Lake Kelimutu, A Perfect Place for Exploring the Extraordinary
Mt Kelimutu National Park is the smallest among six national parks in the stretch between Bali and the Nusa Tenggara islands. Its size obviously does not matter much when it offers one of the most spectacular wonders that nature has to offer. There are three lakes on the mountain sharing the same name, Kelimutu, meaning ‘the boiling lake’. Each has its own colors and a local name. But all are believed to be the resting place of departed souls.
Kelimutu lakes are unpredictable as to when and what color they will change into. Sometimes, the colors are blue, green, and black, and some other times they turn to white, red, and blue. The last time a traveler saw them, one was dark brown, just like a pond of chocolate. Previously, the east lake was red and the middle lake was blue.
Lake Kelimutu is part of the Kelimutu National Park, presenting a highly aesthetic value and surreal experience. The national park’s highest point is 5,679 feet at Mt Kelibara (1,731 meters), and 5,544 feet high (1,690 meters) at Mt Kelimutu. It is a national park that protects 19 endemic and endangered animals, among which, the Floresian punai (Treron floris), Wallacea owl (Otus silvicola), Floresian kancilan (Pachycephala nudigula), Floresian eagle (Spizeatus floris), and Timorese tesia (Tesia everetti).
Kelimutu area is surrounded with forest containing floras that are scarcely found in Flores area. Other than pines, there are also casuarinas, red wood and edelweiss. Pine forest grows well in this side of Kelimutu Mountain. The other side of the mountain is dried land with highly unstable sand and soil. Local community believes that Kelimutu Mountain is sacred and donates fertility to the nature nearby.
Visitors can only walk around Lake Kelimutu but not all areas can be explored because some are dangerous and therefore restricted. From Moni to Kelimutu, if you like to go trekking, there is a path which is shorter than the car access route.
Distance from Moni to the top is about 12 km. The distance to the parking lot by motor vehicle is 11 km, and then visitors will climb on foot through the pathway for 30 minutes.
Koanara village, in the Wolowaru sub-district is closest to Mt Kelimutu, and is about 66 km from the town of Ende, or 83 km from Maumere. Moni is the closest small town, lying at the foot of Mt Kelimutu. It is the gate to Lake Kelimutu. The distance between Moni and Kelimutu is 15 km.
You can take an ojek, a motorbike taxi, car or public transportation to take you to a parking lot before Kelimutu’s peak. Buses to Ende from Maumere will pass Moni. They call it BIS KAYU or oto kol, the wooden pick-up truck. From there, you must walk 30 minutes along the mountain side. There are daily flights from Denpasar and Kupang to Maumere. Please refer to information on how to get there when in Labuan Bajo.