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Land of the Brave

Island: Sumba

Duration: 5 days

Day 1 : Bali - Tambolaka - Tarung - Waitabara - Patiala
Breakfast. A short flight over the islands of Sumbawa and Flores takes us to the west of Sumba, an island unknown to most of the world. Upon arrival at the airport of Tambolaka our guide will be waiting to bring us to the southeast of the island where we will be staying in the serenity of the Sumba Nautil hotel for the next few days. The green and fertile west is home to two thirds of the Sumba population who, next to ritual activities primarily occupies itself with the cultivation of rice, coffee, cashew nuts and copra. We drive through the capital of this district, Waikabubak, meaning “place where water is found”. This small town has a cooler climate then the rest of the giant atoll Sumba thanks to her location at 440 meter above sea level. Close by are two very important villages Tarung and Waitabara. These two villages situated next to each other lay on the hilltops for protection from enemy clans in the past and form the religious centre of the Marapu believe in this area. In exchange for food and riches the living keep during ceremonial funerals a peaceful relationship with the ancestor spirits during which the highly respected Marapu-priest plays the most important role. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
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Day 2 : Kadengar - Sodan
Breakfast. In Kadengar, we stroll into the village to be part of the daily life. Early in the morning the women and children go get water at the river for cooking, washing and drinking. The rice of the day is pounded and the men get ready to go to the fields. According to their tradition the people of the village offer us betel nut to chew and in return we offer them the same as a sign of hospitality. The village of Sodan, religiously the most important village of this area lies on a high hilltop next to a splendid valley. The climb up is certainly worthwhile as we get to see the whole area from above. Pick nick lunch somewhere along the trek. Like all villages Sodan is located high up as a defense against other headhunting clans in the past. Here too we are being welcomed according to their customs and led around the village by the village chief. The spirit house and the skull tree remind us that this culture only a few decades ago was still actively making war amongst eachother. Dinner and overnight in the hotel.
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Day 3 : Montedawu - Tokohale - Malisu - Marosi
After breakfast we leave our hotel on foot and start our trek of the day through the small valleys and hills until we reach the villages of Montedawu, Tokohale and Malisu. Visiting these hidden villages takes us back in time. Here we can take a look inside the houses on stilts with their special roofs like cut-off pyramids. Again the daily life overwhelms us and the surrounding nature makes us realize how strong this ancestral culture really is. At a pristine bay along the Indian Ocean we enjoy a picnic and make time for a swim or snorkeling in the crystal blue water. Afterwards we stroll along the white beach and the chalkstone cliffs, enjoying the tranquility until we reach our hotel. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
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Day 4 : Waikabubak - Praiijing - Anakalang- Waingapu
Breakfast. After leaving the hotel we start going to the east of the island. In Waikabubak we first visit the local market before taking a short trek up to the village of Praijing, one of the most beautiful traditional villages in this area. Lunch in Waikabubak. In Anakalang we see for the first time the exquisitely decorated grave tombes. The biggest tomb we find in Gallubakul. Not less than three months and two thousand men were needed to move this colossal tombstone from the stone mine to its current position. Also in Kajilu Kobu and Pasunga can we discover the strong ancestral worshipping and do we look around in one of the stone mines. After receiving an order several men start hacking these virgin stones with archaic material out of the ground. Later, when all Marapu conditions are fulfilled, hundreds of men will pull these gigantic stones with palm ropes to the burial ground. The Marapu-priest or “Rato” will mend them while singing. It takes sometimes years to pull these stones to their final place. Overnight in hotel Elvin in Waingapu. Dinner in the town.
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Day 5 : Waingapu - Praillu - Denpasar
Waingapu is the capital of Sumba and has its only important sea harbor. From here all trade of the island is done. After early breakfast we go visit the village of Praillu know for its ikat. This kind of textile, famous all over the archipelago is part of the Sumba culture and used for clothing as well as for burial. Ikat, meaning “to tie”, undergoes a complex process of tying and dying before the weaving can start. The designs and colors are all traditional and according to the Marapu believe. This kind of weaving demands high skills and lots of patience. The flight back to Bali, Denpasar leaves us time enough to reflect on our visit to Sumba. Upon arrival in Bali transfer to the hotel.
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