East Sumba

Travel Guide Lesser Sunda Islands Sumba East Sumba

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Introduction

Waingapu, capital of East Sumba regency, is the biggest town on Sumba, counting about 40,000 inhabitants. The town grew around a bay which forms a natural harbour. Most visitors choose Waingapu as base for exploring Sumba, though Waitebula comes in as a good second since its new Tambolaka airport terminal was opened in 2015. Waingapu has a dozen or so hotels and homestays, several eateries and car rentals.
East Sumba regency covers 7,000 square kilometres including four smaller islands. In 2015 its number of inhabitants passed 250,000. The original population still adheres to a hierarchical division of society. One belongs to either the royals (maramba), the custodians of tradition (kabihu), or is a commoner (ata). Although most Sumbanese nominally are Christians, many still practice their ancestral religion called Marapu. Their cermonies and rituals are an additional attraction for foreign tourists.

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Geography

A large part of East Sumba consists of limestone hills where only grass will grow. But the valleys in between hide rivers and lush vegetation. Indeed the two longest rivers in Sumba are in East Sumba, Kambaniru river (110 kilometres) and Baing river (300 kilometres). Laiwangi Wanggameti National Park in the south is home to eight endemic bird species. Within its 470 square kilometres there are several caves attracting adventurers. There are some good surfing spots on the Indian Ocean coast, among them Tarimbang beach and Manggudu island.

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Towns

  • Waingapu
  • Melolo
  • Lewa

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Sights and Activities

The following attractions have been identified by the Tourist Authority of East Sumba. Some of them are not yet easily accessible.

  • Taman Wisata Matawai is a green recreation area in Waingapu town with a swimming pool fed by two springs.

Traditional villages

Megalith tomb in Wundut village

Megalith tomb in Wundut village

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  • Kampung Prailiu, a traditional village on the edge of Waingapu town towards the airport. Provides accommodation to those who want to immerse themselves in Sumbanese culture.
  • Kampung Wunga, said to be the first and oldest village in Sumba, strictly adhering to the original customs. Located 63 kilometres north-west of Waingapu in Haharu district.
  • Kampung Hama Parengu is an archaeological site. The village, that has long been deserted, was surrounded by a stone wall and therefore also referred to as the castle Hamaparengu. There are megalithic tombstones, cannons and giant cauldrons. Located in Kanatang district north-west of Waingapu, but reaching it requires a two hours’ walk.
  • Kampung Praiyawang, one of the larger villages with a row of tombs in the centre featuring carved ‘totem poles’. Located at 69 kilometres from Waingapu in Rindi district, easily reached by the coastal road south.
  • Kampung Umabara, once the administrative centre of Umalulu kingdom, now Umalulu district. Still a centre of weaving craft. Approached by the coastal road south, a short distance inland from Melolo town, 66 kilometres from Waingapu.
  • Kampung Wundut, a small village near Lewa town on the western border of East Sumba. The main ceremonial house was recently renovated with government subsidy.

Beaches

Watu Parunu Beach

Watu Parunu Beach

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  • Pantai Londa Lima - A sandy beach only 12 kilometres north of Waingapu and therefore a favourite of local people. Warung available.
  • Pantai Tarimbang - On the south coast, 100 kilometres from Waingapu. Among surfers known as "nine rolls".
  • Pantai Purukambera - White sandy beach only 26 kilometres north of Waingapu. Here is a newly established but pricey 'homestay'.
  • Pantai Walakiri - White sandy beach at 24 kilometres east of Waingapu. Locals come her in the afternoon for the breeze and the sunset. For swimming you should come at noon.
  • Pantai Watu Parunu - A sandy beach where locals harvest sea weed, bordered by a cliff with holes in it. At low tide (late afternoon) one can walk through the holes to a secluded beach. It's a long drive, 162 kilometres south from Waingapu, but the road is sealed all the way.
  • Pantai Kiri Wei - One of the best beaches on the Indian Ocean coast, with panoramic views of unspoiled nature. Near the coast are natural bathing places known as 'dating pools'. Located in Mondulambi village, Lewa Tidahu district, 120 kilometres from Waingapu.
  • Pantai Pindu Hurani - Also on the Indian Ocean coast, in Pindu Hurani village, Tabundung district. Close to the beach is Laindamuki waterfall, habitat of crocodiles considered sacred by the locals.

Waterfalls

Tanggedu Waterfall

Tanggedu Waterfall

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  • Air Terjun Laputi, located in Laiwangi Wanggameti National Park.
  • Air Terjun Hirumanu, a two-tier waterfall of 75 metres height. Located in Kananggar village, Paberiwai district. Getting there involves a 120 kilometres drive and an hour’s walk through unspoiled savannah scenery.
  • Air Terjun Gunung Meja, a three-tier fall at only 15 kilometres from Waingapu town. However, until a road has been constructed approach is by a rough two hours' hike inland from Londa Lima beach (also known as Kuta beach) in Kanatang district.
  • Air Terjun Koalat
  • Air Terjun Kanabu Wai
  • Air Terjun Iwi
  • Air Terjun Tanggedu, located in Kanatang district, 40 kilometres from Waingapu. From the nearest village where one can park it is an hour's walk down and up the ravine of a tributary and down again to the fall.
  • Air Terjun La Winu

National Park

  • Taman Nasional Laiwangi Wanggameti - In 2016 Sumba's two national parks, Manupeu Tanah Daru and Laiwangi Mangameti, have been brought under one management. Together they are referred to as MaTaLaWa National Park. They are home to 84 species of birds, 10 species of mammals, 49 species of butterflies, 29 species of reptiles, 173 different types of trees and more.

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Events and Festivals

Palapang Jara, or horseracing with young boys as jockeys, can be witnessed every third week of the months of June, August and October in Prailiu village, Kambera district.

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This is version 21. Last edited at 21:12 on Jan 12, 19 by Utrecht. 2 articles link to this page.

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