// Lewotobi


Facts

Elevation: 1,703 m (5,587 ft) Prominence: 1,400 m
Ribu category: Google MarkerKurang Tinggi Province: Nusa Tenggara Timur
Google Earth: kml Other names:
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Eruptions: 1675, 1861, 1865, 1868-69, 1889, 1907, 1909-10, 1914, 1921, 1932-33, 1935, 1939-40, 1968-71, 1990-91, 1999, 2002-03

Photos

LewotobiNext »
Lewotobi as seen from the main road to the east (Dan Quinn, July 2013)Lewotobi as seen from the main road to the east (Dan Quinn, July 2013)
Lewotobi as seen from the main road to the east (Dan Quinn, July 2013)
Lewotobi as seen from the east (Dan Quinn, July 2013)Lewotobi as seen from the east (Dan Quinn, July 2013)
Lewotobi as seen from the east (Dan Quinn, July 2013)
Lewotobi vulcanology centre as Desa Bawalatang (Dan Quinn, July 2013)Lewotobi vulcanology centre as Desa Bawalatang (Dan Quinn, July 2013)
Lewotobi vulcanology centre as Desa Bawalatang (Dan Quinn, July 2013)
Junglefowl nest on the way up Lewotobi (Dan Quinn, July 2013)Junglefowl nest on the way up Lewotobi (Dan Quinn, July 2013)
Junglefowl nest on the way up Lewotobi (Dan Quinn, July 2013)

View a slideshow in our Picasaweb gallery

Bagging It!

This spectacular volcano is a ‘husband and wife couple’ comprised of Lewotobi Perempuan (‘female’, 1703 metres) and Lewotobi Laki-laki (‘male’, 1584 metres). The peaks are often active – most eruptions have been from the Laki-laki vent, most recently in 2003, but seismic activity and minor volcanic emissions are common from both.

There are several possible starting points for the climb; the best-known is from the Vulcanology Centre at Desa Bawalatang (330m). Bawalatang is about a 20 minute from the main Trans-Flores road, between Maumere and Larantuka, at Boru. There is very little accommodation in the area so most hikers stay in Maumere or Larantuka, or else sleep on the floor at a local village house. Whatever you do, this hike is time-consuming, and so you need to set off as early as you can – by sunrise at least.

A guide is essential to negotiate the tracks through the plantations on the lower slopes and, thereafter, through the forest where the track is not well defined (due to the few people who climb these peaks). You will have no trouble finding a guide in Bawalatang – ask at the Vulcanology Centre. Despite how well-known these volcanos are, they are only climbed a handful of times each year, besides hunters seeking deer and pigs.

After passing through the cocoa plantations, you will enter forest where the Gosong kaki-merah, Red Footed Scrub Fowl, Megapodius reinwardt, make their nests. The locals have their own name for the Scrub Fowl but, mistakenly, use the word ‘kasawari’ (cassowary) to identify the bird when speaking Indonesian.

After some time, you will reach a forest ridge where the trail is a little more well-defined. Eventually, at about 1,000m, you will reach a rocky gully (where the guides like to take a rest). At this point, the track divides – Lewotobi Perempuan to the right across the gully and Lewotobi Laki-laki up the gully.

Lewotobi Perempuan: cross the rocky gully and enter grassy upland meadows of scattered eucalyptus trees. The path here is faint and you drop down in one or two places before climbing up again. After an hour or so, you will reach the col (1,250m) between Laki-laki and Perempuan marked by a large cement block.

To reach the Perempuan crater, simply work your way from the col and then take a right and begin the ascent up ancient lava flows and boulders. In this area you should spot one or two volcanic activity sensors that the folk back down at the office in Bawalatang use to monitor the volcano.

After 45 minutes or so of steep clambering up rocks, you will be rewarded with views over Laki-laki and westwards to Ili Wukoh, a mysterious forest peak with a triangular top that nobody seems to know much about. Eventually you will reach the bare rock of Perempuan’s outer rim. Follow this to the right for 20 minutes after which you will reach the inner rim of the impressive main crater itself inside of which is a lava dome, yellowish in places due to the sulphur.

The true summit of Perempuan lies some 500 metres beyond the rim to the south, but only the confident scrambler should attempt what might be rather dangerous. The rim is steep, crumbly and slippery so do take extra care. It should take you about one and a half hours up to the rim from the col (cement block). To descend the same way should be considerably faster.

Lewotobi Laki-laki: at the rocky gully, ‘where the guides like to take a rest’, proceed directly up the gully climbing up rocks within the gully. Towards the top of the gully, the rocks become increasingly loose and fragile and difficult to climb. Eventually, you will emerge onto a steep, friable slope of loose scree that takes you direct to the summit of Laki-laki – not fun but doable with courage and patience.

The view from the summit of Laki-laki into its crater (when dormant) is mind-boggling – a cavernous hole, about 15 metres wide, of unknown depth descending into the bowels of the earth. One can only imagine what emits from this enormous cavity when the mountain does erupt periodically. Indeed, our guides informed that your boots would melt if you climb Laki-laki all the way to the top! As of September 2014, and the mountain dormant, our boots were fine on the summit of Laki-laki!

A descent from Laki-laki via the rocky gully would be difficult and dangerous due to its loose rubble. Instead, we scrambled down the scree slope towards the col between Perempuan and Laki-laki. Eventually, we entered Eucalypt scrub and ‘bushwhacked’ our way down until meeting the track between the ‘rocky gully’ and the cement block on the col – and thereafter returned to the Vulcanology Centre through the forest and plantations.

To climb both Perempuan and Laki-laki in one day would be very demanding and certainly require a start or end in the dark, so most people choose to just one. Laki-laki may be shorter but the summit of Perempuan certainly offers the more spectacular views.

Bagging information by Dan Quinn (Perempuan, August 2013); updated Nick Hughes (Laki-laki, September 2014)

Practicalities

Getting there Turn off the main road through Flores at Boru, which lies about halfway between Larantuka and Maumere. Larantuka has an airport (but check if flights are operating there). Maumere airport is the main hub in Flores and not much further away.
Accommodation There are several hotels/losmen in Larantuka – most of the best are close together near the seafront. Try Hotel Tresna or Rulies. In Maumere try Gardena in town, or one of the pleasant places further east outside the town on the coast.
Permits None required but take a photocopy of your passport photo page just incase.
Water sources None available – take sufficient supplies with you.
Find a local guide:
Local Average Monthly Rainfall (mm): maumere

Location

Origins and Meaning

Village of Tamarind. Named after a local village where tamarind grows – Lewo (village) and Tobi (tamarind).

Links and References

Wikipedia English
Wikipedia Indonesia

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Trip Reports and Comments

4 entries for “Lewotobi”

  1. avatar

    This in from Nick Hughes, who recently climbed to the top of Laki-laki…

    “I now understand where the reference to ‘cassowary’ came from. The local people were simply misinformed that the Indonesian word for the scrub fowl/megapod was ‘cassowary’ rather than the correct Indonesian/scientific word, ‘maleo’. Note: please refer to the maleo in English as Scrub Fowl, not Jungle Fowl – the latter refers to the wild form of ayam (chickens).”

    Posted by Dan | October 7, 2014, 16:23
  2. avatar

    I was planning to climb Lewotobi (and camp) with a friend in early May 2014 and we abandoned the plans as local people said the activity at the volcano had intensified recently and it was not safe. I am not sure how official this information is

    Posted by Tihomir Rangelov | May 8, 2014, 19:31
  3. avatar

    Ah…how disappointing. Just had an email from Rafael to say they aren’t cassowary nests. Perhaps simply large junglefowl of some sort. I must admit to having been surprised by the idea of such huge beasts living so close to the villagers….

    “Hi Daniel..i just read you written about lewotobi volcano. You know i am so curious about cassowary like lokal guide guide told to us. That bird in lokal language they mention it ” WODONG “. When i asking the lokal people what is look like of wodong bird ? And they say it is look like free range chicken, so that was not cassowary. Cassowary just in Irian jaya and in Australia, and also very dangerous bird.”

    Posted by Dan | August 14, 2013, 17:00
  4. avatar

    This volcano had long been near the top of my ‘to climb’ list. Travelling in either direction across Flores between Maumere and Larantuka and you help but be impressed by it.

    Back in Larantuka, I had been given a business card for East Flores Tourism, or LDO – Lamaholot Destination Organization – run by a local man named Wiss. I sent him a message to see if he knew a guide for climbing Lewotobi. He replied that yes he does – Rafael, who lives near the volcano and speaks excellent English. Brilliant, I think! Easy for once!

    The following morning I take the very first bus (6am departure from infront of the hotels) from Larantuka to Desa Nobo to meet the Lewotobi guide, Rafael. A lovely bloke, he is there waiting for me. Next comes the surprise…. he says he is not a climber, he has never climbed Lewotobi before. Indeed, he has never climb any mountain before ever!

    I shake my head in disbelief but keep quiet and get on the motorbike and set off towards the starting point (via Boru to Bawalatang). Rafael is very keen to practise his excellent English and we get on well. He is keen to try climbing the volcano so we set about finding a local village guide.

    After being quoted Rp300,000, we manage to find someone else for Rp150,000 at Bawalatang and we set off marching up through the coffee plantations.

    Rafael starts telling me a story about one of his relatives who heard a legend about buried gold in a cave on the side of Lewotobi. The relative goes looking for it when localised volcanic tremors force him back down the mountainside. Interesting stuff. I respond with the story of the gold-diggers on Manado Tua.

    By the time we reached the edge of the forest at an elevation of around 1000m, Rafael was knackered. We left him with some water and continued alone, promising to be back by 3pm. Given that we had started at after 8am, we didn’t have a great deal of time to waste.

    Alas, there was a lot of cloud about so views both of and from the peaks were limited. The perempuan crater itself was very impressive but getting round to the true summit seemed just a bit too beyond my abilities. I tried heading anticlockwise but kept falling over on quite steep sections of rim. If we had had more time or the weather had been better i would have tried going clockwise but as it was the guide wanted us to go back to Rafael. I agreed. To do the Lakilaki peak too would really require a much earlier start than our 8am.

    When we reached him, he told us of a wild pig which had frightened him by leaping out and running right past him! No cassowaries spotted, however.

    We took the regular, better-defined route back down to Bawalatang, and stopped off a small dwelling where we drank kelapa muda, ate rice with papaya leaves (very bitter) and were given presents of cassowary eggs (a local delicacy).

    The meaning of Lewotobi is Tamarind Village – Rafael is from the village of Lewotobi where still today lots of tamarind grows. We got back down to Bawalatang at around 5pm and set off on the short journey to Hewa where we would be staying with one of Rafael’s relatives prior to my climbing of Ili Wukoh the next day.

    Posted by Dan | August 3, 2013, 01:21

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