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The Southwest of Sumba

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 Lamboya district. Rising hot air from 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 to the west. Continue downhill to Wanokaka. After 4 km more, on valley bottom, you come to Taramanu. It begins on the east of the road and winds around the river and rice fields in the plain. Taramanu has many traditional houses. You can 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 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 come to the eastern edge of the river delta. Here are many traditional villages, for instance the village of Hupumada (Humupada) 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 been built up there. From the top you have a great view of the river delta.

If you follow the way at Hupumada eastwards, you come via Lahona - with branches to the south coast and the waterfall Mata Yangu - ultimately to Waibakul and Anakalang (cf. above).

Finally the main road ends and you climb steadily uphill. A few kilometres further you come to a settlement built in 2007. 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 steep and unpaved in direction to Tangairi, Lahona, and Mata Yangu (cf. above).

Back on main road to Wanokaka, 16 km from Waikabubak, you find 3 traditional villages. Each on a hill and close to each other is Mamodu, Wainadungo and Praigoli. Here you find the oldest megalithic tombs of 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 any longer, and you assume from people's behaviour that quite many tourists pass here.

Past the Pasola grandstands, after 18 km, you arrive at the Wanokaka beach Pahiri and the tiny dreamy fishing village of Waihura. It is crowded here only at the March Pasola and when there is a lot of fish in July/August. The flat white beach borders on the 4 Km wide river delta. You can wade through the river or swim (depending on tide) to the other side of the river delta and look for a place with appropriate surf. The beach is accessible only from the west side. At low tide the village youth practices horse-racing on the beach.

From Wanokaka to the west you walk over hilly terrain and past numerous traditional villages to the village and Rua beach. You start at the fishing village Waihura at the beach of Wanokaka or the traditional village Puli near the last bend before the lagoon. With every meter in altitude the view upon the bay is more beautiful. Then 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 up and down. The road starts also at Puli or the villages around Praigoli. 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. Antonio converts the run-down water park resort into a hotel. The beach to the east 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. On the beach to the west of the pier is a lot of seaweed and garbage because of fishing activities. At the slope above you can recognize the first postcolonial pensioners' idylls.

At 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 a few pointed roofs of Sodan (Sodana) beyond the river valley on the hilltop. Sodan is the village with the highest ascent in Sumba. Unfortunately, Sodan was almost completely destroyed in 2017 by lightning and fire. Maybe it is still worth to make the way there: To get there you need to cross the Kadengar River. You start opposite the market of Kabukarudi. On the opposite side of the river is a new path. It leads with several switchbacks to the village. Or you can go up straight the original direct way; in total it is a 180 meters ascent. 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 paths are particularly worthwhile because of the beautiful views of the landscape.

The traditional village of Kadengar (Kadengara), a few kilometres further west was completely destroyed by fire in 2009. Only 4 houses got rebuilt in the traditional way on the hill of the village, all the others were resurrected in corrugated iron down at the roadside - 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. Marosi 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. 1.5 km before the beach on the right you see the Sumba Nautil resort with the chalet of the owner. Left of the road are several roads that lead to very picturesque traditional villages like Waru Wora and the surfer's beach Kerewe (Kerewee, Kerewei). Some small Surfer accommodations have arisen, and more are under construction. Walking from Beach to beach around the cliffs is no longer possible because fences of private properties prohibit this. Tourism begins... .

Directly at the junction to Marosi or 1.5 km further west or 2.5 km further at the traditional village of Litikaha roads go inland 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 many tourists visiting them.

Shortly behind this place, the area for tourists' ends, people become friendlier again. From the main road many tracks and paths branch off towards the coast. They usually lead to small traditional villages above the predominantly steep coast. In the area of Gaura there are some small beaches such as Ngedo and Watukaka. There are also a few potential surf spots for experts. You have to ask for your way.

Shortly 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. The landscape varies from savannah to tropical forest and grazing areas to cocoa plantation, from plains to mountains. The people live in scattered farms or in small traditional villages.

Some kilometres behind Weetana a new good road leads to the place of the March Pasola direct at the sea. 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 drivable connection from here to the north. It goes first through hilly country, through new planted Cassava (manioc, singkong) plantations up to the Polapare River. The main road goes along between the river and wooded ridges, and it ends at Elopada, west of Waikabubak. Along the route are lots of birds and monkeys. Halfway you come to Dikira. From there a climb to the holy mountain Palindi Jawila (Jawilla, Yawilla) is possible (ask the Kepala Desa), and you can visit the small Lokomboro Waterfall near the PLN power station.

A side road branches off northwest, right behind the bridge over the Polapare River. About an initially rocky track this leads via Waikara to the main road Waimagura Waitabula. In Delo (Dello) is a tiny path west to the Waterfall Pabeti Lakera. There are 2 possibilities to get to the fall, one to the upper part and one to the bottom. 500 meter thereafter is a road eastwards that leads to the beautiful located traditional village Umbu Koba. Shortly thereafter, at Tena Teke a road branches west. South of this road are the 2 nice traditional villages, Manola and Mandeka (Mendeka).

Back to the Kodi Road: 2 km further the bad road to Kodi turns west. 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 are fishing. 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. The construction of a hotel will soon begin ... .

Directly west of Tanjung Mambang is the beach Katobo (Katoba). This beach is only moderately protected by a reef and has generally strong surf. You have to explore the way there yourself, but the landscape is relatively open. From the end of the last beach section of Mambang it is only 1 km.

Halfway between the road to Kodi and Mambang a road branches off to the west. However, it ends soon after a crossing in a beautiful intensive used agricultural area. Narrow paths lead south towards Katobo beach, straight onto a cocoa plantation and north to the road to Kodi.

Continuing towards Kodi you drive for miles through a cocoa plantation. The workers' settlements remember to colonial times, the mansion of the owner to a Chinese palace. Child labour seems to be usual.

With the end of the cocoa plantation the road becomes better. 1 Km further near a church, a road branches to the south. It leads directly to the western side of Pantai Rita. The beach is beautiful, but protected only moderately by a reef, caution when bathing. The terrain is already marked - inscription is in Cyrillic.

2 km later you have to cross the Polapare River. The river is partly 100 meters wide here. The rocks and beaches at the river mouth are called Watu Malando (Watu Maladong). From the bridge, you cannot get there. You must ride 3 km further from the bridge to the school Panenggo. There turn left and follow the asphalted road. At the next corner left you get down to the beach. 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. Straight on you get to the Cliff Tanjung Mareha. From there you can see Watu Malando almost from the water side. On the other hand you have a great view of the cliff coast with some beautiful beaches in between, such as Bwanna.

About 4 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 west for Wainyapu. Wainyapu is another place for the March Pasola. For this a huge field with grandstands has been built. The village itself looks more like a museum than something where people really live. There are 30-40 traditional houses, partly closely built to each other. The view to the other side of the river is great. The places where stone slabs for burial stones are cut out of limestone are worth visiting. A river crossing is recommended only at the river outfall, if you want to avoid an encounter with crocodiles.

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. Beaches stretch about 20 km from the western tip of Sumba to the southeast. Bondokodi is the regional centre and 2 km from the coast, Pero (Perro), a small village at the coast. Bondokodi is Christian - Pero Muslim. Both places are the starting point for excursions to 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 only at the river outfall, if you want to avoid an encounter with crocodiles. (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 highest roof in Sumba with about 30 meters. 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 come to Waijengo. There are also grandstands for the February Pasola. More interesting villages follow, such as Tosi (Tossi) and Bukubani (Bukabani) and endless graveyards.

The western tip of Sumba is again extremely dry. An in the beginning narrow road splits from Bukubani and soon leads to a wide and asphalted road that runs parallel to the coast through the savannah, and 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 are the beach Mandorak, and 500 meters further a small landing for boats. A Kilometre further is the turquoise picturesque lagoon Danau Weekuri (Wekuri, Waikuri), which has an underground connection with the sea. Some years ago the lagoon was only accessible by a hiking trail through the jungle, today everything is already concreted, and there are crowds of mobile dealers around. Here ends the for tourist laid way along the coast.

Only a small path continues parallel to the coast. After 3 km it goes past the lonely beach Huma. After 6 kilometres further you can see the first construction machines. They are milling a wide asphalt swath through the jungle that ends abrupt some metres before the river of Waikelo.

Along this route there are some very tiny beaches. They are so small that fishing boats have to be pulled up by ropes during high tide. In between paths lead some cliffs with great views of the turquoise sea. You get to this area by a maze of newly created gravel or tourist roads. Between Pemuda and Waitabula several ways leads to 2 circular sinkholes filled with brackish water (this are no salt lakes). All around, it's lovely green.

The coastal strip between Kodi and Waitabula is densely populated with intensive agriculture. 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. Further away from the coast, it gets wetter and the ground more fertile. Small villages are everywhere, hidden in green stuff. On the way towards Waitabula you also pass teak, banana, and cashew nut plantations.

Alternative to the main road Kodi-Waitabula, there is also a possibility to drive from the south of Bondokodi via a mountainous area and villages Matakaporo and Marokota, to Waitabula or Waikabubak. The scenery there is beautiful and green, it is lonelier but the road is partially eroded. The southern direct road to Waikabubak is difficult to pass between Waikara and Dikira.