My most recent sojourn was to the Indonesian Island of Savu, about half way between the islands of Timor and Sumba.
Like most places in Indonesia, Savu can be spelt any number of ways, depending on whether you use the Dutch spelling, the Indonesia spelling or the local spelling. Most locals I came across seemed to use the spelling/pronunciation "Sabu", where as most outsiders know the place as "Savu". So take your pick as to which you want to use, but for now I am going with Savu!
As the legendary Indonesian airline Merpati flails in its final stages of total disintegration, NBA a basically unheard of third level airline from Java has stepped up to offer a twice weekly air service to Savu from Kupang. NBA flies the legendary CASA 212, a box on wings, licensed built in Indonesia and an active participant in creating the incredibly bad air safety record in the expansive archipelago that is Indonesia. Every time I catch a 212 I can't help but to have flash backs to the 4 hour flight I did once between Kisar and Kupang in one of these flying boxes packed to the roof with foul smelling ripe Durians! I swear my clothes smelt of Durians for several days later.
for added ventilation an industrial (supposed to be) wall mounted extraction fan, hard wired into the power grid, pretends to make a difference
The culture of Savu is still heavily influenced by their animistic beliefs. I was extremely privileged to be allowed access to the traditional healing area of Savu, where villagers go to be cured of whatever it is making them sick. Actual photos of the "magic healing" house are not allowed, but pictures of the general area were OK. A new house was being built during my visit, accompanied by an appropriate amount of animal sacrifices - pigs, goats and dogs - all giving their lives in a dual function of animistic offering and lunch for the working villagers. During an actual healing ceremony, the patient is led on horse back in a circular route around the "magic house" which contains various icons of animistic belief, whilst knowledgeable villagers mutter incantations each time the patient on horse back is led past limestone outcrops jutting out of the dry dusty ground.
View Savu in a larger map
Google Map showing Savu relevant to Nth West Australia
SO YOU WANT TO GO HERE? - GETTING TO SAVU
- Probably the easiest place to access Savu from is Kupang in West Timor
- Getting to Kupang is relatively easy, with several airlines flying there
- From Kupang get the NBA flight direct to Savu
- This flight is semi-regular, at the time of writing was twice a week
- It is difficult to book this flight outside of Indonesia
- At the time of writing you could not book NBA flights on line
- There are also regular ferries from West Timor and Sumba
- Flights are cheap, and the safety record ferry vs flight is comparable……..
- Accommodation in Savu is difficult to book in advance
- You can find travel agents in Indonesia specialising in the remote islands