If you want to experience Lio culture and nature in a remote area, where you will be among the first visitors to leave your footprints, an exploration to Lake Tiwu Sora and an overnight stay in Deturia Village will make an unforgettable journey.
For the local Lio people, Tiwu Sora (tiwu means ‘lake’ in Lio language) is a sacred place with its own legend. The small lake is home to a species of giant eel. The people from the surrounding villages believe that the souls of the deceased go to the mystic lake and inhabit the eels. So as not disturb the resting souls, each visitor has to go through a special ritual before entering the area of the lake. A village elder, who has the ritual knowledge to communicate with the ancestral spirits, will arrange the necessary supernatural preparations.
A recommended tour from Maumere
You can start your unforgettable trip to Tiwu Sora by car or motorbike from Maumere, where you will pass along the breathtakingly beautiful northern coastline. After about 41km, having passed the border between Sikka and the Ende district, you arrive in Rote Bobi Village. There is an intersection on the left side, which goes to Pise Village for another 9km. The road is very bumpy and only for experienced drivers. Let your driver drop you off or leave your car or motorbike in Pise (do not forget to tell your driver when and where to pick you up again after the trekking!).
Walk about 1km up the road until you find a small path on the left. From that point, enjoy the beautiful 3-hour hike (depending on your physical condition), which takes you first across a wide open savannah where you will encounter water buffalo families. The following single path passes through a dense forest. If you observe the forest’s natural beauty closely, you will capture incredible vegetation entertaining the senses.
From edible plants like the wild red berry (rattan fruit) Calamus sp., Arecaceae—served by Mother Nature as a thirst quencher, to plants merely showing off the beauty of magnificent shades and shapes of their petal such as the wild Orchids, smell and feel their scent. Edelweiss also spreads out in almost every corner of the forest along with countless other different vegetations in shapes and colors, rarely found in towns. All this realm beauty has been there since ancient times waiting to be explored.
Then the path slowly ascends and emerges into a mountainous savannah landscape where horses graze before entering the world of human settlements again. Deturia, meaning ‘big square’ in Lio language, is only a footstep away for a well-deserved rest.
While staying a night in Deturia Village, indulge in a performance of local dance and music, enjoy a meal with the community, and listen to the legend of the giant eels before you continue your journey to Lake Tiwu Sora, which is another hour’s hike. Pak Goris, the village head of Deturia, can organize a place for you to sleep. As it can get pretty chilly at night, bring your own sleeping bag or an additional blanket. Please be aware that there is no tourism infrastructure in Deturia and that your accommodation will be very basic.
If you want to stay for the night in Deturia village, inform Pak Goris (+62 81246594661), the village head, in advance of your arrival. You can expect a very warm welcome by the villagers who are eager to receive guests from abroad and integrate them like family members.
The trip to Tiwu Sora is not a commonly offered tour package yet, and finding Tiwu Sora is an ambitious undertaking. It is therefore highly advisable to contact one of the local guides who knows the path to this myth-spun site, and who can provide you with background information on the local culture and agriculture. Make sure that your driver is experienced in driving on roads that are in a bad to very bad condition.
Pak Ignas, an experienced guide from Maumere, can help you to organize the trekking (+62 81248398208 or firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.