From the northern tip of Sumba to Waingapu
This region is the driest and most sparsely populated corner of Sumba. After a long dry period, everything looks dusty, brown and desolate. Sumba horses and Brahman cows seek shadow from the scorching sun under the few trees. When you visit this area from March after the monsoon, the countryside is a lovely lime green.
Tanjung Sasar, the northern tip of Sumba is uninhabited and barren; only on the mountain slopes some trees and shrubs grow. Wunga is the northernmost village and the oldest settlement in Sumba. It was set up sometime in the first millennium. For the people in Sumba Wunga is the source of their history – according to Marapu teaching the ancestors of all Sumba people descended from this village. Either the ancestors came to this island by boat – or by a ladder from heaven. Wunga is still a Marapu village. It seems that time stands still there. Entries in the guestbook show that visitors come here only about once a month. Accordingly, you get received with friendliness by the villagers.
The road there starts 7 km west of Kadahang or the second junction northbound from the road. Then it continues on an increasingly bad road, ending as a path below the village.
Kadahang is a small sleepy village at the most north-eastern river mouth. On the north side of the bridge, on the hill, where the paved road turns to the west, a small track branches off. It leads to a traditional fishing village and the beautiful beach Larodak (Larawali). Kadahang is also the final destination for buses from Waingapu.
Further south, at the mouth of the river Kanatang, is the traditional village of Mondu. 500 meters south of the bridge or 2 km northwest from Kambera beach, at a marketplace, a bumpy road branches off inland. This road leads to the mountain village of Prailiang (Prainatang). After about 3 km you reach a point where you have a beautiful view over the river valley. The village is then up on the hill on the left. The village offers a great view around.
Another access road leads from Londalima Beach with a 5 Km steep climb to the old part of the village of Kuta in the mountains. From there you have a beautiful view of the beaches at the coast and to Waingapu.
In Temu, 1 km before the turnoff to the ASDP port, there is way to the inland. A rocky road leads approximately 5 km to the waterfall Gunung Meja. It plunges in several sections to the valley, if there is any water; otherwise the journey is the destination.
The only way through the northern inland is by motorcycle. Only a few small traditional villages lie in this savannah. The 2 main routes lead across the island fromRambangaru to Lewa and Kadahang to Soru. They are partly very poor and have little traffic. You can use the main routes for trekking to the main road Waingapu – Waikabubak, where you can get picked up. Attention- paths in the reverse direction – from the main road Waingapu – Waikabubak northbound usually end where the cultivated land ends and the savannah begins.
Waingapu is a sprawling town. The oldest part of town is around the old harbour. There it is rather cosy. There are many small shops. 1 km further south is the new commercial centre with the market, the gas station, hotels and banks. Between the 2 parts and within the town area you can still find bicycle rickshaws. The town has only a few multi-storey buildings. Oversized administrative buildings with blue corrugated tin roofs and brightly painted sculptures are on the hill towards the south. At the central crossing next to a small park, a plastic palm tree shines at night in constantly changing colours. Muslims have settled around the mangrove shore. Christians and newcomers settle inland and along the irrigated river valleys. Often they settle according to their former origin and often Ikat is produced.
The old harbour and the mangroves shore are highlights for the visitors. When you leave the main roads, you immediately come to residential areas with individual houses and gardens. Everywhere in between are small workshops and stores. From many hills within the town area you have fantastic views – the colour changes from terracotta tones to rich green areas – brightly decorated churches, flashing, domed mosques, and the pointed roofs of corrugated tin protrude. Half way between town and airport on the right hand side is the traditional royal village of Prailiu. It is unfortunately not as worth seeing as the traditional villages in the area.
A nice half day trip is along the Kambaniru (Kambera) river inland. You go past traditional villages such as Bibi Praing, the Kambaniru Dam and until the end of the road. Here the lush green of the valley and irrigated plantations alternate with rugged limestone rocks and rounded hills that are green or brown depending on the season.
Those who are only a few days in East Sumba, could do the following tour with motorcycle or by car: Waingapu – Melolo – Kananggar – Taramanu – Waingapu. 6 hours driving on a , in parts, rough road, but altogether a good overview of savannah, jungle, and mountain area, with many traditional villages.
A few kilometres northwest of town the beach begins and ends more or less at the northern tip of Sumba. It is interrupted for at least two-thirds by mangroves and rocky sections. At high tide you could swim anywhere, but the area is very dry and there is only little shade and no infrastructure. The sea is either crystal clear turquoise or murky brown depending on wind and waves. The further you get away from the town, the cleaner the beaches are. A fenced shady area called Londalima is located 12 km from the town, for the people of Sumba it is more of a picnic place. About 32 km from the town is Kambera (Purukambera), the beach is better and you can snorkel.
East of Waingapu the water is shallow and there are many mangrove areas. In between, there are 3 nice and clean beach areas near the villages of Kawangu, Watumbaka and Walakiri – where you can swim well at high tide. They are between 3, 5, and 14 km past the end of the runway. The road is usually about 1 km from the coast, so you have to ask for the way.
From Waingapu to the southern tip of Sumba
South of Waingapu it becomes slowly greener. In irrigated areas at the coastal plain are rice fields, elsewhere there are some plantations of coconut and Lontar palms. Just around the river meanders around Kadumbul there are beautiful white beaches. Otherwise, the coast is more rugged, until the beach of Melolo.
Melolo is a small town and trading centre for the east of Sumba. The village lies at the mouth of the river. From here, the roads go south to Baing and west via Kananggar in the mountains to places at the south coast, or via Kananggar and Taramanu back to Waingapu. From Melolo you can reach many traditional villages.
All these villages are located in the fertile delta of the river. The villages, which are always mentioned in travel guides, are Umbara, Pau, and Tambahak. Pau is certainly the highlight, but there are numerous other villages, which are also very interesting. In all the villages you find stone sculptures, Ikat and weaving mills. The patterns vary from village to village. In some villages traditional jewellery is made. The route to all these villages begins from the Waingapu road, just before the bridge over the Melolo River, and leads directly past or into the villages. You do not need an Ojek – within several hours walking you will have passed a good part of the river delta.
When you follow the road towards Baing, you will come to Rende (Rindi) and Praiyawang 7 km south of Melolo. There you see huge stone graves and the houses are bigger than in other places in Sumba. Here you can also see house walls made of buffalo skin. Ikat and woven goods are produced – not only for tourists.
The village is situated above a beautiful green valley of the Pinduwahu (Watumbelar) river. At the river bridge the road leads up the river to Tamburi and some other traditional villages. The asphalt ends on the hills and after 30 km the road leads, via a plateau with a lot of small settlements, back to the main road in the Mangili district. Another road leads just past the river bridge downstream to the village Kayuri and other attractive traditional villages. You have particularly beautiful views of the valley from the hills on the south side of the river.
The road runs through grass and cultivated land, far away from the coast. There are several access roads to the coast.
The first branch leads to Tanaraing, a typical Bugis village. It is located in a shady grove of coconut palms. The beach is sandy but very flat.
The next two branches at Heikapatu lead to small mangrove-fringed beaches. Except for a few fishermen and people cultivate sea grass, nobody lives here.
10 km north of the eastern tip of Sumba there are broad and white beaches again. Some roads lead there and some sandy paths lead further from beach to beach.
At Kabaru a 10 km road leads directly to the beach, the most eastern point of Sumba. 1 km north from there is the tiny village of Nusa and in front of the beach the tiny rugged island Pulau Nusa. The people punt you there with a dugout. The water is calm and crystal clear thanks to a wide outside reef – ideal for snorkelling. Sun, palm trees, and nothing else – a dream for people who want to escape from civilization … but it is very dry.
From Mburukulu a 10 Km long road leads along some corn plantations to Teluk Undubay. Only a few people live here. They cultivate sea grass. The he beach is not very convincing. But you can get ferried to the tip of the Tanjung Undu peninsula with a spectacular beach. There is a lighthouse, and from there you can walk along the beach south for about 12 Km.
Some kilometres south of the lighthouse is a shipwreck. In spring 2014, 68 refugees from Afghanistan and Syria tried to get with that thing to Australia. However, the engine failed, and they were stranded here.
The next road branches 1.5 km south of Mburukulu. A poor way leads to the small sleepy fishing village of Maukawini (Maukawini means village without women) with an apparently endless fine sandy beach, which is protected by an outside reef. The way along the beach to the south ends at the Kaliongga River which is notorious for its crocodiles. Near Maukawini there are several ancient burial sites, accessible along sand paths.
From the main road 2.5 km further to the south at Lambakara you reach the ancient burial ground Okawatu via a 3 km confusing path towards the coast. With about 16 hectares it is the largest megalithic tomb area in Sumba. Many Rajas of the early period of Sumba are buried here. It is rumoured that also some sailors of the Magellan trip in 1522 found their final resting place here. The site is surrounded by a stone wall. Many graves are hidden in the thicket; many were opened in the course of time. Pieces of pottery testify to that.
A little bit further you get into the district of Mangili. This area is fertile and densely populated. The plain is irrigated. Along the main road there are numerous small villages with megalithic tombs, most of them decorated with colourful ornaments and figural representations. About half of the villages are Christian. If there are no crosses on the graves, it can be assumed that it is a Marapu village and you should be very careful when entering.
From the main road in Mangili 2 roads turn eastward to Kaliuda. Kaliuda is famous for its Ikat. In many homes you see women working and the weavings are often stretched on frames in front of the houses. 2 beaches belong to Kaliuda. You reach the northern beach from the bottle-filling station with the dome of a mosque, turn here in the direction of the coast. The beach Hangaruru is rather simple and partly not protected by a reef. The coconut palm forest behind it provides a lot of shade. At the southern cliffs, there is a beautiful shady path to the neighbouring bay and southern beachBenda (Laindunga). This southern beach can also be reached via a gravel road that branches off south of the Luanda River Bridge. The road ends at the mouth of the Wuluwamu River- you must wade through it in order to reach the nicer part of the beach. The beach is protected by a reef. The water is crystal clear, turquoise, and invites you for diving or snorkelling.
South of the Mangili district a road branches off to the mountains. It passes the new settlement Kuruwaki and ends in Lulundilu or Haray (Hararo). Thereafter, only the northern road is drivable. It starts before the river bridge and goes via Wairara onto the road Melolo Kananggar. The landscape is increasingly hilly and beautifully green with some secret lakes. There are great views of the southern and eastern coastal region. Along the way there are numerous small traditional villages.
The paved main road goes further just behind Baing. Buses from Waingapu end in Baing. The settlements at the coast around Baing belong to the village named Kalala (Kallala, Kalalla). Between Baing and Kalala there are numerous lakes. After the monsoon season they are filled to the brim. In the dry season they shrink to small ponds. Here flocks of migratory birds from Australia nest and breed. Where it is still green hundreds of water buffalo are grazing. Around the lakes a maze of sandy paths lead to the coast.
The coastline is surrounded by a far off riff. Between reef and coast, there is a super white beach. At high tide you can swim anywhere. You can get paddled to the reef with one of the old outrigger boats. This is a good area for snorkelling. With increasing low tide, the current is quite strong. At low tide the villagers harvest their seaweed cultures here. You can also spend hours walking along the sandy beach. At low tide you can ride a motorcycle or horse along the beach. The 2 beaches Tundawai and Mengabiko (Menangaboro) northeast and outside the reef are good surf spots and are usually only accessible by motorcycle. Mr. David’s resort is located on the south-western end of the reef. There is a steady wave for surfing and swimming.
In 2012, the construction of the port Baing directly south of the resort of Mr. David started. The ferries to Savu and Kupang should start here. But the waves stopped the project. Since Mr. David predicted that this will happen, it is now known under the name “David’s revenge”.
In Baing the road splits in 2 directions. The northern route leads through the village for a while, past imposing tombs and then meanders picturesquely through the deep green Baing River valley dotted with palm trees, past some traditional villages to Laipandak. From here you can only walk to Haray (Hararo) or further inland (cf. above).
The southern road goes over a bridge. After 500 meters, a road branches off to Watu Parunu Beach. The beach has very fine sand; the waves come in shallow and comfortably. When you continue you will reach Pintu Parunu, a picturesque gate in the rock. To get there you have take the dirt track towards the coast before the road goes uphill. Altogether you can make a nice circular walk of 2 hours from this. The rock arch is visually – but not geographically – the south end of Sumba. Behind Pintu Parunu the street is an adventure:
From the South tip of Sumba to Wanokaka in the Southwest
Along the south coast, between Baing in the east and Wanokaka in the West, there are only occasional road links – in some cases there are only access roads from the north to the south coast. Bridges are rare, so that you cannot get through in the monsoon season. People live only where the land is fertile, and you only find trucks there. Otherwise, you have to rely on your own vehicle. The first few kilometres between Baing and Parunu Pintu show you what to expect further on.
Although the road to the west of Baing was paved some time, but is eroded totally and nearly no longer passable. 7 times you have to wade through a small river and kilometres long over rubble. Here you cross the nature reserve of Tanjung Ngunju. The landscape is tropical green – countless butterflies and birds flutter around you while the monkeys hide in the thicket. You drive past beautiful bays and beaches, over several mountain ranges and rivers, until you see human beings again in Kakaha. The beach of Kakaha, Manoekangga is about 10 km long, untouched, white and has fine sand. It is nice to look at, but swimming is only possible at low tide because of strong undercurrent. In this area there are no traditional villages but many new settlements. People live on the fertile plains and do farming.
You also get directly to Kakaha over the mountain road from Waingapu or Melolo. You also have to use this road if you want to go further west. After crossing the NgonggiRiver, you have to turn left to Ngonggi. There is a lot of farming in this area. More people live here, they are farmers and it is beautifully green. Ngonggi itself lies in the flood plain and has many large wooden traditional houses. Most are brightly painted. Just off the coast is the village of Lalindi. From Lalindi a small stone path leads to the river mouth and to Waihungu (Tabuati) beach. The beach is constantly shaped by the river mouth and is only suitable for swimming when the surf is moderate.
From Lalindi you have a great view of the highest mountain of Sumba Palindi Wanggameti. To the mountaintop you can only get from the inland. A detailed description can be found via the link site. The starting point for this hike is Desa Wanggameti.
Continuing to Tawui you dip into the jungle on the southern edge of the Laiwangi Wanggameti National Park. It goes inland, past many rivers and tropical vegetation. The road is completely eroded with many dangerous steep descents.
There is only one single turn-off on the route towards the coast (paved in 2014). 2 km downstream you reach Katundu. Katundu is a tiny sleepy village. It has a nice bright coral beach which is well protected by a reef. At low tide you can walk around the steep rocky walls to neighbouring bays. Once a week, there seems to be a boat to the southern offshore island of Salura. Several hundred Muslims live there. Visitors of other religions are possibly not welcome. In 2015 pear for boats to Salura will be built. The neighbouring Manggudu Island is uninhabited. There was a surfing resort. It was destroyed by the Indonesian army in 2007.
Back to the main line the road leads over a stone beach to Lailunggi. Here end the trucks coming from Waingapu via the road to Tarimbang, Wahang and Tawui or the other way around over Kananggar Ngonggi. Lailunggi is located in the plain of the Bokul and Watumbelar River. All around are agricultural areas. The beach of Lailunggi is mostly rocky. But at low tide you will find some sandy areas and with moderate surf you can swim quite safely.
The shortest route from Waingapu to Lailunggi is via Tanarara, Desa Wanggameti, Katikuwai, Ramuk, and past the mountain village of Mahaniwa. The road is good only in the area of the gold mining project. Trucks go as far as Ramuk. From Ramuk to Lailunggi it is more a mountain trail than a road. It ends up like a river bed in the plain. In the rainy season this part of the way is difficult to make – even for hikers. On the way 3 rivers and many creeks have to be crossed. Sometimes crossing is not possible without help. Nevertheless, the route through the mountains of the Laiwangi Wanggameti National Park is uniquely beautiful. The traditional villages are stuck picturesquely on the slopes and you have a magnificent view of the mountains overgrown with green jungle. One option would therefore be to drive up to Ramuk by truck and walk the remaining 13 km with a descent of 700 meters. Another option would be to go to Mahaniwa, and hike via Waikanabu to the area of Billa at the road Tarimbang – Wahang, which is about 22 Km away. The waterfall Waikanabu is situated in that area.
6 km west of Lailunggi you reach the village and the most beautiful beach of Sumba,Tawui. The beach is almost 8 km long and sometimes up to 200 meters wide. It consists of almost white fine sandy material. There is strong but steady surf (parallel to the beach and too short for surfing). In some places, especially at the 2 ends of the beach, there are rocks in the water, which may be covered at high tide. Apart from water buffaloes and Sumba horses no one bathes in Tawui. The beach is reached via narrow trails leading through fields of fragrant spice bushes. Several small settlements and the district administration lie behind the beach.
If you walk over the cliffs to the east, you have a breathtaking panorama, and ultimately come to a bay for fishing boats. If you walk inland, you pass many farms and fields. Some small traditional settlements are in this area. From Wangga Bewa you can get to the Kahalatau waterfall. It is worth seeing mainly in the rainy season but difficult to reach since it is hidden in the jungle.
The road to the west has extremely eroded slopes. The village of Wahang is at the next bay and has only a small beach. Wahang winds far inland along the river. With increasing altitude, the landscape becomes more tropical. After about 5 km the houses end and the road leads through primary tropical forest. Here it dips again into theLaiwangi Wanggameti National Park. Some kilometres behind the pass a small path branches at the right side off to the upper end of the waterfall Laputi (Laiputi). Here is a picnic area, a small jungle lake, and you have a beautiful view over the valley. A little further, at the beginning of the village, turn right to the foot of the waterfall, this is about 1 km away. Even in the monsoon season, there isn’t a lot of water but its height of 100 meters and the lush greenery around are quite impressive. Back on the main road, it is 500 meters to the traditional village of Praingkareha.
About 3 km from Praingkareha before a curve an access road forks to the left. It is new asphalted and ends at a river crossing. There, just above in the jungle, you can walk to the Laluku (Laindamuki) waterfall. The crocodiles are not supposed to be aggressive. The road then goes further down to the village of Pindu Hurani and the coast, but is not really passable. Above the coast you can reach some traditional villages by foot. The beach is not really suiable for bathing because of the strong undercurrent. Alternatively, you can reach this area in a day hike from Tarimbang.
From Praingkareha the road goes inland along the river. You see many new settlement areas, relatively large and prosperous villages and fields everywhere. Finally the road turns to the west. At this corner, a path branches off to the northeast. It leads across the island. After about 30 Km it ends south of Waingapu at the road Waingapu Tanarara. The main road however winds around the center of the island for kilometres along Alang grass covered hills, until it meets at last the Praipaha-Tarimbang road at Simpang Tabundung.
In Tarimbang you will see tourists again. The village lies at the mouth of a river delta. In the plain you don’t need a guide. In the dry season, the distances are short – in the monsoon season you must walk around the fields and meanders of the river. Upstream are several Marapu villages, a small dam, and a waterfall. Through this, irrigation of the delta will be regulated. You can only reach the adjoining bays with a guide, as the jungle is too confusing. To the east you reach Pindu Hurani and other beautiful original and traditional villages (cf. above) within a few hours. To the west Mambang bay can be reached in a few hours. It is one of the most beautiful bays and beaches of Sumba. Mambang bay is also accessible by a market-out path from Praibakul to Kambaru (cf. below).
Tarimbang can be reached directly from Waingapu or Waikabubak, when you leave the connecting road between the 2 towns at the village of Praipaha (km 47) and then turn to the south opposite the telephone mast. You must also return there if you want to go to one of the 2 main towns. Some trucks do not drive up to Tarimbang but turn 10 km before, at the Simpang Tabundung, in the direction of Lailunggi.
West of the Praipaha Tarimbang road there are some new settlement areas. On the Tarimbang road, in Lailara, a recently constructed gravel road branches there. This road leads also to the traditional village of Praibakul. The gravel road ends behind a new settlement area. Then there is only a marked-out path which leads to the beautiful, white sandy beach of Kambaru (Kambaroe, Kakadu, Kakadoe, Lakakadung), and a trail to Mambang. Both beaches and the jungle around it are uninhabited. The hike to Kambaru is about 10 Km with a 400 meters descent and easy to find – via Mambang to Tarimbang it would be 25 Km and difficult to find.
Praipaha on the road Waingapu- Waikabubak is the last major town in the northern direction. Roads further to the north end when settlements end – depending on the season in a beautifully green or brown hilly landscape.
We continue westward. The milestones on the roadside are important for birdwatchers: Shortly after Lewa Km 7 or Waingapu Km 50, a path branches off towards the south. At another junction you must keep to the left. Then you dive into a jungle valley with many clearings. This is the place where birdwatchers claim that you can see all the endemic birds of Sumba. At Lewa km 5 or Waingapu Km 52 a road branches off to the north and leads to some natural lakes like Lairini and several others, nestling between the rounded limestone hills. Along the densely covered banks many birds can be seen. For non-birdwatchers both locations are worth visiting because of their scenic beauty. The best time for bird watching is (too) early in the morning and at late dusk.
Back to the road Waingapu- Waikabubak, the next town to the west is Lewa. Lewa offers hardly any tourist attractions. The Lewa plain is a great agricultural area. A long time ago, the first villages of the transmigration programs were created here. If you follow the sign Tanarara at the eastern entrance of the town, or the sign Kangeli one km west of the gas station, you get to the southern plateau. There are also some traditional settlements on the way. The road then finally drops down to the coast to the village of Mondulambi (Omatena). Rice is grown around the irrigated Tidas River delta. The amount of water is enough for 2 harvests per year. Everything is beautifully green. From the village to Mondu (Tidas, Kiriwai) beach it is another 5 km along the river delta and mangrove forest. Monkeys, birds, and butterflies will accompany you. The beach is characterized by the shallow estuary. Depending on the tide the water reaches up to the mangroves or is up to 300 meters wide with white and fine sand. When there are not any high waves you can swim everywhere; otherwise you have to be careful.
Lewa is located on the eastern edge of the Manupeu Tanah Daru National Park. Here is another paradise for birdwatchers and it is also worth visiting for nature lovers. You must pay an admission fee for the national park and you need a guide who accompanies you. The National Park Office Kantor Wilayah SPTN is north of the market building. Here you can also get a detailed brochure about the flora, fauna, waterfalls, beaches, and caves in the park. Destinations within the park include Watumbelar, about 20 km south of Lewa. Here you can hike deep into the jungle. The knowledgeable guides show you the birds you can hear, on the display of their mobile phones. Or they play the bird calls in order to attract birds. On the way to Langgaliru, 6 km west you can already see birds from the road and visit an abandoned village and a Marapu sacrificial place in the jungle. A gruelling 2-day tour takes you across the park to the south coast to the beaches of Laitucu and Otur. One of the highlights of this park is the easily accessible meteor impact, Dampak Meteor. The meteor has stamped a crater 150 meters in diameter into the earth and exposed an underground river in the limestone. This river emerges from a cave on one crater wall and disappears into the floor at the other side of the crater. In the dry season you can descend into the 80meter deep crater. The trail to the crater begins at LGR km 8 – through Alang grass.
The only road from Lewa further west runs inland. The landscape is more and more gentle and increasingly green. Sometimes it goes through mountain areas, partly along river valleys. Finally, you will pass through the western part of the Manupeu Tanah Daru National Park. Here are predominantly high dense deciduous forests. After about 35 km you reach the 400 meter high plain of the Anakalang district with the capital of the new district of Sumba Tengah, Waibakul. Actually it is not a real town – but they have already planted a few dozen ugly new administration buildings in the middle of the rice fields.
In this district you find the largest megalithic tombs of Sumba. Starting point to visit this area is the impressive traditional village Pasunga, right across the junction to the south and the market. Who is in transit from Waingapu to Waikabubak, can leave the luggage in any of Warung. The village of Pasunga has several huge megalithic tombs. The villagers are very accustomed to tourists.
If you follow the broad street to the south you reach the traditional village of Kabundukafter 1 km on the right side. In this village new and old is mixed. Here lives the chairman of the Kabupaten Sumba Tengah. His home can easily be recognized by the carport in front of the traditional dwelling. From this village you can get – probably not without accompaniment – to the nearby historical Kampung Makatakeri and Lai Tarung. From these villages you have a spectacular view at the plain covered with rice fields.
Further south, along the rice fields, you come to Gallubakul after 2.5 km just off the road you’ll find the biggest megalithic grave in Sumba (70 tons). Behind and diagonally opposite are 3 large traditional villages. If you want to see traditional houses with alang- instead corrugated iron roofs in the Anakalang area, you must go a few kilometres away from the main roads.
From this location a road leads to the south coast again. After about 30 km to the southeast, in the middle of the Manupeu Tanah Daru National Park, you reach the bays and beaches Konda, Maloba, and Aili (in guidebooks usually “Kondamaloba”). The way to get there is through agricultural areas, coffee plantations and then through hilly terrain overgrown with Alang grass. From the park entrance with a height of 650 meters begins the descent into these bays. Finally, the road splits. The road to the eastern bay Konda is dangerous steep and unpaved. The bay is almost uninhabited. The beach is black and mostly sandy and shallow. The surf is steady but not dangerous. The beach is 5 km long with some impressive rock barriers in between. The road to the western bays Maloba and Aili is paved. The bays are tropical green and with a lot of flowers. The Sendi Praigaya River plain is overgrown with jungle. Many monkeys, birds, and butterflies live in it. Inland there is a small village. There are 3 beaches; they have all fine bright
yellow sand. The 2 side beaches have no waves; the main beach has pleasantly cooling surf.
You can also reach these bays with a hired boat from one of the fishermen in Waihura in Wanokaka or from Ama Homestay in Rua. There are no other connections between Konda, Maloba, and Wanokaka.
From Gallubakul there is also a 9 km southwest road to the Mata Yangu Waterfall. From Waikabubak to the waterfall it is 15 km towards Anakalang, then turn south 10 km at the sign “Dameka”.
Behind the confusing sign at the entrance to the park, you have to continue the road about 3 Km more. Somewhere at the way, on the left side there is another sign. From there, you have to ask around. It goes cross country through Alang grass and jungle – 200 meters downhill – remember you’ll have to climb up on your way back! The waterfall tumbles 100 meters down into a turquoise pool. Perfect after a long hike. Everything is beautifully green and many birds and butterflies buzz around you. From Mata Yangu to Lai Popu waterfall downstream it is 1.5 km jungle and another 100 meters downhill. The 2 tracks are almost invisible, it is slippery in the jungle, and often the way is blocked by fallen rocks and tree trunks. Without a guide, good condition, sturdy shoes, and plenty of water these tours are not feasible.
For the western part of the Manupeu Tanah Daru National Park you can get a guide in the Waikabubak National Park office in Jalan Adhyaksa Km 3. A road from Wanukaka is under construction, it currently ends at Lai Popu.
20 km west of Waibakul is Waikabubak, situated 400 meters on a plateau and with a pleasant climate. The town is a good starting point for exploring nearby traditional villages and the attractions in Central and West Sumba.
The centre is tiny and has only a few longitudinal and cross streets. In the evening water buffaloes and horses are driven through the town and at the central crossing soccer is played. The 2 and solar-powered traffic lights stop working soon after sunset.
The town also has a tourist office. The employees are well informed about what’s happening in the town and its immediate surroundings. It is at the extension of Jalan Veteran in the vicinity of the hotel Artha.
Nearly on every wooded hill in the town and around there are traditional villages. To explore them you need no guide.
Direct in town are:
– Kampung Tambelar lies within sight of the soccer field
– Kampung Tarung and Waitabar west of Jalan Ahmad Yani
– One village is located east of Jalan Ahmad Yani via by a small driveway
– One village north of Jalan Veteran, in sight of Artha Hotel
– Four villages are located southwest of the bus station, between rice fields
Seventeen villages are located east of Jalan Gajah Mada and south of the street to Waingapu. These include the Kampung Elu, Praiijing, Gollu, Bondomarotto, Prairami, and Primkateti. All are within walking distance; the farthest is 4 km away from the town.
A little further away, north of the town and less often visited, are many other villages, including the Kampung Tambera (approximately 10 km).
A hike to traditional villages east of Waikabubak can be combined with a subsequent descent to the river delta of Wanokaka. For that you start east of Jalan Gajah Mada then hike from village to village in the east. After about 3 km (as the crow flies) you get to a small road which is slowly curving down to the south and ends after 10 km at the Wanokaka Waikabubak road. On the way back you take a Bemo. Alternatively, a circular route with views of Wanokaka and back to Waikabubak is possible. Alternatively you can go down to the Lai Popu waterfall (cf. below) and try to get a hike back.
West of Waikabubak offers 2 tours: Go by Bemo 10 km up to the sign Waikelo Sawah. There is a small waterfall in southern direction and later down the road there is a great view of the irrigated rice fields on the plateau.
Or go by Bemo 13 km up to the sign Loko Winne. South of the road you reach interesting grave fields. On the hills around the graves are several traditional villages. Particularly noteworthy is the original Marapu village of Weelewo.
You have to walk there and back, but you can combine the 2 destinations by walking south of the main road from one destination to the other. It is difficult to get lost here, the area is densely populated.
Wanokaka to the western tip of Sumba
Just a few kilometres south of Waikabubak you have a magnificent view of the vast Wanokaka River delta of Wanokaka (Wanukaka) district, with rice fields and the southwest coastal area of the Lamboya district. The rising hot air out of the plain forms a strong thermal wind, bald eagle and other large birds glide up in circles. You are almost at the beach. But in between, there’s much to look at.
After 8 km the road to Lamboya branches off on the right. Continue downhill to Wanokaka. After 4 km you get to Taramanu. It begins on the left of the road and winds around the river and rice fields in the plain. Taramanu has many traditional houses.
You also get to Taramanu when you turn 3 km east of Waikabubak into the side road to the south (at the corner are about 7 tombs). This road leads to the end of Taramanu before the second river bridge. The last monsoon has taken away a lot of this road.
The waterfall Lai Popu can be reached when you turn left 500 meters behind the second river bridge. You will not manage to walk there on your own because villagers are waiting to escort you at the end of the road. The path leads along the river, across rice fields, 2 bamboo bridges and through beautiful, green jungle. Expect about an hour’s walk. The path is not difficult but wet and slippery. The waterfall drops down sixty meters over many cascades. You can swim in the river. The road from Taramanu to Lai Popu has just been completed in 2013 and it unfortunately destroys all tropical magic – too bad since the journey was the reward.
Turning back and then left you get to the eastern edge of the river delta. Here are many traditional villages, for instance the village of Hupamada at the first turnoff. The village itself is now mainly in the plain, but the traditional part and the Rumah Adat are still on the mountain top. A dangerously steep gravel road has just been built up there. From the top you have a great view of the river delta.
Some trails branch off to the mountain side and some lead to remote villages in the jungle. Maybe you find someone in the village who will accompany you to this rarely visited area.
Finally the main road ends and you climb steadily uphill. A few kilometres further you come to a settlement built in 2008. For this settlement they built a gravel road to a small private mini beach. Another road leads to the idyllic Lailiang beach with white sand, clear water, and little surf. At the end of this beach, the road continues further into the tropical Waikadjelu River valley and paths lead to other villages in the jungle.
Back on the main road, 16 km from Waikabubak, on top of a hill, is the traditional village of Waigalli and just beneath Praigoli. Both villages have impressive megalithic tombs, the oldest are in Praigoli and these are the oldest in Sumba. In Praigoli you find also the most famous megalithic stone of Sumba the fleur-de-lis or “Lakaruka Jiwa Tada Bita Laka”. From both places and their surroundings you have great views over the bay. Unfortunately, not all houses are roofed with Alang grass, and you can tell from people’s behaviour that quite a few tourists pass here.
Past the bleachers of the Hoba Kalla Pasola, after 18 km, you arrive at Wanokakabeach and the tiny dreamy fishing village of Waihura. It is crowded here when there is a lot of fish, around the monsoon and at the March Pasola. The flat white beach borders on the river delta. On this side of the river, the surf is very strong and there is no shade. In the dry season you can walk through the river to the other side of the river delta. There are shady trees and the sea is bluer and calmer. Far out I once saw some kite-surfers …
From Wanokaka to the west you walk over hilly terrain and past numerous traditional villages to the village and Rua beach. You start in the fishing village of Waihura at the beach of Wanokaka. Uphill you come to the traditional village of Wangli – with great views of the bay. And just above you reach the village of Waiwuang – with surely the best views of the bay. There are quite a few paths from village to village. You need to ask locals for the way. From the beautiful village of Pahola you can descend to the beach of Rua. Expect at least 4 hours, with 300 meters ascend and descend. If you need a road, you must return to Praigoli, there is a road to Rua (a direct road is under construction). The road to Waiwuang turns off half way at a primary school.
The view of the bay of Rua is ruined by a dilapidated pier and a run-down water park resort. The beach, to the left of the pier, is 2 km long and consists of fine white sand. You will find a calm place for bathing somewhere even when the surf is strong. There is a lot of seaweed and garbage because of fishing on the beach to the right of the pier.
In the next bay to the west is the Nihiwatu resort. As an Indonesian or a simple traveller you are not welcome there. All roads are blocked there because the owners want it that way. Directly above or behind Nihiwatu are many traditional villages, they can be reached by usually unpaved roads. The main roads run inland, around the resort. Half way you reach the village of Kabukarudi.
From there you can see the pointed roofs of Sodan beyond the river valley on the hilltop. Sodan is the village with the highest ascend in Sumba. To get there you need to cross the Kadengar River. You start opposite the market of Kabukarudi. On the opposite side of the river, a new path is under construction. It leads with several switchbacks to the village. Or you can go up straight the original direct way, in total 180 vertical meters. Another possibility for getting up begins 2.2 km further west from of main road in a curve. First go down to the river, then along it, then past several picturesque traditional villages, straight up. Both ways are worthwhile, it is really quite original and super scenic.
The traditional village of Kadengar (Kadengara), a few kilometres further west was completely destroyed by fire in 2009 and is now resurrected in corrugated iron at the bottom of the former hill of the village – what a pity. But in the valley of the Kadengar River there are other villages that have retained their original character.
On the hill behind the bridge over the river, you come to a fork of the road and a grandstand. Here the February Pasola is held. Throughout the year, local people are training here. Straight on the road leads after 3.5 km to Marosi (Tarikaha) beach. Before, after 1.5 km on the right you see the Sumba Nautil resort with the chalet of the owner. Left of the road several ways lead to very picturesque traditional villages like Waru Wora and the beaches Etreat and Kerewe. In Marosi the site for the proposed hotel is already fenced.
You can turn right along the beach or left over cliffs to the neighbouring beaches and look for a suitable swimming, surfing or kite-surfing area. Marosi, however, has the clearest water and the lightest sand. The beach is protected by a reef which has established itself on a sunken volcano on the right hand side.
Directly at the junction to Marosi or 1.5 km further west or 2.5 km further at the traditional village of Litikaha the road goes up to Tokahale and Malisu (Nalisu). From there you have a super view over the beach and the reef. There is also kept an anchor from a British ship that ran aground in 1838. The residents do not seem quite so happy about the many visiting tourists.
Shortly behind this place, the area for the tourist’s ends, the people become friendlier again. Behind Weetana the road becomes very poor. To Kodi there is no direct transportation. Locals prefer the detour via Waikabubak and Waitabula. But the direct route is worthwhile…
From the main line many tracks and paths branch off towards the coast. They usually lead to small traditional villages above the predominantly steep coast, but also to some small beaches, such as Gaura. So you have to ask your way. There are also a few potential surf spots for experts.
At the exit of Weetana an initially good road leads to the place of the March Pasola Weetana / Gaura. There is a great view of the rocky coast and surf to the east. To the west Mambang beach begins (there are 2 with this name on Sumba). The panorama ends at cape Tanjung Mambang. Here there are only climbing paths down to the beach. The eastern and smaller section of the beach is bordered by a river. But you can wade through (further cf. below).
3 km after leaving the village of Weetana a road branches off inland. It is the only and direct connection from here to Waikabubak. It goes first through the mountains, then along the Polapare River, and it ends at Elopada, west of Waikabubak. Along the route there are several small waterfalls and cataracts, as well as lots of birds and monkeys. Halfway you get to Dikira. From there a climb to the holy mountain Palindi Jawila (Yawila) is possible.
2 km further the bad road to Kodi turns right. The good road leads straight to the western part of the Mambang bay. There is a small village. The people plant rice in the plain and fish. Some visitors to the Pasola use this place to stay and then wade along the beach to the Pasola place. The western part of Mambang beach is 3 km long and marvellous. Some small rock barriers can easily be managed. The beach is protected by a reef – so far away that there is pleasant surf again.
Directly behind the Tanjung Mambang is another beach. You have to explore the way there yourself, but the landscape is relatively open. This beach is not protected by a reef and has generally strong surf.
Halfway between the road to Kodi and Mambang a gravel road branches off to the east. It leads to the expert surfer beach Katobo (Katoba) with extremely strong surf.
Continuing towards Kodi you drive for miles through a cocoa plantation. From the workers’ settlement of the cocoa plantation, a farm track and path leads to a narrow but very quiet beach. The buyer calls it Ritabeach – is not really an Indonesian name.
At the end of the cocoa plantation you have to cross the Polapare River. The descent to the bridge is dangerous; some vehicles have already landed in the river. The rocks and beaches at the river mouth are called Watu Malando. From the bridge, you cannot get there. You must ride 3 km from the bridge to the school Panenggo. There turn left and take the second path to the left again. Because of the tides and currents Watu Malando is not suitable for swimming but just something to look at: white limestone cliffs, blue water, and lush tropical foliage, gorgeous.
About 3 km further there are several paths that lead towards the cliffs and also to various beaches. Just ask the locals for the way. Here the water is crystal clear, but the surf is often too strong for swimming.
Just before the steep descent to the bridge over the Mocha (Mokka, Lambatana)River, turn left for Wainyapu. Wainyapu is another place for the March Pasola. For this a huge field with stands has been built. The village itself looks more like a museum than something where people really live. There are 30-40 traditional houses – but the amount does not really count.
8 km further you reach Bondokodi in the district of Kodi. Kodi is the westernmost district of Sumba. It is well known for the highest roofs of traditional houses. Sometimes these roofs look like pointed caps, they bend somewhat – lacking only the bobble. Tourists also come because of the beaches and for surfing. You can bathe for sure, but if you are looking for gorgeous tropical beaches, you will be disappointed.
Despite the protective reef the surf is very strong at high tide. The beach stretches about 20 km from the western tip of Sumba to the southeast. Bondokodi is the regional centre and 2 km from the coast, Pero, a small village at the coast. Bondokodi is Christian – Pero Muslim. Both places are the starting point for excursions to the villages in the area.
To the southeast, the following round trail of about 10 km is possible: In Pero you must be ferried across the Bondokodi River. Then walk along the beach to the megalithic grave stone on Ratenggaro beach. The village on the other side of the river and the bay is Wainyapu. To get there you must cross the river – by boat or on foot at low tide (cf. Wainyapu above). Then back again across the river and along the road. First you will pass the village of Ratenggaro. At the entrance of the village you see delicately decorated tombs. Several of the village houses have been rebuilt after a major fire with the help of a wealthy Indonesian woman. 500 meters further you will pass the village of Paranobaroro. There is the house of the Rajah of Kodi with the supposedly highest roof in Sumba. On the way back you pass other villages. Via the river bridge, you get back to Bondokodi and Pero.
In north western direction, from Pero over narrow paths behind the beach or from Bondokodi over the asphalt road, you reach the first villages and burial grounds after about 2.5 km. In about 6 km you get to Tosi (Tossi). There are also stands for the February Pasola. Along the road one village follows another and one burial ground another.
The western tip of Sumba is again extremely dry. A narrow road splits from the traditional village Waikaroko and runs parallel to the coast through the savannah to the traditional village and beach Karoso (Karosso). Here the beach is wider again, with fine sand and pleasant surf. Further east, steep cliffs begin. Between the rocks is the beach Huma, the private resort Mandorak and the turquoise lagoon Danau Mandorak, which has an underground connection with the sea. Here the way along the coast ends.
Further east are some very tiny beaches. They are so small that fishing boats have to be pulled up by ropes during high tide. To this area you get through a maze of newly created gravel roads. Between Pemuda and Waitabula such a way leads to 2 circular sinkholes filled with brackish water. All around, it’s lovely green.
The coastal strip between Kodi and Waitabula is densely populated with intensive agriculture. The people live scattered in their lands or in traditional villages. The harvest is often not enough to live on, because of the drought. This area is one of the poorest in Sumba.
Traditional villages are not only near the coast but also inland. The further you move away from the coast, the wetter and more fertile the ground gets. Small villages are everywhere, hidden in dense foliage. On the way towards Waitabula you also pass teak, banana, and cashew nut plantations.
Alternative to the direct road Kodi- Waitabula, there is also the possibility to drive to Waitabula or Waikabubak via a mountainous area, Matakaporo, and Marokota. The scenery there is beautiful and green, it is lonelier but the road is partially eroded. The first part of the road via Dikira to Waikabubak is difficult to pass.
The area between Waikabubak and Waitabula is densely populated. There are more modern buildings; traditional settlements are located further away from the road. All the year round the area is green and is used intensively for agriculture. Before you go down to the dry north-western plain you have a fantastic view of the region.
There is Waitabula (Weetebula), the “capital” of the newly formed district Kabupaten Sumba Barat Daya and next to it Tambolaka. Sometimes the town is called Tambolaka, like the airport. In town is the centre of the Catholic Church of Sumba. Waitabula has a cathedral, the hospital Rumah Sakit Karitas, a Rumah Kolping and a kind of monastery, Rumah Retreat St. Alfonsus. This is a well maintained property with monks’ cells, cloisters and meeting rooms. It is a place of peace and seems to belong to a different world. Waitabula is also a trading centre for the west-facing villages. It has the largest and permanent market on Sumba and a 2 lane main road. As a precaution the ugly and swanky new office buildings were built westwards, 10 km towards Pero in Kadula. 2 km towards Pero is the Sumba Cultural Research Conservation Institute. It was founded and is directed by Father Robert Ramone (cf. Links for his website). It has an extensive collection which is well worth seeing. Also the buildings themselves and the surrounding Palm Garden are very special.
The Tambolaka airport is situated north of Waitabula and so is the coastal and harbour town of Waikelo. Waikelo has the only port for large vessels in West Sumba. From here a ferry goes to Sumbawa. West of the harbour is a beautiful white sandy beach. The inhabitants of Waikelo are Muslims originating from the Bugis. The magnificently painted houses are in total contrast to the rather sandy brown surroundings. It’s very quiet here – unless a ship is coming in.
12 km further east is another Muslim settlement of the Bugis, Katewel (Katewela), quiet and even dreamier, with a mosque from 1001. The village has a beautiful sandy beach. The beach to the east is Kawona. It will soon to be exploited commercially… and in the inland Jatropha plantations are planned. The residents of both towns are fishermen. They also boil salt with washed up tree trunks for fire wood. The coastal region is very dry and agricultural use is not possible.
Between the 2 places, the new tourist spot Mananga Amba (Kita) is planned. A hotel and a road along the coast just have been built. The hinterland, however, is completely dry and uninteresting. Vegetation and trees are only at the western edge of this area. There is the small traditional village Oro. After 2 fires it has been rebuilt in the original way. Next to it is a small resort with a beach.
Only a few kilometres inland it is green and there are cashew nut plantations. Partly, the water from mountainous areas is led here and used to irrigate the plains for rice cultivation. At the first mountains there are traditional Sumba villages again.
To 2 of these villages, Bondo and Kapambu, you get like this: before the road turns to Katewel at Karuni there is a burial ground, there you take one of the 2 trails and go upwards. Both villages are predominantly Marapu villages and still well preserved in their structure. There is a great view from one village to the other and to the coastal plain.
The village Totok (Chotok, Chodok) is more difficult to reach: Just off the bend to Katewel you have to drive inland along the paved road. Always keep right. The village can be seen from afar at the right. The road goes up to 400 meters and after 8 km you reach the village. The last steep kilometres consist of concrete lanes. Due to the location and views, as well as its originality Totok is one of the most beautiful villages of Sumba.
From Waitabula to the northern tip of Sumba
This area is similar to the northeast of Sumba and extremely dry. Just after the monsoon, the landscape is lime green. Otherwise, only the valleys and estuaries of the rivers are lush green like oases in a terra cotta coloured hilly area. Unfortunately, in the dry season the people partially burn the vegetation so that the hills sometimes look black. In the river valleys bananas and rice are grown, and corn in the semi-arid areas . The landscape hardly changes along the north-western coast. Only on the hills many kilometres inland it becomes lush green, and agricultural land begins again.
Between Lokory in the west and Mamboro, the only major town in the area, there are few villages. One km behind the junction of the road from Waikabubak you get to the beautiful traditional village, Waiwarongu; there you must turn towards the coast. All the houses are still covered with Alang grass and there are many interesting tombs. 7 km further is Mamboro (Memboro). This place is divided into a Muslim district of immigrants and various traditional Christian or Marapu villages. The Muslims are mainly fishermen and live right on the beautiful sandy beach and the Kalada River mouth. The villages around are situated in the flood plain and on the mountains. From the village of Manua Kalada you have a magnificent view of the deep green river plain and the surrounding mountains.
Between Mamboro and Kadahang there are only a few river valleys and estuaries, and only there a few original settlements. Along the road and the beaches a lot of new settlement projects were produced from thin air – however, many houses and some entire villages have since been abandoned.
There are sandy sections in many places on the coast. The beaches are not special but truly natural. There is only little vegetation, no shade, and no infrastructure. Exceptions are Mamboro Bay and Lenang, half way between Mamboro and Kadahang.
The roads are mostly asphalted. If you’re travelling by motorcycle you maybe reach Waingapu faster from Tambolaka than by the inland road – even despite terrible sections – hopefully you have no breakdown. The road from Waibakul to Mamboro is in good shape. The roads from Waikabubak to Mamboro or Lokory as well as from Elopada to Lokory are passable. Trucks are rare on these roads.
At the end of Lenang bay shortly before the northern tip, the road turns inland and then goes eastward. You will see the traditional village of Wunga, the starting point of this description, 7 km off the east coast.