The Dark, Otherworldy Landscapes of Tengger Massif, Indonesia

Tolkien fans would swear they stumbled into Mordor when they come across this fearsome place.

The Tengger Massif is a smoldering volcanic complex surrounded by a vast sea of whipping black sand found in East Java, Indonesia. This terrifying landscape emerged from a caldera of an ancient volcano upon giving birth to five new volcanic cones which now lie across each other around the mother crater.

It’s found at 2,100 m above sea level in one of Indonesia’s protected areas, the Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park which spans a total area of 5,250 hectares. Its  mysterious cloud formations, mind-blowing topography, and fascinating wildlife give it an otherworldly feel.

Its most prominent peak is Mount Bromo, towering at 2,329 m high and endlessly billowing smoke and steam across the barren landscape. The other volcanoes are Mount Batok (2,470 m), Mount Kursi (2,581 m), Mount Watangan (2,661 m), and Mount Widodaren (2,650 m). All peaks are active except Mount Batok, which is now covered in vegetation. Mount Widodaren possesses a cave considered sacred by the local people Tengger.

Visitors can ride horseback across the Tengger Sand Sea and pretend to fight off orcs and oliphaunts. The best views of the Tengger Massif is during the red sunrise.

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