands under Majapahit flag.

Madakaripura is also called as “the last residence of Gadjah Mada“. According to a legend, the 60-year-old prime minister dissolved in the air near a waterfall. He has not been found by the emperor or by anyone else.

It’s believed that swimming in the Madakaripura falls give health, strength and youth.

Road to the Main Cascade

To get to the canyon with a 200-meter waterfall you have to walk about a kilometer along a mountain river, and then another 500 meters along the river under other four waterfalls. Yes, that’s right, the one and only road goes through rocks under cold waterfalls. So prepare raincoats, camera protection and comfortable shoes which are going to be totally wet. It’s better to roll up your pants and jeans because the depth of the river can be up to the knee.

Local people offer everything you may need on parking: umbrellas, raincoats, slippers and guide service. The road itself is quite safe, so you don’t really need a guide, but locals don’t like those who refuse to pay. So it’s your choice: saved money  or good relationships. Like usual in Indonesia, the guide will not tell you stories, but he will help to cross the river and insure in dangerous areas. The price is negotiable; usually it’s about 50,000 rupees per person or about 100,000 rupees for a guide.

Warung under Madakaripura waterfall

Warung under Madakaripura waterfall

You can find warungs on the parking lot and after the bridge where “dry path” ends. A toilet is available only on the parking lot.

Best Time to Visit

Madakaripura fallsIt’s better to visit Madakaripura falls in the morning, because in the afternoon rains passed in the mountains can turn the small mountain river into a roaring stream, and trees can fall down from the 200-meters height to the pool of the main waterfall. You can see stumps of fallen trees all around.

Is it Safe to Swim Under Madakaripura Waterfall?

Madakaripura waterfall

Top of the main cascade of Madakaripura waterfall

To be honest, I went to the place with a firm intention to take a dip. But when I saw the yellow-brown pool surrounded by falling trees and felt stings of cold water spray, my desire disappeared. After warm turquoise waterfalls in the Philippines, Madakaripura looked cruel, dirty and unwelcoming.

However, all this stuff didn’t stop Andrey. According to his words it was very hard to swim there: “I felt a strong flow of a very cold water, water spray sticked into the skin like thousands of needles. On the way back my hands went numb because of the low temperature. The way out was very difficult because of a complete lack of strength, despite the fact that I spent very little time in the water”.

Short video of our trip and Andrey’s swimming (much better than photos):

How to Get to Madakaripura Waterfall?

Unfortunately there is no public transportation that go to the waterfall. So you can either rent a car, hitchhiking or travel within a group. Since the site is located near the Bromo volcano, the travel to Madakaripura Fall usually combine with a trip to the valley of volcanoes in Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park and journey to the “Indonesian Mordor” – Ijen volcano.

Read here how to get to the Cemoro Lawang village (the main transit point of Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park) from Surabaya International Airport in East Java and from Bali island.

From Cemoro Lawang village go to Tongas town. Go about 6 km after Sukapura. Near Sapih village you’ll see the road sign to turn to Madakaripura Falls on the left side of the road.

Accommodation and Facilities

Usually travellers stay at hotels in small villages near by Bromo. Cemoro Lawang village is the most popular one. I could recommend Sion View and Bromo Permai hotels which are very close to Bromo volcano. In general I must say that facilities in this part of the island are pretty simple.

Map of Main Places

General Information:

  • Date of the trip: 21 of February, 2015
  • Place: Madakaripura Waterfall
  • Location: Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park, East Java, Indonesia
  • Nearest town: Probolinggo
  • Time for visiting: 1-3 hours

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