The view across the coastal plain southeast of Waingapu is promising; irrigated green rice fields on one side, coastal views on the other. The first of the good beaches is found about 30km’s from town near the Kadumbul River mouth.
It’s another 36km to the next decent beach at Melolo, Sumba’s fifth biggest town. In the evenings the locals brings their horses down to the beach to splash in the water and enjoy the cool sea breeze. On Saturdays, the beach becomes an unofficial racetrack.
Just north of the Melolo bridge, turn westwards onto a narrow track along the river valley where you’ll find Umbara, Pau and Tambahak traditional villages. Whilst Pau is the highlight, they each have stone sculptures and traditional handcrafts such as ikat weaving and jewellery making. All three villages can be explored on foot in the space of a few hours.
From Melolo, you can veer inland towards Kananggar and follow your nose right back to Waingapu along a pretty mountainous route or continue southwards to Baing town where the sealed road ends. The Baing option will take you through Rindi (Rende) and Praiyawang, just 7km south of Melolo. These villages are notable for their huge stone graves and big traditional houses with walls of buffalo skin.
From here to Baing town, the road is inland a short way but there are various tracks leading out to numerous coastal villages and some fine beaches. About 35km from Melolo, Lamakara village is reached. Turn here onto a rough track towards the coast and after 2.5km you’ll reach the ancient burial ground of Okawatu. This 16 hectare site is the largest megalithic tomb area in Indonesia. Many of Sumba’s ancestoral Raja’s are buried here and it’s also rumoured to be the final resting place of some sailors from Magellan’s epic voyage when he passed by in January 1522. The site is surrounded by a stone wall, is quite overgrown and sadly, over time some of the tombs have been opened and robbed but it just adds an air of mystery to an already interesting attraction.