Published/Last edited or updated: 19th April, 2016
There are waterfalls and there are waterfalls and then there is Moyo Island’s Mata Jitu Waterfall — one of the most beautiful waterfalls we have seen. A limestone, multi-terraced waterfall in a lush forested setting and an hour’s walk from the nearest coastal village, it is well worth the effort (and expense if you get an ojek from the village) to visit. And Mata Jitu is just one of Moyo’s waterfalls.
From the village of Labuan Aji, it is roughly an hour’s walk up into the hills behind the village to reach the falls. There’s a concrete vehicle track part of the way that has been set up to drive guests from the Amanwana up to the falls (you can see the jeep to your left as you start walking up). Those short of time (or who want to make the most of their time) can hire an ojek to the falls and back for 75,000 rupiah per bike. There is also a small “village fund” fee levied at the village upon entry.
The track slowly climbs, taking you up through cashew plantations and other cash crops, and eventually into forest. Keep an eye out for monkeys and wild boar — we saw both. After about 45 minutes you’ll reach a small car and bike parking area to your right and be able to hear the falls off to your left. From here it is another five minutes down a dirt trail to the main viewing area.
You’ll first see the main falls, tumbling down a few metres into a glistening pool, but there is far more to Mata Jitu than this. Continue up the right bank of the river, above the falls, to see a series of ponds and pools, each with their own limestone rim. A fallen tree has been fashioned into a bridge to allow you to cross the river and walk back down the other side, where the trail brings you almost under the falls.
From this point the real beauty of Mata Jitu is revealed as you’ll see the terraced ponds and pools continue downriver for quite a distance. Continue down and cross the river again and where the trail heads back up to the parking area, just beyond you’ll see more ponds still, including some of the best for swimming.
Swimming in the pools is permitted and certainly below the falls is quite safe — use your own judgement and common sense regarding swimming above the main falls. While it looks slippery, the limestone edging of each pool is quite non-slip and fairly easy to walk along.
Outside of public holidays in all likelihood you will have the waterfalls to yourself. Basking in one of the crystal pools, with the jungle overhead and the waters coursing around you, is a truly regal experience.
Stuart McDonald co-founded Travelfish.org with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer, freelancing and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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