Flores is an astounding and beautiful mainland with total length area of 14.300 km2. The word “Flores” came from Portuguese, it was derived from Cabo de Flores which is flower cape (Tanjung Bunga in Indonesian).
Although the origin name of this island is Nusa Nipa (Snake Island), the name of Flores itself already existed from 4 centuries ago. Along with Alor island and Pantar island, it is a series of ring volcanoes in Indonesia archipelago and are geologically unstable where earthquakes occur almost every year.
However, behind its geographical characteristic, Flores kept the world’s best secrets, waiting for anyone to come and explore it, even the beauty of this island hiding behind the shadow of Bali Island.
The journey to this magnificent island would not be complete if you did not stop by to Kelimutu National Park, one of Flores tourism icon. It is the smallest national park from 6 national parks in Bali and Nusa Tenggara. However, the size did not reflect the beauty of the nature that this park offers.
Kelimutu region surrounded by dense forests, which have a variety of plants that are rarely found outside Flores. Besides pine trees, which thrives in the Mount Kelimutu height, there are also ferns, genus Casuarina plants, redwood and edelweiss flowers. Another area of this mountain is barren area with unstable soil and sand.
The highest point of this national park is 5.679 feet, which located in Mount Kelibara (1,731 meters) and 5.544 feet which located in Mount Kelimutu (1,690 meters). It is a home to approximately 19 species of endangered birds such as Flores pigeon flores, Wallacea owl, sikatan rimba-ayun, Flores kancilan, sepah kerdil, tesia Timor, Opior jambul, Opior paruh tebal, Cabai emas), Flores kehicap, burung madu matari, dan Flores eagle. There are also mountain rats, bison, deer, mongoose), pangolin, hedgehog, and deer.
There are three lakes on top of Mount Kelimutu, which popularly known as Kelimutu Lake. It is famous for its 3 colorful acid crater lakes, each lake has different colors and meaning, and it is believed that these lakes are a place for spirits and have a very powerful force of nature.
Originally Kelimutu Lake is known to have three colors, which is red, white, and blue.
The lake in the west named Tiwi Ata Mbupu, which means lake of old people’s souls with white color, the middle lake is Nuwa Muri Koo Fai Tiwu which means lake of young people’s souls with blue color, and the lake in the east called Tiwu Ata Polo which means lake of evil people’s souls with red color.
The color is always changing periodically. During the dry season, it changes in to green as a result of reduction process. In the wet season, the oxidation and precipitation of iron minerals produces intense red colors.
There are other lakes in the world that can also change color such as the Blue Lake at Mount Gambier, in South Australia, which changes the color blue to gray and Yudamari Lake in Mount Nakade, Japan, which changes the color of turquoise to green.
The color changes happen predictable in both of them. However the color change in Kelimutu Lake is unpredictable. Sometimes, the color can be blue, green and black, and other times can be colored white, red and blue, and some time ago a dark brown color.
Kelimutu was introduced by Van Such Telen, a Dutch citizen in 1915, these amazing lakes are more widely known after Y. Bouman depicts the beauty of the lake with its color changes in his publication in 1929. Scientifically, discoloration of Kelimutu Lake is because of a mineral content factor, moss and rocks in the crater and also the effect of the sun’s light.
Scientists believe that this lake was created from volcanic eruption in ancient time. The existence of these lakes, which have three different colors in the same mountain has attracted the geologist’s attention. Local people in Moni believed that a long time ago the people who live around the lake have done evil and then died.
As a part of the Kelimutu National Park, these lakes located in the Koanara village, Wolowaru district, approximately 66 km from Ende and 83 km from Maumere, you can reach these lakes from Moni, the closest town. This small town is the gateway to Kelimutu, which is a base camp for backpackers, because Moni offers simplicity that may be suitable for backpackers.
The Bungalow is far from luxurious. Prepare $2 – $4 for stay per night in local people’s house. Or $6 – $6.5 per night in government-owned cottage. The distance from Moni to the top of the Mount Kelimutu is about 12 km, visitors must climb through climbing line approximately about 30 minutes.
You can use ojek (motorcycle taxi), car, or public transportation to reach parking area from Moni within 11 km. There is a bus from Ende to Maumere that passing through Moni, local people called it as bis kayu or oto kol.
If you want to see the wonderful sunrise, you better go in the early morning around 3.30 am. This is the perfect time to see the scenery of Kelimutu lake and and feel the atmosphere. It is usually shrouded by fog. As the sun’s light rise slowly and brighten Mount Kelimutu, the miraculous Kelimutu lake was clearly visible.
The beautiful sight will be amazed you and make you forget about your exhaustion after climbing. It is very recommended to visit Kelimutu in July and August. Enjoy the adventure!
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