- Elevation: 2,292 m (7,520 ft)
- Prominence: 581 m
- Ribu category: Spesial
- Province: Nusa Tenggara Timur
- Google Earth: kml
- Other names: none
- Eruptions: 1987-89, 1991
Poco Ranakah (‘or “Ranaka’) is a volcano located in the western part of the island of Flores near the large town of Ruteng, the capital of the district of Manggarai. It is well-known by most local people, who will incorrectly tell you it is the highest mountain in Flores. In actual fact, it is the second-highest after the relatively unknown Poco Ngandonalu which is so close to Ruteng that it can be climbed from the town itself. Ranakah, on the other hand, lies about 10 kilometres further east, and is particularly famous for the ‘Anak Ranakah’ (child of Ranakah) which is a huge lava dome that formed in 1987.
Tour groups quite regularly go up to see the Anak because there is a basic track leading all the way up to the summit. If this track was in better condition, it would undoubtedly be much more famous and popular. As it is, you need a motorbike because even jeeps / 4WDs may have trouble on certain narrow sections of the track. To reach the volcano, take the main road through Flores from Ruteng and head 9 kilometres east to Desa Robo. From here, a sign points the way, a further 9 kilometres, up the track to the summit of the mountain. It takes about 30 minutes from Ruteng to Robo and 40 minutes up the track to the summit.
It is recommended that you go to visit Ranakah for dawn, as the views are generally fantastic, given how high up you are. Indeed, Ruteng itself is at an elevation of about 1150m, and therefore rather chilly at night. The best views of Anak Ranakah are to be had between KM6 and KM7 on the track up to the summit (you should be able to see the jagged silhouette even before first light), but you might as well go to the very top first (KM9) to see the religious imagery and then compound of derelict buildings before bagging the true summit. The telecommunications mast is completely bent over – how did this happen?
From the disused buildings, it is a tricky 2 minutes finding a little way up to the fence on the left and pulling yourself up to the true highest point of the mountain. You could, of course, alternatively climb the bent tower as it bends right over to the true peak, but this would be incredibly dangerous indeed. The true summit is crowned with a tall cement pillar marked ‘P31′ but the views are very limited, except in the direction of Poco Ngandonalu and the other 2000m-plus tops in the Mandasawu mountain range, which the sun should now be shining brightly on. It may be possibly to cut your way down the other side of the mountain for a closer look at the Anak, but it doesn’t look like many people have tried.
Now that the sun is up, you can leisurely stroll back down the track for a couple of kilometres to the best spot for photographs of Anak Ranakah and the few wisps of smoke that rise up from it. Quite how long it took for the volcanic Anak to ’emerge’ between the two rather regular mountain peaks which surround it back in 1987 would be very interesting to know.
The Ranakah area is incredibly peaceful. You will probably be the only visitor that morning and you can sit and enjoy the birdsong and quiet and views over distance mountains.
And after a few photos it will be time to head back into Ruteng for some decent breakfast!
Bagging information by Dan Quinn (August 2013).
- Getting there: Ruteng is 4 hours by car from Labuanbajo. There is an airport in Ruteng but the local flights are only a couple of times per week.
- Accommodation: There are several hotels in Ruteng. Unfortunately none of them are good quality or good value. The only exception is not a hotel as such but the Wisma Santa Maria Catholic Convent House. This is usually booked up so make sure you reserve a room well in advance.
- Permits: Not required. At the entrance on the main road it is possible that you need to buy a ticket but on our visit we didn’t see anyone.
- Water sources: Take sufficient supplies with you, not that you will need very much unless you are walking up the track.
- Travel insurance: We recommend World Nomads insurance, which is designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities including mountain hiking.
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