Looking to the east of Maumere, one’s eyes are inevitably drawn to the smoking peak that is Mount Egon, one of Flores’s most active volcanoes. Straddling the narrow strip of land between Maumere and the Larantuka peninsular, the 1,671m high summit affords spectacular views over the Flores Sea to the north and the Sawu Sea to the south.
Whilst the views are great, Egon is very much an active volcano. As well as an attractive blue crater lake, there are two craters at the top, one formed during an eruption in 2004 and the other during the most recent eruption in 2008. Standing amidst orange-brown stained rubble eyeing the craters whilst Egon rumbles and roars and hisses around you and sulphurous fumes fill your nostrils is both intimidating and thrilling for those who dare to make the trek to the summit.
The trek is popular and do-able for anyone of reasonable fitness level, taking about 4-5 hours depending on how long you linger at the top. Commencing with a relatively easy walk through open woodlands, it’s not until the trail emerges above the tree line at about the halfway mark that the climb becomes a little more challenging with some steep, loose rocky sections beneath the lava domes to negotiate. These same sections should be treated with equal care on the way back down.
At the top, most of the lake crater rim can be easily traversed with the exception of the final 100m scramble to the highest point of the summit. This section is very steep and crumbly with near vertical drops on either side and is best left to experienced, well equipped rock climbers.
To reach the Mount Egon trail head, head east from Maumere along the TransFlores Highway for approximately 16km to the small town of Waigete. Turn south here and follow a narrow winding road 8km to Blidit Village. The trail head starts about 800m beyond the village and is difficult to find without a local guide although once you’re on your way, the trail is quite easy to follow. If you’d prefer a guide to take you all the way, one can be arranged quite easily on arrival in the village. Since the public bus will only get you as far as Waigete, it’s best to arrange private transportation from Maumere all the way to Blidit Village.