Lembata

Lembata

Drop off the map.

Lembata is the largest of the islands that form the Solor Archipelago, a scattering of islands between far larger Flores to the west and the Alor Archipelago to the east. Dominated by the evocative Ile Api volcanic peak on the north coast, this fascinating and very little visited island formerly known as Lomblen is well worth considering for a visit by those with time on their hands for exploring.

More on Lembata

The island’s capital is Lewoleba, an inoffensive small town that’s also home to the island’s only real harbour and domestic airport. Here you’ll find a selection of places to stay and plenty of options for eating and drinking (including cold beer!). It also serves as the transport hub for the entire island.

Approaching Lembata on the ferry from Pantar. : Stuart McDonald.
Approaching Lembata on the ferry from Pantar. Photo: Stuart McDonald

Around 85 kilometres from east to west and at its widest point about 40 kilometres from north to south, the curiously dragon-shaped shaped island is home to a little over 100,000 people, mostly scattered across villages and especially around the second and third highest volcanoes on the island: Ile Ujolewung in the east and Ile Api in the west. There are a number of local languages—Lamaholot is the most widely spoken after Indonesian—but don’t expect too much English outside of “Hello, mistahhh!” outside of Lewoleba.

Since being granted its own district status, rather than operating as part of Larantuka on Flores, an inflow of direct funds from Jakarta has contributed to significant road improvements across the island. Even between our first and second visits across three months in early to mid 2017 things had improved. The roads are cheap though (the painted-on variety) and will probably begin to degrade in a few years, ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 900 words.)

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