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A visit to the hot and dry habitat of the Komodo dragon is not complete without finishing it with a revitalizing dip into the cool Cunca Wulang Waterfalls.
Located at the foothills of Mount Mbeliling some 30 km, or about one hour’s drive from the town of Labuan Bajo in western Flores, the romantic Cunca Wulang waterfalls offer a refreshing environment of clear pools and rivers, hemmed in by walls of stone formations and thick forests, inviting each and everyone to splash into its cool waters. In the local language “Cunca” means “waterfall” and “wulang” means “the moon”.
Many can, indeed, not resist the temptation to immediately splash down into the cold blue water from the height of 5 meters cliffs, coming up to the surface feeling completely refreshed.
Mt. Mbeliling stands 1,239 meters above sea level, and with 26,000 hectares of forests covering its slopes, it is the largest forested area in Flores. Its refreshing rivers feed the plantations and villages, making the district of Manggarai the most fertile on Flores. Here are three refresihing waterfalls, they are the Cunca Wulang, Cunca Rami and Cunca Lolos.
Cunca Wulang is reached through an asphalted but winding road to the village of Wersawe, passing local plantations of candlenut (kemiri) trees, vanilla, coffee, cocoa and ricefields, fed by rainfall. From Wersawe village it is a downward trek to the river valley through thick forests. Once by the river, the powerful rush of the waterfall can be clearly heard, while on the way there one has to step from one stone to the other along the river course.
Cunca Wulang has already become a favorite destination with tourists from far away Europe, who come to enjoy this cool, pristine, almost untouched corner of tropical nature.
The return journey is an uphill trek through the forests, which are habitat of the rare scrubfowl (burung gosong). These birds are renowned for their lifelong faithfulness to their one and only partner. They lay their eggs in the sand, so that the eggs are hatched through the heat of the sand rather than by the warmth of the mother hen. These scrubfowls are also found on Rinca island, living in perfect harmony with the komodo dragons, where female dragons are known to use the birdsnests to lay their eggs.
A short distance by car from Wersawe village lies the path to the top of Mt Mbeliling. The trek up leads through forests, which are habitat of some of Flores endemic birds such as the Flores Kehicap, Flores parakeets (serindit), Flores ravens (gagak) and Flores owls (celepuk). These forests are ideal for bird watching.
From the top of the Mt. Mbeliling one has a wonderful wide-angle vista on the Sano Nggoang crater lake, the deepest and largest caldera on Flores, and in the distance the grand view on the Komodo National Park.
From Labun Bajo, which is the hopping off point to the Komodo National Park, you can hire a motorbike for around Rp. 100,000 or a car for Rp. 500,000 to Cunca Wulang. The road is asphalted but is very winding, with some parts in pretty bad condition.
Because of the poularity of the waterfalls , the local government plans to soon repair the road between Cikonobo to Warsawe in the near future.