// Poco Ranakah


Facts

Elevation: 2,292 m (7,520 ft) Prominence: 581 m
Ribu category: Google MarkerSpesial Province: Nusa Tenggara Timur
Google Earth: kml Other names:
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Eruptions: 1987-89, 1991

Photos

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Bagging It!

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).

Practicalities

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.
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Local Average Monthly Rainfall (mm): komodo

Location

Links and References

Wikipedia English

Trip Reports and Comments

4 entries for “Poco Ranakah”

  1. avatar

    For all the “100.000 for foreigners-lovers”: when you start early, there is nobody at the gate. When you come back, and you see the building of the guards near the road, take the way to the left passing a house and another abandoned house which ends at the big road near a warung.

    Posted by Dieter Menne | October 31, 2016, 16:12
  2. avatar

    Just some follow up information on this. My girlfriend and I tried this on a rented motorbike from Ruteng (cost 100k) recently. All the above info is accurate. I’ll reinforce getting there for dawn…we woke up in town at dawn but the time we got to the top about 7.30-8am, thick clouds were already rolling in and we didn’t seem much at all. Although we didn’t try to go higher than km 7 where the best views were.

    As well as leaving super early, I’d recommend bringing good quality waterproof pants and jacket. The path up is virtually covered by encroaching jungly vegetation, and we got completely drenched from the all the dew/water on the plants. It took days for my hiking boots to dry out afterwards.

    This is not an easy trip up or down on a motorbike, its only for the confident and adventurous for sure. The old road is terribly rutted and pretty steep, as well as totally obscured by vegetation. Theres a tree lying across the path at km 3 or so, but a path has beaten around it you can drag a motorbike through. Absolutely impossible for a 4wd vehicle of any sort, even without the tree across the road, its so narrow you’d never make it.

    We were stopped by a ragged looking villager at the bottom when going up. He said something about ‘100 000’ in bahasa. I pretended not to understand, and then he motioned we could pay after coming back. There was no ticket book, but think he wanted us to come into his ‘office’. Coming back, I just flew through the village and onto the main road without stopping, I heard some shouts but it was all good.

    But if you do have to pay 100 000 whether total or per person, this mountain would no longer be worth it at all. Theres plenty of other cool volcanoes in Flores which dont have fees (unless you hire a guide), and this is certainly not one of the best of them! Especially seeing how drenched we got, how little fun the ride up was and how we missed the views.

    At km 5-6, there was a big group of local girls wandering in and out of the bush, no idea what they were doing up there! Would have been a walk up of over 1.5 hours I think.

    Will mention here that lake Rana Mese down the road towards Bajawa now has 100k fees per foreign tourists now (not 5k), so this is very missable too.

    Posted by Matt | July 20, 2016, 09:54
    • avatar

      Thanks for the write-up and update. Shame about the over-charging, but it seems to be state policy now to expect loads of money off any non-Indonesians for whatever they can get you for. I have even heard of expats being charged the tourist rate despite having a KITAS in some places. It’s a disgrace, especially when the places are usually kept in such poor condition as sounds to be the case here…. Great views though….

      Posted by Dan | July 20, 2016, 13:28
  3. avatar

    After my unplanned lengthy stay in Maumere after Merpati airlines decided to change the date of the flight to Labuanbajo I was very keen to get out. The Convent accommodation was already full, with it being high season, so I booked the Hotel Rima despite the atrocious reviews to be found online.

    From Labuanbajo airport I hopped into a travel car and paid Rp100,000 for a seat up to Ruteng (4 hours). You may be able to get a seat for Rp80,000 if you bargain a bit, because that is the cost in the opposite direction.

    Hotel Rima staff were friendly but the layout of the hotel was utterly ridiculous and the toilets were horrendous – western style but with no seat. Just horrid. At least they served beer. I drank one and then paid. Rp45,000. Total rip-off (they are 25 in all the shops and only 36 in the Agape, which is Ruteng’s finest restaurant). So off to Agape it was.

    Opposite the Agape is the Hotel Dhalia which has a very basic tourist information service at the reception area. I asked about Ranakah – just needed someone with a bike. Eventually they found me a chap called Jeff who would pick me up the following morning at 5am and head straight up for dawn on Ranakah. He kept calling me ‘father’ which I found unusual but amusing. Back at the Rima Hotel people were complaining about having to pay Rp25,000 to use the wifi so prominently advertised outside the hotel.

    Next morning, Jeff arrived on time. Only trouble was his front light wasn’t working and it was pitch black. Obviously he hadn’t thought to check his bike in advance, just leave enerything til the last minute as is the norm in Indonesia. And to add to that, he hadn’t filled his bike up with fuel, so we were searching around for somewhere open at 5am for fuel! Total farce.

    Needless to say, we hit a lot of rocks on the way up the track to Ranakah. But, the sun came up and the views were just great. We left the bike at KM7 and walked the last couple up to the summit itself. Very pleasant. Couldn’t make out Inerie in the distant – perhaps simply too far away or hidden by the mountains immediately west of the Anak.

    I was surprised that you couldn’t get much closer to the Anak than a kilometre away or so, but nevertheless the views were wonderful at this time of day, particularly over Poco Ngandonalu and the ‘Mandasawu range’, if it can be called that.

    Next up that same afternoon… heading over to Curunumbeng, or trying to find anyone who had even heard of it….

    Posted by Dan | August 3, 2013, 03:17

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