Kelimutu National Park is the smallest national park of the six national parks in Bali and Nusa Tenggara. However, its small size does not matter when you see the natural beauty of this national park.
There are three lakes located in Mount Kelimutu which have the same name and popularly known as Lake kelimutu. Each lake has its own color and meaning. The lakes are believed by the local people as the abode of the spirits and also have a very powerful natural force. These lakes are also known as the Three Colors Lakes since it has three different colors, which are red, blue, and white. However, the colors are always changing with the passage of time.
Lake Kelimutu is a crater lake at the top of Mount Kelimutu (active volcano) located in the island of Flores, East Nusa Tenggara Province, Indonesia. The location of this mountain is in the village of Pemo, District Kelimutu, Ende. The lake is located at an altitude of 1,631 meters above sea level.
Maybe some of you have been trekking to Lake Kelimutu but some may still dream to visit. Kelimutu is a combination of the word “keli” means mountain and the word “mutu” means boiling. Lake Kelimutu has three giant puddles. Each puddle has a water color which change every year.
Lake Kelimutu is divided into three parts based on its colors. Local people believe that the blue lake or “Nuwa Muri Koo Fai Tiwu” which is a gathering place for the souls of young people who have died. The lake with red color or “Tiwu Ata Polo” is a gathering place for the souls of the dead who always commits a crime. While the lake is white color or “Tiwu Mbupu Ata” is a gathering place for the souls of parents who have died.
The sizes of three lakes are about 1,051,000 square meters with the volume of water are 1292 million cubic meters. Lies between the lakes are the narrow stone walls and easy avalanche. This wall is very steep with a slope angle of 70 degrees. The height of the walls of the Lake ranges from 50 to 150 meters.
Lake Kelimutu initially popularized by a Dutch citizen named Van Such Telen in 1915. Its beauty is more widely known after Y. Bouman describes the beauty and color changes in the lake water in his writings in 1929. Since that time, foreign tourists started to come to enjoy the lake which known as spooky place for the local community. Those who came not only lovers of beauty, but also researchers who want to know the events of this nature are very rare.
There are other lakes in the world which have, but the color changing can be predicted as Blue Lake in Mount Gambier, in South Australia which changes color from blue to gray. There is also a lake Yudamari in Mount Nakade, Japan, which changes color from tosca to green. Color changing of the water in Lake Kelimutu is unpredictable. Sometimes, the color can be blue, green and black, and other times can be white, red and blue, and some time ago dark brown.
Scientifically discoloration Lake Kelimutu is a factor of mineral content, moss and rocks in the crater and also the influence of sunlight. Scientists believe that the lake was formed from a volcanic eruption in ancient times. This phenomenon has attracted the attention of geologists because of the existence of a lake that has three different colors in the same mountain.
Kelimutu National Park also a place for about 19 species of rare birds. Among of them are pigeon flores (Treron florist), Wallace owl (Otus silvicola), sweep the jungle-swinging (Rhinomyias oscillans), kancilan Flores (Pachycephala nudigula), junk dwarf (Pericrocotus lansbergei), tesia East (Tesia everetti), opior crested (Lophozosterops dohertyi), opior half thick (Heleia crassirostris), chili gold (Dicaeum Annae), kehicap flores (Monarcha sacerdotum), honey bird (Nectarinia solaris), and eagle Flores (Spizaetus florists). Here also can be found mountain rats (Bunomys naso), bull (Bos javanicus javanicus), deer (Muntiacus muntjac nainggolani), mongoose (Pardofelis marmorata), pangolin (Manis javanica), porcupine (Hystrix brachyura brachyura), and clever individual (Tragulus javanicus javanicus).
Enjoy the beauty of Kelimutu
Kelimutu area is surrounded by forest with endemic flora, which rarely found in the other parts of Flores. In addition to pine trees, there is also casuarinas, red wood and perennial flower edelweiss. Pine forest blooms in altitudes of Mount Kelimutu. The other part of the mountain is dry with unstable land. Local people believe that Kelimutu is sacred and spreading prolificacy to their land. Visitors can only walk around Lake Kelimutu but not all areas can be explored due to some dangerous areas.
Climbing is the main reason for tourists who come to Moni or Ende. Some parts of the national park are forbidden to visit because of the instability of the earth’s heat. Trekking safest track is between Moni and Kelimutu. Long of trekking track is as far as 12 miles and will takes about 30 minutes.
There are several places that you can visit such as Blue Stone Beach, former isolation home of Soekarno (first president of Indonesia), and certainly, shopping fabric at the Ikat Market.
How to get there
Kelimutu is located in the village of Koanara, District Wolowaru, approximately 66 kilometers away from the town of Ende and 83 kilometers away from Maumere. Moni is the closest city, situated at the foot of Mount Kelimutu. This small town is a gateway to Lake Kelimutu. Distance between Moni and Kelimutu is about 15 km. You can use a motorcycle, taxi, car, or public transportation to take you to the parking area before heading to the top of Mount Kelimutu. There are buses from Maumere to Ende via Moni. The local people call it the wooden bus or oto kol. You have to walk about 15 miles to the location of the lake.
Every day, there are flights available from Denpasar and Kupang to Maumere.
Access to this area can also be reached from Kupang. You can use plane to the town of Ende on Flores Island, with the travel time about 40 minutes. Then continue with public transportation such as minibuses, to the village of Kaonara, within 93 miles, with a travel time of about 3 hours. From the village of Koanara to the top of Kelimutu, you can walk along about 2.5 km.
To reach the lake, you can also start from Moni, a small town which is the base camp of the backpacker. Beautiful scenery along the road to the location of the lake is very beautiful.
As one of the main tourist attractions, the accommodation around the Lake is well maintenance. Around the lake there is a guard cabin, shelter for visitors, toilets, parking lot and some small inn.
Moni only offers simplicity that may be suitable for backpackers. The bungalows here are far from luxury. If you want to stay somewhere more comfortable then Maumere is the right choice because the distance is only 4 hours. In Ende can also be an option since there is a Grand Tourism Hotel which is convenient.
Kelimutu Crater Lakes Eco lodge was built in 2010 and only 20 minutes’ drive to the Kelimutu National Park. Here available warm water and a clean bathroom. This place is an environmental friendly hotel. So far, the resort is the best resort and accommodation. Honeymoon travelers and backpackers usually prefer to stay here.
Lake Kelimutu is usually covers by fog. You better visit in the early morning around 3:30 am in order to watch the sunrise charming atmosphere. This is the best atmosphere to watch, the breathtaking scenery of Lake Kelimutu.
The best time to visit Lake Kelimutu is in July and August. Please book your hotel two months before the visit.