Tread softly, talk quietly recommends the National Parks Board as it invites you to explore – and be delighted by – the experience of walking the MacRitchie Reservoir.
Most of MacRitchie is covered with secondary forest tree species, while it nurtures some of the last precious patches of primary rainforests in Singapore. Native and non-native tree species enhance the majesty of this forest ecosystem that once covered the whole island of Singapore in the 1800s.
Three walking trails suit different interests and fitness levels.
Walking Trail through Windsor Nature Park : 6 kms : three hours : level of difficulty – moderate
Wear suitable walking shoes, as the terrain is undulating with occasional steep slopes. There are a number of small sheltered huts for brief rests, and toilets at a nearby ranger station.
Beginning @ the carpark in Venus Drive, it extends along Venus Link to become Sime Track and ends at the Petaling Hut. Many people make a U-turn and return along the same path to the carpark.
This trail also offers access to the 250m long Tree Top Walk, a free-standing suspension bridge.
This bridge, along with Peirce Track and part of the Petaling boardwalk, is currently closed for maintenance work and is scheduled to re-open in May 2021.
Look out for the long-tailed macaque, the greater racket-tailed drongo, the crimson sunbird.
Chemperai Trail and Jering Trail : 4.8 kms : two hours : level of difficulty – easy
A relaxing walk, suitable for families with young children, with beautiful views of the water, reflections of the sky on the water and backdrops of dense rainforests.
Signs along the trail offer interesting bits of trivia – how to differentiate between moths and butterflies (butterflies rest with wings closed, moths rest with wings open), for example, and how the presence of algae and phytoplankton affect the green shades of the water.
The trail begins @ the exercise station @ MacRitchie Reservoir Park, continues along the Chemperai boardwalk which skirts the edge of the reservoir, past the Jering Hut and on to the Jering boardwalk along the water, and to the edge of the nature reserve. A left turn here, on to the Lornie trail takes you back to the exercise station.
Flora and fauna along this walk include dragonflies, monitor lizards, sun skinks, sea apple trees and wild ixoras.
Prunus Trail and Petai Trail : 3 km : one hour : level of difficulty – easy
The trail begins at the shelter at MacRitchie Reservoir Park on the eastern end of the reservoir, continues along the boardwalk on the waterfront – first the Prunus Trail and then on the Petai Trail; to the junction where the Petai Trail (which ends here) meets the MacRitchie Nature Trail. Turn right on to the MacRitchie Nature Trail to head back to MacRitchie Reservoir Park.
A large part of the trail hugs the water’s edge, and the shade and shelter from trees along the route provide a cool, breezy atmosphere.
Keep an eye open for native creatures of the forest like the Common Sun Skink, the Clouded Monitor Lizard, the Orange-bellied and Slender squirrels and the Long-tailed Macaque. Native birds like the Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, the Pink-necked Green Pigeon, the Banded Woodpecker, the Collared Kingfisher and the White-throated Kingfisher can also be sighted.
- stay on designated trails as you risk disturbing/trampling flora and fauna ff you step off track
- maintain a distance if you encounter wildlife and don’t feed them
- keep noise levels low – enjoy nature’s soundtrack of silences, rustles, bird calls, tweets and cheeps
- keep your group to 5 people or fewer and observe the safe distancing requirements of 1 meter within the group and as well as with other visitors
- wear a mask – required – except when the exercise is strenuous (brisk walking, hilly terrains) and consuming food / drink
- check the weather forecast before setting out
- smoke – the Central Catchment Nature Reserve is a smoke-free area, everywhere
- fly a drone – heed the no-flying signs
- enter the nature reserve and forested areas during stormy weather – there is the risk of falling trees and/or branches
On the 14th of November 2020, The Straits Times carried an interesting double spread on exploring MacRitchie, located within The Central Catchment Nature Reserve. The information in this post draws from their article as well as from the NParks website.