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Rote Island
Lavalon: Where the music Has no barrier

Rote island is 1214,3 square kms in size and forms, Regency. Rote is the southernmost island of Indonesia. It is located near the west coast of Kupang and has an exceptional spectacular natural environment with clear, transparant waters, caved rock formations, terraced plantations and rolling hills rugged with palm trees, savanna and some forests.

Rote island is especially known for its beautiful, white sandy beaches with a perfect surf, its ritual traditions, its beautiful ikat weavings and the Sasando, a musical instrument that is unique to the island of Rote.

Over the years, Rote island has become a top class surf destination. Also it has become extremely popular as a diving and snorkelling destination within the Indonesian archipelago, thanks to its hectares of beautiful coral reefs that fring the coastlines of the island. And besides these watersports the unique culture draws more and more tourism to the island of Rote.

HOW TO GET THERE

Rote island (Ba'a) can be reached within two hours with the daily inter-island fast ferry from Kupang on West Timor. From Ba'a it is another two hours by public transport to Nemberala village.

A passenger ferry operates daily between Kupang and Pantai Baru, a small mangrove fringed bay on the northwestern side of Roti. A motor boat also travels twice a week between Pepela and the village of Namosain in Kupang. The trip takes around six hours depending on the weather conditions.

Surfing at Rote island - Nemberala ( T-Land )

 

                    

Surfing at Rote Island

Nemberala beach is generally regarded as one of the most beautiful beaches of Indonesia. It offers fascinating sunsets, stunning panoramas and after Sumatra it is the most popular surfing destination within the Indonesian archipelago.

The surfing season starts in the month of April and runs untill November; during the trade wind season Rote and the surrounding islands offer several quality surf spots. The main surf break is in the front of  the village of Nemberala with a world class left hander, long rides and a soft kind of wave, but it can be also get high and heavy on big swell. Not far south of Nemberala there is good right hander called Boa.

Diving and snorkeling at Rote Island

The marine life of Rote island is extremely varied with all kinds of beautiful colored tropical fish varying from the fire fish to mantas, Diving at Rote island is really exceptional due to the large numbers of manta and dugong that can be seen here.

Since the coastlines of Rote and its nearby small islands are fringed by hectares of beautiful colored coral reefs and sandy beaches, the island is a popular destination for those who love snorkeling as well.

Nemberala Beach, Rote island


Snorkeling at Rote island

 


Endangered Turtles

rote snake turtle
      The snake-necked turtle

The snake-necked turtle (chelodina mccordi) of Rote is an extremely endangered turtle species that is encountered at Rote island's highlands. Its habitat are swamps, rice terraces and small lakes.

The carapace can reach a length between 18 and 24 centimetres. The length of the neck is similar. The color of the carapace is pale grey brown. Occasionally there are also specimens which have a chestnut coloured hue. The plastron is pale buff white. The neck is dark brown on the upperparts with round tubercles. The underparts are beige white. The iris is black surrounded by a white ring.

The Rote Island snake-necked turtle is one of the most desired turtles in the international pet trade. Even before it was scientifically described it was so over-collected that the legal trade was prohibited in 2001 due to its rarity. The two or three remaining populations live in an area of only 70 km² in the central highlands of Roti Island. It is still illegally captured and it is often offered on markets under the label of the New Guinea Snake-necked Turtle which is also legally protected.


Culture of Rote Island

Rotenese dance during the HUS celebration
     Traditional dance of Rote island

The society of Rote is devided up into two clans which used to be kingdoms before Indonesia's independence. These clans are named "Sunrise" and "Sunset" respectively.

The clans are ruled by two Lords (one male and one female) and several advisers. Each clan performs its own rituals during the annual HUS celebration, a traditional New Year festival. At the HUS, the Rotenese men make offerings to the ancestors of the clan, wearing traditional clothing, and the women perform dances accompanied by the sasando, the Rotenese guitar.

Traditional hat of Rote
The traditional Rote Hat


Lontar Palm - the Tree of Life

The vesatile lontar palm (Borassus sp.) plays a mayor role in the lives of the Rotians. The people of Rote derive most of their daily nutritional requirements from this drought resistent palm tree. Literally all parts of the tree are used, the energy rich juice of the flowers to make tuak and palm sugar, the timber of the trunk to build their houses and the leaves to make roofing material and various palm leaf weaving products, among others the traditional Rotenese hat. Also the sasando, a musical instrument unique to Rote island, is made from the leaves of the lontar palm.
VIDEO OF SASANDO INSTRUMENT

The Rotinese were also renowned for their cakes of crystallised sugar made from the juice of the lontar palm. Bajo and Pepela residents state that, in the past, Binongko sailors from the Tukang Besi Islands regularly visited Pepela to purchase lontar palm sugar, which was then traded throughout the Indonesian archipelago.

The Sasando, a Rotenese string instrument
Rote's peculiar string instrument, the Sasando             

This trade continues to the present day, but vessels from Roti island also sail to the Tukang Besi Islands to sell palm sugar directly to the Bajo.


Ikat from Rote island

Patola ikat from Rote island
                Ikat with patola design from Rote island

The floral design on this sarong (mens cloth) shows the influence of the prestigious and sacred silk double ikat patola cloths made in Gujerat in India and traded in Southeast Asia.

The borders, triangles, eight pointed stars and grid format of the cloth all derive from patola design. On the island of Roti, patola-inspired patterns were associated with royalty and were applied to locally woven textiles to indicate nobility and power.

The Patola inspired motifs are executed with aniline dyes on a soft, fine commercial cotton of a type that places this piece in the mid to late 20th century.


ACCOMMODATION

Accommodation available at Namberala beach includes a beachfront bungalow resort and several home stays.



Map of Rote island
(click to enlarge)

Map of Rote island - click to enlarge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

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