BEYOND WORDS: NIHIWATU, SUMBA
By Pris & Eve from Welikebali
We’re always dreaming of making new adventures, exploring the beautiful archipelago Indonesia. When we heard about a magical surf resort called Nihiwatu on the remote island Sumba, we we’re determined to go. Last December we escaped the Bali hassle and stepped on the plane with our boys for 4 days of sun, surf and island exploration.
After a quick one-and-a-half-hour flight above the blue sea (and trying to recognize each island we passed, fave thing to do when flying through Indo!), we landed in the capital Tambolaka, located in West Sumba. Welcomed by a pleasant wall of dry, hot air.
Awaited by a dark green safari Jeep, we started our journey towards Nihiwatu through the mountains towards the East side of the island. From the moment we stepped into the car and drove passed small villages on scenic roads, Sumba stole our hearts. All the kids on the streets and tiny houses waving to us, running towards us, screaming, high-fiving and throwing us the biggest smiles we’ve ever seen.
After 2 hours the car slowed down and the big wooden sign ‘Nihiwatu’ appeared. Overlooking a breathtaking exotic valley stretching miles away with nothing but coconut trees, white sand and waves rolling in. Now we understood the slogan ‘The Edge of Wilderness’… We we’re entering paradise.
On site we meet our personal host during our stay at Nihiwatu: Tinus. A Sumbanese young man, with a genuine smile and glistening eyes, dressed in a cotton warrior attire, sharp word and ikat headband. Getting to know Tinus in the next days, we learn about the traditional way of life, history of headhunters and tribal unity.
We had long talks about his local religion Marapu, the peaceful relationship with their ancestors. He works at Nihiwatu for 15 years now. He is beyond proud, thankful and sincere excited to be our host. We found it so beautiful how we connected deeply in such short time.
While we we’re exploring Nihiwatu’s on site infinity pool, exotic gardens, tropical beach hut restaurants and private beach, we’re small talking our quite-okay Bahasa Indonesia to all the Sumbanese people. We soon noticed we could’ve easily spoke Chinese. Because Sumba’s dialect and language is completely different. Tinus teaches us there are 6 different regional languages. We wanted to learn a few words. Waru Nuu – Coconut Tree, Bonnu – Ocean, Mata Lodo – Sun. Falling deeper and deeper in love.
Walking around the venue, we see each of the 33 villas has its own name and unique construction and design. We stayed at Kasambi in two luxurious suites, tucked away in lush gardens and palm trees, a private pool and above all: overlooking the surf break on Nihi beach.
We woke up every day at 5am for a wave check – and watch the sun rise over kilometers of white stretched sand and the infinity of coconut trees. Birds singing sounds of paradise. It was too surreal to take it all in.
The next days we spend with early morning beach walks, breakfasts with an incredible view on the Indian Ocean (we saw dolphins twice during our stay!) and exploring the island. We also had beach horse-riding, hidden waterfalls and trekking through the rice paddies on our wish list, but as it was rainy season we had some spectacular thunder shows instead. Guess it was a sign we just have to come back another time 🙂
Luckily that gave us extra time to indulge on our main hobby: eating. As if the experience and beauty of Nihi wasn’t ‘wow’ enough, the food peaked every expectation we could’ve possibly have. We would recommend to eat as much as you can and take the time to enjoy.
Our absolute favorite activity was the incredible surf. Nihiwatu has a private called ‘Occy’s Left’ was the most fun wave we’ve surfed all year. We we’re in the water with the four us us and just a handful of other people. At the ‘Boathouse’ we stalled our boards (which we all brought, Eve didn’t – but we got her a board for her birthday at Nihiwatu!) and hang out at the bar after surf with a fresh coconut. We could easily hang out here all day! If you’re not a surfer, you can be: there are private surf instructors to help you on the wave. Boards are available to use for every guest. If you’re not into surfing; snorkeling and fishing trips out front are amazing.
One of the highlights was an incredible day trip called the ‘Nihi Oka Spa Safari’. Another experience on its own. Normally a 90-minutes trek will bring us to the venue, but as we totally lost track of time enjoying our morning surf session, we brought with the Jeep.
After a short stroll through the coconut tree forest (for us: heaven on earth) we we’re welcomed with a cold coconut and we’re led to our private bale on the cliff, overlooking the ocean. After an amazing barbeque and being in awe with the wild, untouched beach, clear blue waters with turtles around us – we we’re pampered with massages and treatments. Tiny detail: the massage huts are on the cliff. Through the whole where you put your head, a mirror is placed so you overlook the ocean even though you’re looking down. Wow.
Visiting a local village is an absolute must do when in Sumba. But we do recommend to go with an experienced, local Guide. We found it an incredible, but also overwhelming to witness such poverty up close. Even though the people all seem so content and it’s a fun gathering when tourists like us enter the village. The kids are so adorable!
We spoke to Rainy and Kenny from the Sumba Foundation. Who are doing amazing work on the island together with Nihiwatu and the support of its guests. Each day they provide school lunch for the kids, as they’re usually send to school without breakfast or lunch and at home only eat a small amount of cassava –the main food on Sumba. The foundation also helps people in remote villages to access to clean water, prevent and treat Malaria and many more incredible projects. We’re so impressed with the love, dedication and hard work.
No doubt there is something magical and mystical about this island. It’s such a different world and we find it so spectacular that it’s still so untouched and not discovered by the mass. No words could ever capture the beauty and feeling of being in Nihiwatu and Sumba. It must be on your Bucket list. Someday somehow. We’re already dreaming of our next visit.
Thank you Sumba, you stole our hearts.
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