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Waingapu and Surroundings

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. In the evening fishermen sell their catch. 1 km further south is the new commercial centre with market, 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 there.

The old harbour and the mangroves shore are highlights for 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, to the inland, 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 road ends at a bridge. Then you may explore on foot the village on the opposite side, and perhaps climb up the prepared new road. There you have a great lookout.  Everywhere 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.

Another scenic trip inland branches off from the road to Waikabubak at a curve to the Mbata Kapidu. Passing numerous small settlements in the deep green valleys, the road increasingly gets worse and ends in unrecognizable trail in Luku Kamaru.

A longer inland tour begins at the airport, and leads up to Maidang. It has great views of the river canyon of the Kambaniru River. In Maidang you can continue either over the motorcycle suspension bridge to the south or walk through the river to the west. At Lumbung on the other side of the river you get to the waterfall Koalat. Those who want to cross Sumba at this point, have to walk via an unexplored mountain hiking trail, through the uninhabited highlands for about 15 km and 500 meters ascent before you reach the next road at Kukitalu.

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 town, the cleaner are the beaches. 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 town is Kambera (Purukambera), the beach is better and you can snorkel … but watch for Scorpion fish. In Pantai Cemara you can stop off.

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 of the airport. The road is usually about 1 km from the coast, so you have to ask for the way. Please bath in a safe distance from estuaries because of possible crocodiles. After about 15 Km you come to a junction with sign Pantai Li'ie. This is a beautiful private ground with 2 small beaches and a house with open sleeping loft. Shortly after it, a branch goes to Laipori Beach. It is not worth visiting this rough beach. Here arise the first post-colonial villas.