Sumba differs from the other islands in geography as well as ambience. While Bali and Lombok are volcanic, Sumba has rolling limestone hills and beautifully rocky stretches of coastline that are slowly being eroded away by the Indian Ocean. Head to the very western tip of the island and you’ll reach the turquoise-hued Weekuri Lagoon. At high tide, this tranquil pool fills with seawater and becomes the perfect swimming spot. You can also walk across the natural bridge that separates the pool and sea to watch the waves below.
Travel around the coast anticlockwise from the lagoon along the island’s long, winding and very often bumpy roads, and you’ll see some of the most beautiful beaches imaginable. And you’ll probably be sharing them with only a handful of other people. Don’t miss the breathtaking Watu Maladong Beach with its limestone rock arches and stacks that you’d probably make you think of Thailand rather than Indonesia. Tarimbang Beach is also a must-visit. It’s a sweeping crescent of white sand bookended by wild cliffs and lapped by beautifully clear waters synonymous with the Indian ocean.
Over on the north coast is the unique Walakiri Beach, a favourite sunset spot and photographers – this is probably the busiest beach you’ll visit during your time on Sumba. What makes the beach so special are the mangroves that grow from the sea floor and are exposed as the tide recedes. The silhouettes that they form gainst the pinks, oranges and reds of a sunset sky are beautiful. Whichever beach you visit, remember that you’re unlikely to find any facilities such as restaurants, bars and bathrooms; preparation is key for an enjoyable day by the water.
Some of the only people in the know about Sumba are the die-hard surfers looking for some of the best breaks in Indonesia. Most of the waves are found on the south-west and south-east coasts and are only accessible by boat; they’re so quiet it’s highly likely you’ll be the only people out on the water. The best break is Occy’s Left, otherwise known as Nihiwatu, just offshore from the exclusive Nihi Sumba, a community conscious resort that has just 27 luxe beach villas. It’s not just the hotel that’s exclusive – only 10 people can surf this legendary wave each day.
For budding anthropologists, Sumba is not all about the natural landscapes and waves. Traditional villages are dotted with high-thatch-roofed buildings that reach to the sky, and ancient rituals that are used to appease spirits (including animal sacrifices) are still practised. Visiting one of these villages allows you to understand the local beliefs and traditions. If you’re planning to visit a local community that’s not been turned into a bit of a tourist attraction, it’s best to visit with a local guide who can translate and ensure that no offence is caused.
There are two airports on the island – Tambokala airport in the west and Umbi Mehang Kunda Airport which is near the main town of Waingapu in the east of the island. Simply contact one of our team and we can arrange everything you need to charter a private jet to Sumba.