STARTindonesia - Indonesia website directory




White Sand at Bira BeachTraditional Weaving in South Sulawesi (photo : Makhfudz)Samalona, island near Makassar (photo : Makhfudz)



The odd shape of the island Sulawesi is often referred to as being like the letter K or the petals of an orchid and from a satellite its shape can easily be recognised. The consequence of this distinct, irregular shape is an extremely long coastline relative to the land area of the island. Land masses are narrow so nowhere in Sulawesi is more than 90 km from the sea and it will come as no surprise that many activities in Sulawesi are dependent on the sea and coastal areas.

Satelite photograph of Sulawesi Island showing it's unique shape


If visualising Sulawesi as the letter K, the province of South Sulawesi is its left "leg". South Sulawesi offers a wide range of geographical and natural features and has various ethnic groups, each with its own culture and language. The low lands are mainly used for rice, cassava and corn production. Fisheries are an important source of income in coastal areas and around the islands. Areas that were previously covered in extensive mangrove forest and swamps, are now used for fish and shrimp ponds. In mountainous areas you will find coffee and clove plantations.

The climate in South Sulawesi is wet-tropical with two seasons. See the section rainfall for maps with detailed information.
South Sulawesi has approximately 8 million inhabitants. The main ethnic groups of South Sulawesi are the Toraja, Buginese, Makassarese, and Mandarese. Each ethnic group speaks its own language, which can also be separated into several distinct dialects, relating to different geographical regions. The majority of the Toraja are Christian, while the other ethnic groups are mainly Islamic.

Economic activities in South Sulawesi are generally oriented towards natural resources. Besides fisheries, agriculture, forestry and tree crops, South Sulawesi has mining and limestone quarries (for cement production). North of Makassar (Ujung Pandang) is a small industrial area that is steadily growing.
South Sulawesi's major towns are Makassar (population 1.4 million) and Pare-Pare (population 90,000). The main harbours of South Sulawesi are in these towns.
Makassar is not only the capital of South Sulawesi, but is also the main port for other parts of Eastern Indonesia. Makassar offers an excellent base for trips to the small islands in the Makassar Strait.