1. INTRODUCTION to Sumba
Sumba, one of three biggest islands of the Indonesian Nusa Tenggara Timur Province, including the islands of Flores, Sumba, and Timor, lies southeast of Bali, west of Timor and south of Flores, covering an area of 11,150 sqkm. It consists of two districts, i.e., East Sumba (Sumba Timur) and West Sumba (Sumba Barat). The capital of East Sumba is Waingapu, and Waikabubak is the capital of West Sumba. Sumba is now populated by about 350,000 people. As part of Indonesia, Sumba has two seasons, a dry season (May to November), and a rainy season (December to April). Sumba is better known of its sandlewood, horses, impressive megalithic graves, typical hand woven textile ("ikat"), and still untouched beautiful beaches. The East Sumba District with a total area of 7,711 sqkm is nowadays populated by 162,000 people, consists of 6 subdistricts, and 99 villages. Waingapu is the main gate way to Sumba Island.
2. SOCIAL LIFE and CULTURE
The Sumbanese were traditionally divided into some social strata, i.e., Maramba (Raja/King), Kabihu (customary official), and Ata (slaves). Presently, East-Sumbanese means of living are farming, cattle breeding, rice-field farming and trading. Owning cattle contributes to a social status, i.e., more cattle means having a higher social status. According to statistics, most of the Sumbanese are Christian (Catholic and Protestant), however, most people are in fact still intensively influenced by their native and original religion named Marapu. Most cultural objects are related to the Marapu religion such as the shape of traditional houses, ceremonies, or kings' graves and stonegraves.
having high-peaked roof to store the heirlooms, stored, traditional Sumbanese houses are devided into male and female sectors, and generally surrounded by impressive megalithic gravestones. You can enjoy them in Prainatang (28 kms from Waingapu), Rambangaru (33 kms), Kawangu (12 kms), Pau (66 kms), and Rende (69 kms).
most famous ones is ceremony of customary wedding and funeral. For these ceremonies, Sumbanese usually kill many pigs, buffaloes, cattle, and horses. Especially for funeral of the king, there are hundreds of animal to be killed. You may visit these ceremonies in Rambangaru, Pau, and Rende, etc.
made of stone forming the megalithic shape. The tomb is covered by rectangle flat stone supported by four pillars about 1,5 meters high. The king's grave mostly located in front of his house. You can see these king's grave in Prailiu, Rende, Pau, Kawangu (2 kms from Waingapu), Rambangaru, etc.
"Ikat" WEAVING TEXTILE:
Tourists can enjoy and see the process of this type of textile in Rambangaru, Kawangu, Marumata (5 kms from Waingapu), Pau, Rende, and Kaliuda (135 kms from Rende).
ART and CRAFT: Sumbanese primitive art objects have social functions related to the Merapu belief. Everywhere you can see stone and wood statues, which represent the dead, Merapu, and as medium for contact. Metal ornaments and jewelry are usually for wedding ceremonies, and are related to the social status.
3. TOURIST DESTINATIONS
A survey on East Sumba Tourist Development executed by the Tourist Service of East Nusa Tenggara Province has recorded and analysed four types of tourist objects (Nature, Culture, Events or Festivals, and Historical Objects) available in East Sumba District. Visitors can easily approach and enjoy the beauty of white sand beaches, rural landscapes, forests, or mountain savannas, waterfalls and rivers. Not all of the objects can be listed here.
located at Londalima about 12 kms from Waingapu, offers you or beautiful white sand beach. It can be reached in about half an hour by bus from Waingapu.
PURU KAMBERA BEACH:
about one hour by bus from Waingapu, is suitable for relaxing while diving and sporting.
about 137 kms from Waingapu, is the place of wonderful waterfall, beautiful lake, mountaneous scene and agro-tourism.
about 124 kms by local bus transportation from Waingapu, offers you both the beautiful mountaneous scene and beach where you can surf, swim, or go for game fishing. There is a resort run by Mr. David, with everything you need.
about 130 kms from Waingapu, Tarimbang with its beutiful beach and mountaneous scene offers you an exciting experience. You can enjoy wonderful surfing, 9-grades turfing, swimming, or wandering the arable fields and plantations. There is a simple but friendly homestay run by Mr. Marten.
WAIHANGU and Salura island: located in the south part with beautiful white sand beaches. Salura island is a sacred place according to local people, therefore, all newcomers should be treated in a special ceremony having bracelet made of "lontar" palm leaf.
Source: Visitor Guide Booklet by East Sumba Tourist Service, Juni 1995
For more information, or for the best and most reliable service around, please contact Mr. Anto of Oceania Tour and Travel