On an island where waterfalls are not uncommon, the 100m high Murusobe Twin Falls stand out as one of the more spectacular natural attractions in Flores. Located almost midway between the TransFlores Highway and the lesser used Northern Road running along the north coast of Flores, Murusobe Twin Falls is well off the beaten track. For this reason very few visitors ever set eyes on this stunning attraction but if you have the time and inclination, a visit to Murusobe is well worth the effort.
But if ever the old saying ‘it’s about the journey, not the destination’ applies, this is it because getting to Murusobe is really an adventure in itself. Of the several possible routes, they each pass through rarely visited, traditional Lionese villages where you’ll probably be the centre of attention, verdant rainforests and picturesque farmlands producing rice, cocoa, coffee, corn and other vegetables. Immersing yourself in the refreshing plunge pool as you gaze up at the twin cascades will merely be the culmination of what is sure to be a memorable holiday experience.
The first option is via the TransFlores Highway, between Ende and Maumere. At Lekebai village, located about 35km south west of Maumere, turn northwards onto an access track towards Murusobe village. Within a few kilometres you will reach a three-road intersection. For the shortest route to Murusobe, take the right-hand road towards Feondari village and follow this for approximately 20km’s to Wolonira village where the road ends. Make contact with the village headman and arrange to leave your car or scooters here, then proceed on foot for about 1 hour to Detukato village. From Detukato it is another hour of hiking to reach Murusobe waterfall. This last section follows the river along a well-worn track, crisscrossing the river several times via bamboo bridges or stepping stones.
The alternative route from Lekebai village, after proceeding straight ahead at the three way intersection, goes via Wolofeo village and following the road until it ends at Loke village. Again, it is both courteous and wise to make contact with the village headman to arrange to leave your vehicle there before proceeding on foot to Poma village (about 2 hours), and then a final 30 minute trek to Murusobe waterfall.
Most of the villages along either route will be happy to provide a meal and refreshments for trekkers although don’t expect anything formal. It is likely to be a meal in one of the villager’s homes who will be equally happy to have you as a guest as they are the opportunity to earn a little extra cash. Detukato village can also provide homestay accommodation and staying overnight is a far more practical than trying to visit Murusobe waterfall in a single day from either Ende or Maumere. This way you’ll have far more time to enjoy the local hospitality, experience Lionese culture and may even be treated to some traditional singing and dancing.
There is a third option to access Murusobe waterfall from the Northern Road via Deturia village. This option usually incorporates a visit to Tiwi Soro Lake, regarded as sacred by the locals, who believe the souls of their dead go to the lake where they are reincarnated as one of the giant black eels that inhabit the dark green waters. This is a minimum three day option which involves travel by car or scooter from Maumere to Pise Village which takes about 3-4 hours, then trekking another 3-4 hours through mostly farmlands to Deturia village which can provide basic homestay accommodation. Day two consists of a full day trekking to Tiwi Soro Lake and Murusobe waterfall, returning to Deturia village for a second overnight stay. Day three is the reverse of day one.
Whilst all this might sound like a lot of trouble to visit a waterfall, it’s an experience your unlikely to forget. Whilst Detukato and Deturia villages would love to capitalise on Flores’s growing popularity as a tourist destination, their location means that few outsiders venture here, a fact borne out by the scant entries in visitors books you will be asked to sign. There is none of the jadedness here that frequently visited villages sometimes have. You will be welcomed with open arms and treated like honoured guests. Smiling village children, once they overcome their shyness, are quite enchanting and it is very likely that you’ll share your dip in the waters of Murusobe with more than a few of them.
Regardless of which route you choose, you will need private transport to and from the trail heads at Wolonira, Loke or Pise villages. Theoretically, you can get that far independently then engage a guide from one of these villages prior to commencing your treks. However, you’re unlikely to find an English speaking guide so unless you speak Bahasa Indonesian, this will severely limit your ability to interact with the friendly locals you encounter along the way. If you intend overnighting at either Detukato or Deturia villages, not being unable to converse with your hosts will also be frustrating and probably a bit awkward. For the relatively small cost involved, it is a far better option is to arrange a guide from either Ende or Maumere for the entire return trip.