Sumba is known as the “Santal” island due to the abundance of sandal trees that have been a typical feature of East Sumba’s dry, forested land for centuries. In the south-east around Mount Wanggameti, the weather is more humid. The area is also home to rare birds such as the Kakatoa Cempaka that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Visit Wanggameti National Park to get a privileged view over the Sumba Strait; start from Praingkarena and see the landscape unfolding from expanses of coffee and cashew nut plantations to thick forest trails. Admire spectacular 70-metre high Lapitu waterfalls, relax on the staircase of natural pools, discover the sacred lake and swim in the heart of this luscious tropical forest where giant climbing plants create the walls of a magic realm and colourful parrots and cockatoos fly freely.
The capital city Waingapu is worth a visit for its ancient harbour, where you can sample the catch of the day in a picturesque environment. Head northwest to discover the lunar landscape of Sumba’s dry savannah and explore the city’s surroundings to learn about Sumba’s traditional animist culture.
A trip to the traditional villages in East Sumba will bring you back in time and simultaneously make you feel as though nothing has changed ever changed. Observe old local shamans reading divine answers in animal organs and visit Melolo, home to Indonesia’s oldest funerary monuments. Get an insight into this megalithic culture at Rende, a peculiar traditional village with impressive houses and large funerary sculpted monuments. Discover Kawango’s colourful traditional textiles and stop to taste gula lempeng, caramelised palm sugar candies, to gain some energy after climbing up to the villages.
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