The unspoiled island of Sumba is geographically
situated 400 kilometers East of Bali and South
of Komodo and Flores Islands.
Although only about 300 Km long and 80 Km wide,
the island of Sumba generates two distinct climates.
The west receives
higher rainfall than the east, and is consequently
much greener with systems of rice fields fed by
perennial rivers; the east is a dry savanna throughout
its eight month dry season.
Every where in Sumba you will see horses, cattle,
the growing of corn,in some places of West Sumba
you will find large plantatation of coffee, vanilla
and cocoa .
Of the island's population of about 600.000, some of them (almost all villagers) maintains their belief in the animistic Marapu
religion. Rural life still revolves around the ancestors.
Such villages tend to stand on hilltops and are
formed by several large clan houses arranged around
graveyard; the way of life in this villages seems like frozen in times .
For most of its history Sumba has been divided
kingdoms, each dominated by a feudal raja. These
absolute power until the formation of the Indonesian
in 1945. Socially and culturally, however, they
remain highly respected and some still have slaves
. The largest event any Sumbanese is likely to
see will be the funeral of his or her raja; the
body, having been wrapped in hundreds of textiles
and kept through several preparations, then buried
in an elaborate ceremony.
Sumbanese are traditionally divided into three
level of serial life :
°Raja or King (Maramba) ,
°Customary Official (Kabihu),
°and Slaves (Ata).
You can still find slaves attached to their King
Sumbanese are primarily live from farming, cattle breeding, rice-field farming and trading. The number of cattle one owns, contributes to the social status.
Island of Sumba is well known of its sandlewood, horses, impressive megalithic tombs, traditional vilages, weird beliefs, typical hand woven textile (ikat), and still untouched beautiful beaches.
Sumba's elaborate textile tradition finds its
most colorful expression along the island's east
coast where weavers combine animal and plant motifs
with geometric patterns and ethnographic symbolism.
What to the western eye is artistic, even fanciful,
for the Sumbanese forms the basis of a complicated
literacy that is the foundation of their culture.
There are two enterance point in to Sumba island :
Waingapu in East Sumba (airport and harbour)
Tambolaka airport and Waikelo harbour in
These are the people who enter Sumba either by
plane or boat.