Kelimutu National Park

Travel Guide Lesser Sunda Islands Flores Kelimutu National Park

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Introduction

Tiwu Ata Mbupu

Tiwu Ata Mbupu

© theo1006

Second only to the komodo dragons, the coloured crater lakes of Kelimutu rank among the most popular attractions of Flores island. An area of 54 square kilometres around them has been established as a National Park in 1997. Most of the park lies at 1,500 or more metres above sea level, the highest point being Kelibara peak at 1,731 metres. The meaning of Kelimutu is 'boiling (mutu) mountain (keli)'. That name may refer to the last times the volcano erupted. A massive eruption occurred in 1830, and another one in 1869-1870 when the stream of lava reached Pemo village (at three kilometres southeast of the craters). The three lakes each have their own mix of inorganic compounds, which would explain their different colour. Their colour also changes due to ongoing volcanic activity. The Kelimutu National Park Office is located in Ende on Eltari Street.

Local lore

The lakes, lying at 1,600 metres above sea level, are even in the dry season often shrouded in mist. As soon as the sun has disappeared the atmosphere becomes chilly and uncanny. No wonder that according to local belief this is where the spirits of the dead dwell. Spirits of newly deceased have to report to the guard Konde Ratu, who appoints them their abode. At Tiwu Ata Polo - the first lake when you follow the itinirary - must stay those who led a bad life. The adjacent Tiwu Nuamuri Koofai is the place of those who died young. And at the third lake, Tiwu Ata Mbupu at some distance of the other two, dwell the spirits of those who had a long life.

Flora and fauna

Not only the topography of the park is special, it is also home of rare and endemic flora and fauna. Two endemic plant species are the begonia kelimutuensis and the rohododendron renschianum. An endemic bird seldom seen is the ‘gerugiwa’ monarcha sp which has a repertoire of eleven different songs. It is only one of 20 endangered bird species living in the park. Mammals endemic to Flores found in the park are the rattus hainaldi, the bunomys naso (hill rat), the papagomys armandvillei (giant rat) and the sus heureni (Flores warty pig}.

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Opening Hours

The booth at the park entrance - about half way the Moni-Kelimutu road - opens at 5:00am and closes in the afternoon.

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Cost

Entrance fees of the park are as follows:

  • Foreign: IDR 150,000 (IDR 225,000 on Sundays and holidays).
  • Domestic: IDR 5,000 (IDR 7,500 on Sundays and holidays).
  • Parking: IDR 5,000 (2-wheel), IDR 10,000 (4-wheel), IDR 50,000 (6-wheel).

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Sights and Activities

The lake itinirary

Kelimutu Peak

Kelimutu Peak

© theo1006

An itinerary of sealed walkways and stairs leads from the parking past the lakes to Kelimutu peak from where one looks down on all three lakes. One is advised to stay on the walkway and not approach the edges of the lakes because their instable nature. The first lake one encounters, locally named Tiwu Ata Polo, has by far the highest concentration of minerals and the highest volcanic activity, causing it to have a long history of colour change. A billboard lists the colours that have been observed, recently it is a dark green. The second lake, Tiwu Nuamuri Koofai, is usually a shade between green and blue. It is separated from the first by only a thin wall. The third lake lies at some distance and is shaped like a circular sinkhole. It has the most stable colour, dark gray.

The arboretum

Near the parking a 4,5 hectare arboretum has been established. On a 1.5-kilometre round walk one can acquaint oneself with the diverse flora of Kelimutu park.

Hiking Trails

After visiting the lake one can choose to walk back to Moni following a hiking trail. The hike downhill may take three hours. Hardier adventurers follow the trail uphill by night to be at Kelimutu peak by sunrise (and avoid paying the park entrance fee). Shorter trails lead from Moni village to a couple of small waterfalls and hot springs.

Hot Springs

On the road from Moni to the park, still close to Moni, one passes by a couple of hot springs, Air Panas Liasembe and Air Panas Kolorongo.

Waterfalls

Also on the road from Moni to the park, one may visit Air Terjun Wuru Keba. Even closer to the main road there is Air Terjun Murundao, just a 200-metre walk from the Rainbow Café.

Traditional villages

Close to Moni one can also visit traditional villages, among them Wologai and Sa’o Ria.

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Getting There

By car or motorbike

Access to the park is from Moni village, 92 kilometres from Maumere and 50 kilometres from Ende. A sealed road of 13 kilometres leads to the parking from where one makes the round of the lakes and to Kelimutu peak. With an early start it is possible to visit Kelimutu on a day tour from Ende, the trip of 63 kilometres one way by car or motorbike may take 2.5 hours because of the mostly tortuous road. But if you would spend more time hiking through the eerie mountain scenery you should stay one or two nights in Moni village. Another reason to stay there is that the views are best shortly after sunrise. Later on the day they may be obstructed by clouds.

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Eat and Drink

There are several Indonesian-style restaurants in Moni. For your trip to the coloured lakes you have bring what food and drink you need.

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Sleep

There used to be just basic accommodation at Moni. With the rising number of visitors these have proliferated, going by names of Homestay, Guesthouse, Lodge. The Flores Sare Hotel lies in the same budget price range. If you want more comfort and have more money to spend, the “Kelimutu Eco Lodge" will be your choice.

Budget

Palm Bungalows - Farmer Robert and his wife set out building a couple of wood-and-bamboo bungalows in their back-yard. Their place is among the cheapest in Moni, but good value for money. The price includes welcome coffee or tea, a modest breakfast, and a bucket of hot water for your bath. Sleep here with the sound of a brook that skirts the grounds. Located 500 metres off the main road opposite Flores Sare Hotel, three kilometres from the turnoff to Kelimutu.

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This is version 11. Last edited at 16:42 on Sep 5, 19 by theo1006. 4 articles link to this page.

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