Lake Toba Sumatra Indonesia A Cool Green Paradise Born out of Volcanic Fire. About 75,000 years ago Planet Earth suffered its most cataclysmic event ever! This event was more colossal than the meteor that eradicated the Dinosaurs, the volcanic eruption that destroyed the Minoan civilization, and the huge volcanic event that created America’s Yellowstone Park. 

This earth shattering event was a gigantic volcanic explosion on the island of Sumatra, the world’s third largest island after Borneo and Greenland. This devastating volcanic explosion blasted many trillion tons of ash into the earth’s atmosphere creating a huge blanket of ejecta that prevented sunlight reaching the surface of the earth for at least 3-5 years. This created a mini ice age. The Toba event changed the course of Planet Earth forever. 



One of the far reaching effects of the explosion was to reduce the human race to just a few thousand people. This in effect created a bottleneck in the genetic development of the human race. Many species of plants, birds and animals were also totally eradicated at this time. When all the excitement created by the Toba event died down the island of Sumatra was left with a beautiful natural lake. Lake Toba’s caldera is over 300km in circumference with the rim possessing mountains of up to 2000 meters in height. 

The lake that was formed in the caldera is the world’s largest and deepest Crater Lake at approximately 75km by 18,5km. The maximum depth of the lake is “sounded out” at 505 meters. The lake is situated 900 meters above sea level. In the centre of the lake is the beautiful island of Samosir. 

Samosir Island was created by a secondary eruption some 75,000 years after the main event. Samosir Island has roughly the same land area as modern Singapore at around 630km2 The lush green island of Samosir rises from the lake, with flat fertile lowlands before meeting a vertical escarpment that rises some 300 meters (1,000ft) to the plateau above. 

The Plateau of Samosir is fairly flat with little vegetation. In the centre of the plateau is a small lake called “Sidihoni” This Lake is said by the local Batak population to have magical mystical powers. Samosir is not a “true Island” as it was connected to the mainland at Pangururan, in the west of Samosir, by a short land bridge (isthmus). This land bridge has now been breached to allow navigation to pass. 


Lake Toba creates its own unique micro climate. The weather at the rim can be hot and sunny, while low cloud and mist hugs the escarpment of Samosir Island. The usual weather conditions at the lake are cool, cloudy days with sometimes a light refreshing rain; this provides a very welcome change to the suffocating heat and humidity found in the rest of Asia. After heavy rains, water can often be seen cascading off of the escarpment in spectacular water falls.



The island of Samosir and in particular its peninsular Tuktuk has been a tourist destination for the last 35 years or so, mainly catering to backpacking budget travelers. However, Tuktuk now tends to welcome well-heeled locals from Medan and farther afield. Apart from tourism; aquaculture, agriculture, and animal husbandry also are practised on, and around the shores of the beautiful lake. Samosir is most certainly a verdant paradise forged from volcanic fire, and many travelers arriving to spend a few days just to chill out often end up staying much longer



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