Camplong Forest is a designated tourist park situated at the foot of Mount Fatuleu, 44km east of Kupang just off the main road to Soe. The tourist area consists of a crocodile farm with deer and pythons and a shady bathing area fed from natural springs in the region. There are a few short walking trails in the adjacent forest reserve where you might spot some monkeys and a nearby artificial cave that Japanese troops constructed during their brief occupation in WWII.
On its own, Camplong is probably not the kind of attraction we’d normally include among our off the beaten track attractions other than to say that its location makes it a good place to stop and have a stretch, something to eat and a quick swim on the long drive between Kupang and Soe, particularly if you’ve been sitting on the back of a scooter.
However, what’s really interesting is Mount Fatuleu, the solid limestone pinnacle that towers dramatically over the tourist area. The 1,111m high formation is a popular rock climbing location and for those who don’t mind a bit of scrambling, the 360 degree views from the top of the rock are fabulous. From Camplong Forest the 7km return trek takes around 3 hours. The route to the summit is not altogether straightforward though, so it’s best to grab a guide from Sublele village to show you the way; just about any of the local teenagers will be up for it.
If you’re still feeling energetic after the climb, ask your guide to show you one or two of the natural caves in the region. Winding 500m back into the Fatuleu massif, Goa Nualeu is the best of them and is considered sacred by the locals.
Be aware there are some steep, exposed sections to negotiate on the way to the summit so if you’re a bit squeamish about heights it might be best to sit this one out or only go part of the way. Good sturdy footwear is essential – definitely not flip-flops!