I recently (early September) stayed at the Kelimutu EcoLodge in Moni, a guesthouse run according to ecological principles, notably incorporating the use of solar energy for electricity. It sits beside a river at 800 meters with enchanting views of Mt Kelimutu visible once the mist has lifted. I had three full days at the Kelimutu EcoLodge (1.5 hours from Ende airport) and knew more or less what I wanted to do and see during the time available, but was unable to envisage just how all could be achieved, especially as I don’t not like spending long periods in a car! Any apprehension I might have had rapidly dissipated as guide Ben listened intently while I described my goals and aspirations. In an admiringly creative way he was full of suggestions as we planned each day. Day one to the three coloured lakes of Mt Kelimutu (1640m) was combined with a long trek back down the mountain, immersed in nature and I learnt heaps as Ben identified trees and plants, especially the coffee, cacao, cashew, clove and candlenut that became more frequent as we reached the lower reaches of 800m. We somehow included a delicious kopi Flores with a local family. Day two: more trekking/half driving south to a remote 1000-year-old village called Nggela nestled on a small plateau above the Savu Sea. On a wonderful learning curve I could at last have a sense of the cultural mix of traditional animist and Catholic beliefs that I’d read so much about. Ben had brought betel nut for the women weavers and we watched them grind and start chewing it before offering us an exquisite kopi Flores, coffee that they had hand-picked, roasted and ground finely from their own trees. I was able to observe the weaving of ikat and Ben helped me bargain for a superb sarong; with Ben as interpreter I was able to understand just how each colour had been obtained from natural dyes. Day three was a treat: with an early start to avoid the heat we walked through elegant candle nut forests that sloped towards rice paddies before heading northwards with our driver to the tiny village of Ropa by the sea where we ate a lunch of nasi goreng. My desire to see volcanic activity was fulfilled once again as we sat on the shore and watched the island of Palué (in the Flores Sea) erupt at regular intervals. We then spent the afternoon swimming and snorkelling on a quiet beach with white sands. Our outings were book-ended each day with delicious food at the EcoLodge, served by cooks Reta and Min, food that was tasty, fresh and served with much care. This “tour” was not your usual “package deal” but an innovative custom-made programme that evolved over the 3 days (not always full days), a programme that not only maximized my cultural and geological experiences, but also met my needs in a flexible adaptive way. Many thanks to guide Ben, drivers Stefan and Kosmas (both incredibly competent and skilful as they navigated the sometimes challenging roads) and also to the cooks Reta and Min, for making my stay so enjoyable and fulfilling. Needless to say, I plan to return…..
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Kelimutu Crater Lakes Eco Lodge was designed and built by the now internationally acclaimed eco designer Meryl Wilson. This is the fifth lodge of the company and follows our strict eco guidelines follwing our six pillars for local employment, growing our own food, use of renewables, sewage recycling, protect of the local environment and training program for key stakeholders. The lodge is a great stepping stone to see the mystical crater lakes, hike in the mountains, for birding, artists (see our Art Tour)and the start of our Trans Flores safari to see the Komodo Dragons based at our Bajo Lodge. ... more less
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