Photo: Pabetilakera Waterfall.

Sumba is so big, we’ve split it up into areas, select one of the below for detailed accommodation and food listings in that area. Sights and general overviews for Sumba as a whole can be found via the icons above. Don’t know where to start? Read an overview of Sumba’s different areas.

Go back to Sumba main page »

Pabetilakera Waterfall

Our rating:

The road to Pabetilakera Waterfall with views of rolling green hills slashed with red soil paths is worth the trip alone. However it’s not the best of places to try to get to during the wet season.

Found 30 kilometres south of Waitabula, not far from the traditional villages of Manola and Umbu Koba, the walk begins when the gravel road ends at a small group of houses. If you’re travelling with a driver rather than a guide, stop at the last house and ask for Ibu Tina, who will show you the way to the waterfall. She is also the keeper of the guest book, which you will be required to sign when you also make a donation.

There is a waterfall out there … somewhere. Photo taken in or around Pabetilakera Waterfall, Waitabula, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

There is a waterfall out there … somewhere. Photo: Sally Arnold

The waterfall is split into two cascades, with the top section the most easily reached. The path to the more impressive lower part can only be described as a mudslide in wet season, but is an adventure. Ibu Tina said the waterfall is very popular in the dry season, but only crazy people like Travelfish researchers would venture there in the wet.

The path to the top falls is steep but short and easy, then it requires a bit of bush bashing to see the small but pretty cascade ringed by dense jungle. From here you can’t view the lower section — that involves crossing the river and sliding down the path.

Ibu knows the way. Photo taken in or around Pabetilakera Waterfall, Waitabula, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

Ibu knows the way. Photo: Sally Arnold

When we visited, the water was waist deep and fast flowing and too close to the edge of the larger cascade for our comfort. The steep slide to the bottom of the second falls is about 30 metres, and we found the best way down was just sliding on our butts — wear tough pants! You will get wet and very muddy.

The view of the falls here is more dramatic, with the curtain wider than higher. We couldn’t reach the bottom pool due to slippery rocks, but it’s a good swimming hole in dry season. From the bottom you are only able to see the bottom cascade, so it’s rather like visiting two smaller waterfalls. We recommend wearing boots for the climb although in wet season they’re not much use.

Bingo. Photo taken in or around Pabetilakera Waterfall, Waitabula, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

Bingo. Photo: Sally Arnold

To get to Pabetilakera Waterfall, take the southern Tena Teke turnoff from the main Waitabula-Waikabubak road. Several nearby traditional villages can be visited on the same trip including Wanno Be’u, Manola and Umbu Koba. — best to do before you get too muddy.

Pabetilakera Waterfall
30km south of Waitabula

By .

Location map for Pabetilakera Waterfall

Popular attractions in Waitabula

A selection of some of our favourite sights and activities around Waitabula.

Best places to stay in Waitabula

A selection of some of our favourite places to stay in Waitabula.

What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Waitabula.
 Read up on where to eat on Waitabula.
 Check out our listings of other things to do in and around Waitabula.
 Read up on how to get to Waitabula.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Waitabula? Please read this.
 Browse tours in Indonesia with Tourradar.

Like what you see? Then you’ll love our newsletter

The Travelfish newsletter is sent out every Monday and is jammed full of free advice for travel in Southeast Asia. You can see past issues here.


See below for more sights and activities in Waitabula that are listed on

Top of page