Waikelo Sawah Waterfall

Waikelo Sawah Waterfall

Popular local swimming spot

More on Waikabubak

To be honest, when we first arrived at Waikelo Sawah Waterfall, we were a bit disappointed. We heard “waterfall” and thought, some natural falling water kind of thing. Well there’s water, but it’s basically a built environment — a small irrigation dam/hydro power plant. Now if someone had said, “dam” or even “hydro power plant”, we wouldn’t have been so disappointed.

Travelfish says:
As usual, pretty scenery comes with the territory. Photo by: Sally Arnold.
As usual, pretty scenery comes with the territory. Photo: Sally Arnold

A small bridge takes you across the dam, and you can climb a short staircase and walk along a high, narrow, unfenced, slippery path close to the cave entrance. We weren’t brave enough to try— the path is about 20 centimetres wide and the drop is a good few metres.

In dry season, when the water isn’t gushing out in megalitres, you can swim inside the cave, which we imagine would be rather special. Surrounded by luscious green jungle and rice paddies interspersed with a zigzag of irrigation channels, Waikelo Sawah Waterfall is a pleasant spot to spend a couple of hours cooling off. You’ll get to meet locals too — even on a rainy day there were more people here than any other tourist attraction we visited in Sumba.

Who needs coal? Photo by: Sally Arnold.
Who needs coal? Photo: Sally Arnold

Waikelo Sawah is 10 kilometres west of Waitabubak. Follow the main east-west road towards Waitabula for 8.5 kilometres. At an intersection surrounded by fruit stalls (stop and buy some local fruit to eat at the waterfall), head south and continue for another 1.5 kilometres. A bemo can drop you at the turnoff, then you’ll have to walk the last one and a half ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 100 words.)

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Reviewed by

Sally spent twelve years leading tourists around Indonesia and Malaysia where she collected a lot of stuff. She once carried a 40kg rug overland across Java. Her house has been described as a cross between a museum and a library. Fuelled by coffee, she can often be found riding her bike or petting stray cats. Sally believes travel is the key to world peace.

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