They flew into Labuanbajo in the west of Flores to begin their adventure in Komodo National Park. They boarded a small, private liveaboard boat and headed out to to the archipelago for a refreshing snorkel and a picturesque sunset trek. This was just a taster.
The following day saw them snorkeling with the multitudes of reef mantas at Karang Makassar. This is an amazing experience and these beautiful creatures are a wonderful sight to see as they glide over the reef in the current or pause by a coral head so that the small butterfly fish can clean them of parasites.
This was followed by a land excursion to Komodo island to visit the endemic Komodo dragons, scientifically described in 1912 as Varanus Komodoensis. These treks also give you opportunity to see deer, water buffalo, macaque monkeys and other forest creatures as well as visit the village where the locals are permanent neighbours to these reptiles.
There are plenty of islands in Komodo which are great for trekking; not too strenuous, great views, stunning beaches and unusual nature and wildlife. One of the highlights is the trek on Gili Lawa Laut with the great photo opportunity of the view over the park…
…and the island of Padar with it’s famous pink sand beach.
They enjoyed one night in LBJ before flying to Ende on the south coast of Flores. This is a journey that can also be done by windy road across the island but a plane is always quicker! The journey up to the village of Moni on the side of Kelimutu volcano is interesting for both it’s natural wildlife and cultural heritage; from “arak” distillation and fresh palm juice tapping to bombardom music, a traditional musical instrument made of bamboo. Gerald and Lark had the opportunity to visit some traditional villages with the houses which are built in the ancient Lionese style.
The highlight of the area is definitely the tri-coloured crater lakes on Kelimutu volcano. These three lakes regularly change colour and have been known to be colours varying from reds and browns to turquoises and greens. The local Lio hill tribes revere the mountain of Kelimutu and the crater lakes. Although most of the people are officially Catholic their animist traditions mix uncomfortably. They believe that the lakes are the spiritual resting place of their ancestors. Tiwu (‘lake’) Nuwamuri Ko’o fai is the ‘lake of the young men and maidens’ so those that died young. Tiwu Atapolo is the ‘bewitched lake’ so is for the spirits of bad people and Tiwu Atambupu is the ‘lake of the old people’. The Lio people believe that the colour changes of the lakes are a result of neglected ancestral souls. Geologists believe the cause is the oxidation-reduction status dependent on the balance of volcanic gas input and rainfall rate which is mediated by the groundwater system in the volcano itself.
The route back to Ende will pass through the megalithic village of Bena which follows the different tradition of the Bajawa tribes which can be seen in their “Ngadhu” and “Bhaga”. Ngadhu and Bhaga are conical thatched roof huts which symbolize their male and female ancestral spirits.
If you would like to spend more time visiting the beauty and diversity of Indonesia then contact Damai Tours for your bespoke land tour.