3 years ago
keshie
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Sumba’s southern beaches
Sumba is still one of the least visited islands of Indonesia, often bypassed for Lombok and Flores. It is part of the Lesser Sunda Islands and lies slightly further south than its neighbors. However, just a 1-hour flight from Bali and boasting pristine sparkling beaches and world-class surf breaks, this gem of an island is well worth a visit. There are not a lot of accommodation choices there yet, but with a bit of planning you can explore some of the most amazing deserted coves. Sumba is a large island with a very arid interior. Most tourism lies on the southwest coast and centers around surf and the annual pasola festival. However there are fantastic untouched azure beaches stretching all around the island. This is slowly becoming a must-see place for people seeking tranquility and a place where time seems to have stood still while tourism is booming all around. The beaches vary dramatically in terms of their landscape, depending on the surrounding ecosystems. Sumba is also home to vast tracks of mangrove forest that merge into the sea and rivers around the south central region and further to the east. Valleys of forests give way to endless powder sand beaches, whereas the southwest the coast is characterized by a continuous line of rocky outcrops harboring idyllic bays. In the southeast, in the Tarimbang area, there are some small hotels and some truly breathtaking beaches. Some are accessible by windy and bumpy roads that are slowly being renovated. The main roads out of Waingapu, the capital of East Sumba and Tambaloka, the capital of Southwest Sumba, run through the center and to the southwest coastal area, where many the eastern beaches are located along smaller tracks with more basic accommodation options. However, the natural beauty of the area more than makes up for the difficult journey that you go through to get there. Other parts of Indonesia are being over fished, but in the waters off Sumba there is a plethora of wonderful fresh seafood that will appeal to anyone who enjoys fishing. Simply drop a line and large mahi mahi, barracuda, tuna and snapper are plentiful. A fishing boat is also the best way to explore some of the more out of the way coves and bays that are home to turtles, dolphins and coves where you will hardly encounter a single soul. Some yachts use this route but the main Indonesian sailing tours do not really venture over. Thus, It is more likely that you will not encounter any other tourists at all on this side of the coast. Venturing toward the beaches in the central southern coast, you will reach Manupeu Tanah Daru National Park. Here lie the Konda and Maloba (or “Kondamaloba”) Bays. To get there, one bypasses varied landscape, a lush dense mangrove forest filled with the shrieks of birds and monkeys. This area is a bird watchers paradise and filled with a variety of species. There is, however, no accommodations in this area and you have to head inland to Lewa and its surrounding areas to stay the night, so visit these areas earlier in the day. At lower tide, it is possible to swim both in the sublime estuary and on the beach. However, when the tide is a bit higher, it is a little bit rough and also not good for surf, therefore it would be best to remain cautious. This is the perfect spot for a picnic and exploration of mangroves, which run along parts of the coast. The thick long lianas create a tapestry of trees where birdlife can thrive. Further along the coast is the coastal area around Lamboya where tourism is more plentiful and home to more established, higher-end resorts, one of which does not allow beach access to anyone. However Etreat Beach is accessible and has a hotel just above it, and is a good place to base yourself if you are after a more comfortable beach holiday. With easy access to a sublime white sand beach and shimmering sea, it is easy to lose yourself here. The rocky coastline runs all the way around the west to Tambaloka. Lazy days of sun, sea and surf give way to magnificent sunsets and starry nights. As most of the villages are small with little or no electricity, the stars are visible here as a result of the total darkness and lack of reflection. Although Sumba is a little harder to traverse and has far less amenities than its counterparts around Indonesia, the sheer beauty of this island and its coastline make it well worth the visit.
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