Laiwangi National Park, Sumba

Sumba Island in East Nusa Tenggara is known for its natural and cultural attractions, such as savannahs, sandalwood horses, traditional villages and the Pasola (ancient war ritual) Festival. In addition to those attractions, the island also has Manupeu Tanah Danu and Laiwangi Wangameti National Parks (MaTaLaWa National Park) in West Sumba regency.

Laiwangi  Wanggameti National Park is geographically consist of hills, valleys, and wavy region, located in East Sumba, East Nusa Tenggara province, Indonesia, which has an area of 47.014 hectares, has rainforest classification and Elfin Forest which has a relative high value species diversity mainly located at an altitude 0f 800 meters above sea level.

Officially integrated in 2016, the MaTaLaWa National Park is 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. BirdLife International had recognized MaTaLaWa National Park as an important bird and biodiversity area (IBAs) as it hosts 10 species of birds endemic to Sumba, such as the kakatua jambul kuning (Yellow-crested cockatoo).

The natural habitat on Sumba Island, specifically in MaTaLaWa National Park, makes the area suitable to host a bird-watching festival and cave attractions. In addition to its native birds, MaTaLaWa National Park also boasts three big waterfalls, namely the Lapopu, the Laputi and the Matayangu.

Lapopu, located in Wanokaka district, West Sumba regency, is the highest waterfall in East Nusa Tenggara. The attraction is 90 meters in height and, unlike most waterfalls, boasts a unique stair-shape.

Lapopu waterfall has become a popular destination for both local and foreign tourists who visit Sumba. Nihiwatu resort’s guests frequently visit the waterfall to swim, enjoy the cold surroundings and breathe the fresh air.

Around the Laiwangi Wanggameti National Park can be found many ancient tombs carved with a motif such as horses, buffalo, men and women. It’s a symbol of ancient tombs and social status of the family left behind.

In the daily life, people of Sumba are divided into several strata’s which are the Aristocratic, Kabihu, and Ata (ordinary people). The activities of the non-ordinary blend in society in the community of East Sumba to a bound called ‘kabihu’ which illustrate the closeness of the bond order custom, especially in the sacred events like funeral, marriage and mutual cooperation within kin relatives of the family.

How to get there

The trip starts from Kupang City, which is the capital of East Nusa Tenggara Province in Indonesia. First, tourists need to head to El Tari International Airport and take an airplane to Umbu Mehang Kunda Airport in Waingapu City. This flight takes approximately 30 minutes. Once arriving at Waingapu, the last thing to do is to take a local transportation service and head to Laiwangi Wanggameti National Park right away. The distance is 119 km, so this trip may take about 3 hours. Make sure to take Adisucipto Street, for a faster trip though.

Best time of year to visit: March to June, and October to December.

How to reach the Park: Waingapu-Watumbaka-Maujawa-Melolo-Kanagar, about 2 hours by four-wheel drive, and proceed on foot to the Park (the villages of Wanggameti, Tana Rara and Tabundung).

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