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Crocodiles on Sumba

After seven years travelling around Sumba, I still manage to find new bits of paradise when I least expect them.

Someone had told me that near the town of Terimbang in East Sumba, you can find river crocodiles. I did some quick research and decided to organize a trip. On the day itself, my friend and I woke up early, drove for a long time, and walked even longer, passing by beautiful plantations of local cashew nuts. Thankfully we had brought a good amount of water with us, as the strong sun rays made our walk a real exercise of persistence.

In the morning, the crocodiles relax in the sun on the riverbeds. We had to be quiet and make our way through the vegetation calmly, as at the slightest noise the crocodiles could take notice and jump off into the water. The area was truly breathtaking, the river being a mix of turquoise reflecting with the wilderness of the jungle. Birds singing all around us added a touch of paradise.

We proceeded as quietly as we could, but the dry leaves and twigs that covered the soil beneath our feet betrayed us with every step. At one point, a fallen tree serving as a bridge between the two sides of the river presented the perfect opportunity to observe the riverbeds all the way up to the horizons. And then it came. My friend made a quick gesture pointing his hand. I turned my head in that direction and saw the tail of what looked like a monster. It jumped into the river more quickly than my brain could processes the images, and the moment was gone.

We stuck around for another hour hoping to see another crocodile or two emerge from the waters, but none came and we got tired. There was still a long walk back. In the end, we didn’t see much of the crocodiles, but what we got was a memorable trip through the scenic tropical woods of Sumba. Worth it, to put it mildly.