Lembata’s Sacred Mount Ile Api
Mount Ile Api is the highest peak on Lembata island, a small island just off Flores, in East Nusa Tenggara. Standing at 1450 metre tall, Mount Ile Api is visible from miles around. This active volcano has some similar characteristics with Mount Bromo in East Java, where the main crater of the mountain is surrounded by fine volcanic sand. At some point, you can spot yellow sulphurous marks near the crater, a sign of the mountain’s volcanic activity.
The starting point to hike Mount Ile Api is Lewolotok village, one of the traditional villages near the mountain. You can also start hiking from Jontona village, Bungamuda village, Lamatokan village, or Kolontobo village. Ceremonies are held at Mount Ile Api every year; the largest one is called Utan Wetun or ‘Kacang Tumbuh’ usually at the end of the year.
From the top of Mount Ile Api, you can see Flores sea and Adonara island with Mount Ile Boleng in the background. The view from the top is amazing. As an untouched island, there is nothing here to mar your view. Please remember that Mount Ile Api is extremely holy and sacred to the locals so please watch your behaviour and remain respectful while you’re there.
To visit Lembata island, you can travel via Larantuka, East Flores via one-hour boat ride. You can also travel via Kupang using Merapi Air or Susi Air. A plane ride from Kupang will give you something that a boat ride won’t – the breathtaking bird’s eye view of the Alor Archipelago from the air. It’s something you don’t want to miss!