A handy spot to break the trip.

Aside from having a lovely name that rolls off the tongue, Melolo occupies the halfway position along the eastern coast of Sumba, about 65 kilometres south of Waingapu, at the mouth of the Melolo River. The town itself is a mere blip on the map, straddling the main road that connects Waingapu to the south and an area of thick mangroves divides the town from the sea.

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Around Melolo you’ll find villages famous for producing some of the finest weaving in Sumba, Umabarra and Pau. Nearby Rende village, the “village of kings”, has some magnificent megalithic tombs. The area could be visited on a day trip from Waingapu, but if you’re heading south to Kalala, Melolo makes a good halfway point to stop, explore a bit and spend the night.

Wet season lushness. : Sally Arnold.
Wet season lushness. Photo: Sally Arnold

The coastal road south from Waingapu is one of the better roads in Sumba, paved all the way and relatively flat for hilly Sumba. About an hour south of Waingapu, Menggitimbi, a collection of small roadside lakes and sandy marshes, is an excellent birdwatching spot. Further south towards Melolo, scenic rice fields edged with coconut palms line either side of the road.

At the northern end of the town of Melolo, a small path alongside the graveyard leads through mangroves to the almost-deserted beach. Not far from the path as you enter the beach, the wide Melolo river flows into the sea. Warning: there are crocodiles here, so don’t swim in the river, and probably not the sea. One local proudly showed us the skin of a small croc he’d caught, so there is one ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 600 words.)

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