Jerebu’u Valley: Caring for Heritage

Author : Ary Suhandi, Wita Simatupang. Rifki Sungkar, Botha Djawa, Sandrak Manurung | Yayasan Ekowisata Indonesia (Indecon) | 2016

The Jerebu’u region is a low-land area in the District of Ngada, East Nusa Tenggara Province, which boasts a striking landscape with the Inerie Mountain looming over the valley. It is home to a rich diversity of flora and fauna, many of which, such as coffee and candlenut, form an important part of the locals’ lives. Jerebu’u valley serves as one of the important areas for the development of ecotourism in Ngada District and Flores Island. Bajawa, the capital of Ngada District, lies on the trans-Flores tourism route that connects the two main tourist attractions in Flores: the Komodo National Park in the west, a unique world heritage site where the Komodo dragons live in their natural habitat; and the Three-Colour Lake in the Kelimutu National Park at the centre of the island. The development of an ecotourism corridor between the two main attractions is crucial as it will help extend the benefits that tourism brings into the area. The book outlined the relation between ecotourism development in Ngada and particularly at traditional villagers at Jerebu’u Valley. Tourism has already flourished in Ngada in the seventies. It was only in the nineties, however, that foreign tourists started to visit the traditional villages of Bena and Nage for their authentic and unique megalithic structures. In the 2000s, tour operators shifted their focus to other traditional villages such as Bena, Tololela, Gurusina, Nage, and Luba. It also described the natural and cultural attractions, including its biodiversity, traditional villages, dance and songs, as well as rituals. The traditional villages are very special as they are surrounded by the majestic vista of the Inerie Mountain. Visitors will be enchanted by the exotic and neatly-ordered landscape of the villages, with terraces going up towards the centre of the village where megalithic stone structures are arranged before the houses. This magical charm always makes visitors feel as if they are returning to the megalithic era. Ngadha community also has interesting everyday activities such as weaving and coloring threads using natural dyes. It is also interesting to watch them process their crops such as coffee, candlenut and cinnamon. Local people and their hospitality are probably the greatest asset of Flores. This book was also inspired by community of Ngadha who had genuinely maintain their traditional villages, custom, and culture; thus, are able to share them with others outside their home.

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