Sumba Island National Parks
Being a fairly large island among the group of islands in Nusa Tenggara Timur, Indonesia, Sumba has almost everything a traveller could wish for; pristine beaches, impressive waterfalls, endless hills, tropical lagoon, rural rice fields, ancient traditional culture and old ways which remain alive.
According to some sources, the island came to the surface of the water from the depths millions of years ago. The island is currently located on the rim of a volcano’s ring of fire. The dry season in Sumba occurs between May and November. The annual rainfalls estimated between 500 millimetres and 2,000 millimetres.
MaTaLaWa: The 2 National Parks in Sumba island
There are at least 8 forests that cover Sumba Island; however, a 1998 government decree had only accredited to some areas as national parks: the Manupeu-Tanadaru and Wanggameti-Langgalira national parks (shortened as MaTaLaWa National Park) in West Sumba regency. Both of them have the largest unseparated forest areas in Sumba, each having unique biodiversity. They also serve as water catchment areas for local communities.
Matalawa National Park is home to at least 80 species of birds, 10 species of mammals, more than 40 species of butterflies, 29 species of reptiles, more than 170 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 bird’s endemic to Sumba, such as the kakatua jambul kuning (Yellow-crested cockatoo).
The national park features 3 big waterfalls, including the popular one, Lapopu Waterfall with its unique stair-shape.
Laiwangi Wanggameti National Park
Wanggameti-Langgalira lies in East Sumba regency with a total area of 42,567 hectares, but only about 27,805 hectares of the area is covered in forests. The region has a complete ecosystem, which is amazing in a dry region like Nusa Tenggara.
Mount Wanggamet is the highest point on Sumba Island. It represents all types of forest found on Sumba, including elfin forest, which is rare. The forest is home to 77 bird species, including Walik Rawamam (Ptilinopus dohertyi) and Walet Sarang-putih (Aerodramus fuciphagus) two of six endemic birds.
As many as 43 butterfly species have been identified within the national park, and three of those being endemic to Nusa Tenggara. Vegetation has a large variety of structure and composition.
Approximately 70 plant species are found in this area. For locals, the forest is the main source for food, firewood, medicine the raw materials for the famed tenun ikat lot, traditional arts and ceremonies.
Manupeu Tanah Daru National Park
National Park Manupeu-Tanadaru lies in East and West Sumba regions, Lewa District, Katiku Tana, Walaka and Loli, Langgaliru village, Watumbelar, Kangeli, Konda Maloba, Umamano, Matayanga and Katika Laku.
A big impressive jungle with a reward at the end is what you can expect from the National Park Manupeu. The plants, trees, greenery is unlimited in this place. The deeper you go into the jungle the clearer you can hear the birds sing.
The total areas 28,429 hectares. Most of Manupeu is hilly and steep, and ranges from sea level to 600 meters above sea level. Wet evergreen forest is found in Mount Manupeu. The geological base is formed of Neogene and Paleogene limestone and some areas of volcanic rock.
One of the Sumba endemic birds, Rangkong Sumba (Rhyticeros everett) can be found here at its biggest population. The sulfur-crested cockatoo (Cacatua sulphurea citrinocristata) and yellow-crested cockatoo are common.
The importance of forests and endemic fauna of Sumba island
Now, only 11 percent of Sumba Island is covered with forest, mostly in the south. The forest is home to a great variety of fauna, much of which is endemic to Sumba.
Sumba is known to have nine species and 21 subspecies of bird’s endemic to the area. We can see julang Sumba (Rhyticeros everett), pungguk wenggí (inox rudolf), punai Sumba (Treron teysmamni), walik rawamann (Ptilinopus doherty) and gemak Sumba (Turnix everett), along with seven butterfly, four reptile and two amphibian species. Sumba people do not seem to realize they are rich in flora and fauna. Unfortunately, destruction of the forests continues.
The region has beautiful views of waterfalls, beaches and traditional culture invaluable for tourism industry development. The forest area plays an important role in the local people’s daily lives.
The biggest problem facing the Sumba’s Forest is fire. Many people practice the slash and burn technique to open up land for farming, and this is difficult to control.
Map of the National Parks on the island of Sumba
In the following map we have marked the Nationals Parks in Sumba island to help you plan your route around the island more easily.