Photo: Totok Kalada village.

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Totok Kalada village

Our rating:

Of the traditional villages we visited on Sumba, Totok Kalada was the only one we were unable to take photographs — it was pemali, or taboo.

Photo of Totok Kalada village

This is unfortunate as it is one of the more interesting.

Perhaps it was more due to the fact that the village head was not around for us to sign the guest book and for us to offer the traditional donation (and know what was okay to photograph). However one friendly local took it upon himself to show us around the rather remote mountain village, insisting that the bad juju from taking a photo would result in an accident on our way home. Besides upsetting the locals, we didn’t want to take that risk.

The road to Totok Kalada runs about 30 kilometres southeast of Waitabula along a mountain ridge that almost curves back on itself, so as you look west you can see the rooftops of Totok Kalada hidden amid the trees on the seemingly adjacent ridge. The mountain drive provides sweeping views out to sea and of surrounding hills too. Turning the bend, we passed traditional Weeloro village, not a “tourist village” as such, but the locals here stopped us on the way and invited us in for a look around.

Totok Kalada hasn’t had a lot of good luck itself, as the village burnt down in 2012, was rebuilt, then burnt down again in 2014. As you enter, you’ll pass a number or magnificent banyan trees. Two rows of traditional thatch houses have the usual gravestones in front, but what is unusual about this village is a number of neat stone and stick circles — sacred Marapu spaces for performing rituals.

The end of the village offers extensive views over the valley below. You’ll need your own transport to visit Totok Kalada, and although on a different access road, it can be combined with a trip to one of the beaches on the northwest coast of Sumba.


Totok Kalada village
30km southeast of Waitabula

Location map for Totok Kalada village

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