Timor Gunung Mutis Protection Forest

Written by on November 19, 2010 in Timor Nature Reserves with 0 Comments


Gunung Mutis Protection Forest


Gunung Mutis Protection Forest, Gunung Mutis, Mutis, Taman Hutan Raya

Gunung Mutis Protection Forest comprises an area of 10,000 ha. around the base of Gunung Mutis (2,427 m.), the highest mountain on West-Timor. The site consists of pure stands of Eucalyptus urophylla and grass land crossed by several small rivers. WWF Indonesia is active in the area since 1993.
Gunung Mutis Protection Forest can be reached with a minibus to Fatumenasi from Soe (1 hr.). Soe is regularly served by buses from Walikota bus station in Kupang. Currently a 8 km. road is being constructed through the reserve from Fatumenasi to Nenas (1,500m.).
* Soe
o Hotel Bahagia Satu and Dua.
o Hotel Mahkota Plaza.
o Hotel Anda.
* Fatumenasi – Nenas
o Ask the kepala desa.
PHPA, Jl.Perintis Kemerdekaan, Walikota (Kupang suburb).
* Nenas or Eban – Gunung Mutis 4 hrs.


* Casuarina spp.
* Eucalyptus urophylla

* Red Junglefowl – Gallus gallus
* Oriental Cuckoo – Cuculus saturatus
* Brush Cuckoo – Cacomantis variolosus
* Shining Bronze-Cuckoo – Chrysococcyx lucidus
* Olive-headed Lorikeet – Trichoglossus euteles
* Iris Lorikeet – Psitteuteles iris
* Red-cheeked Parrot – Geoffroyus geoffroyi
* Olive-shouldered Parrot – Aprosmictus jonquillaceus
* Streaked Boobook – Ninox novaeseelandiae
* Metallic Pigeon – Columba vitiensis
* Little Cuckoo-Dove – Macropygia ruficeps
* Black Cuckoo-Dove – Turacoena modesta
* Black-backed Fruit-Dove – Ptilinopus cinctus
* Timor Imperial-Pigeon – Ducula cineracea
* Brown Goshawk – Accipiter fasciatus
* Bonelli’s Eagle – Hieraaetus fasciatus
* Red-rumped Myzomela – Myzomela vulnerata
* Yellow-eared Honeyeater – Lichmera flavicans
* Plain Friarbird – Philemon inornatus
* Plain Gerygone – Gerygone inornata
* Fawn-breasted Whistler – Pachycephala orpheus
* Golden Whistler – Pachycephala pectoralis

* Large-billed Crow – Corvus macrorhynchos
* Olive-brown Oriole – Oriolus melanotis
* Wallacean Cuckooshrike – Coracina personata
* Slender-billed Cicadabird – Coracina tenuirostris
* White-shouldered Triller – Lalage sueurii # Northern Fantail – Rhipidura rufiventris
# Rufous Fantail – Rhipidura rufifrons
# Wallacean Drongo – Dicrurus densus
# Broad-billed Flycatcher – Myiagra ruficollis
# Chestnut-backed Thrush – Zoothera dohertyi
# Sunda Thrush – Zoothera andromedae
# Island Thrush – Turdus poliocephalus
# Lesser Shortwing – Brachypteryx leucophrys
# Snowy-browed Flycatcher – Ficedula hyperythra
# Little Pied Flycatcher – Ficedula westermanni
# Black-banded Flycatcher – Ficedula timorensis
# Timor Blue-Flycatcher – Cyornis hyacinthinus
# White-bellied Bushchat – Saxicola gutturalis
# Short-tailed Starling – Aplonis minor
# Mountain White-eye – Zosterops montanus
# Sunda Bush-Warbler – Cettia vulcania
# Timor Bush-Warbler – Bradypterus timoriensis
# Timor Leaf-Warbler – Phylloscopus presbytes
# Yellow-breasted Warbler – Seicercus montis
# Pygmy Wren-Babbler – Pnoepyga pusilla
# Blood-breasted Flowerpecker – Dicaeum sanguinolentum
# Tricolored Parrotfinch – Erythrura tricolor
# Black-faced Munia – Lonchura molucca

Mutis Mountain Nature Reserve is one of mainstay attractions owned by the Province of East Nusa Tenggara. This popular tourist area with mountains of marble stone by local people called Faut Kanaf or stone name. Under Faut Kanaf, there are sources of water called the eyes of Oe Kanaf or water from a stone. Water is sourced from the Kanaf Faut flowing to a point and form two watersheds (watershed), which is called community Benain DAS and DAS Noelmina. Both watershed is the source of life for the people of Western Middle East to this day.

Tourist area which is about 140 km north-east of Kupang has an area of approximately 12,000 hectares and is inhabited by one of the oldest tribes in East Nusa Tenggara, the tribe Dhawan. Visiting the Area Tourism Mount Mutis Nature Reserve was interesting. Million of flora and fauna live in it. Kawasan Wisata Gunung Mutis has vegetation types that are representative of a homogeneous upland forests. This area is also dominated by various types of ampupu (eucalyptus urophylla) that grow naturally and the type of sandalwood (Santalum album). Also here can be found a variety of other tree species such as hue (eucalyptus alba), bijaema (elacocarpus petiolata), haubesi (olea paniculata), kakau or mountain pine (casuarina equisetifolia), Manuk molo (decaspermum fruticosum), and oben (eugenia littorale ).

Other interesting sights can be seen is how indigenous tribes in this tourist region to support life. By leveraging the branches of trees, the locals make the forest home of the bees produce honey. Of honey bees this forest, the public can expect a lot to sustain its economic life, apart from the livestock and agriculture.

Geographically, Mount Mutis Nature Reserve is located in the subdistrict of North Mollo, South Central Timor, East Nusa Tenggara Province, Indonesia.
To achieve Mutis journey begins from Kupang to SoE, the city of South Central Timor regency with 110 km distance and travel time approximately 2.5 hours. From SoE, the journey continued with a bus ride to the When, the City District North Mollo. Of When, travel continues to Fatumnasi Village, a village on the slopes of Mount Mutis and the entrance to enter this tourist area. Travel as far as 15 km with a bus will take visitors into the tourist area of Mount Mutis’s stunning.

Gunung Mutis is FANTASTIC!!! Getting there was a bit of a laugh though. First was a three hour bus trip from Kupang to Soe which wasn’t bad because the bus was only half-full (the buses aren’t really buses either, they’re like bigger versions of mini-vans). Then a quick motorbike ride to where the bemos to Kapan leave from. I had been given to understand that I had to take a bemo half-an-hour to Kapan and then another bemo another half-an-hour to Fatumenasi where I would be trying to track down what was described on the internet as a “basic losmen” owned by Mateos Anin (yes the same internet source that called the delightful Mamariwu House a basic losmen too, so I wasn’t worried). A bemo is a small mini-van in which instead of having rows of seats there are two benches along either side, while the aisle in the middle is used for cargo, in the case of the Kapan bemo the cargo being sacks of rice and flour, boxes and baskets of indeterminate goods, a puppy, several chickens and a stereo system. The major drawback of bemos is that they are small. Really really small. The floor to ceiling height
Gunung Mutis
Gunung Mutis
can’t be more than four feet. The Indonesians slip in and out of them with graceful ease whereas I have to almost bend double just to get through the door, and then when I’m sitting on the bench I have to scrunch right down forwards to fit under the roof. I must look absolutely ridiculous in them amongst the Indonesians, like a gorilla sitting in a row of gibbons. The bemos aren’t the only area where I am too large. Many of the doorways in hotels and houses are little more than five-and-a-half feet high so I always have to watch my head, and going on the backs of motorbikes is always a trial because I weigh probably twice as much as their usual passengers. I’m always worried they’re going to lose control going round corners, and any time the bike is going up-hill you can tell its struggling with me on the back. In fact during my time at Gunung Mutis one of the bikes actually did stall on a particularly steep stretch and I had to jump off and run up the hill on foot.

Anyway, the bemo pulled into Kapan and I hopped out and asked
some scenery
some scenery
where I could get a bemo to Fatumenasi. This bemo does continue on to Fatumenasi I’m told. Excellent. I hop back in again and wait for it to load up with more passengers. The entire town, it seems, appears and crowds round the vehicle, peering in all the windows to see the oddity of a white man here in the middle of their town. After ten minutes or so of saying hello and telling people where I’m from and where I’m going, etc etc etc, a man comes wandering past dressed in full hill-tribe gear — robes, sashes, head-gear, gold bracelets and necklaces, ornamentations galore, big old knife stuck through the belt, all-in-all looking extremely resplendant, and at the same time curiously out of place amongst his own countrymen in their T-shirts and trousers. He comes over to the bemo and puts his hand through the window to shake my hand. The conversation then went something like this (except partly in Indonesian and partly in English):
“Hello, where are you from?”
“New Zealand”
“Ah, New Zealand. And where are you going to?”
“To Fatumenasi”
“Ah, where will you be staying in Fatumenasi?”
“With Mateos Anin” (I say hoping I can
big katydid
big katydid
find him when I get there)
“My name is Mateos!”
“Your name is Mateos too?”
“Oh that’s nice”
“You come on ojek to Fatumenasi” (an ojek being a motorbike)
“No, no, I go in this bemo”
“No, no, come on ojek. My son he take you”
“No, I don’t like ojek, I go in bemo”
“Ah…” he disappears for a minute then comes back and says “This bemo doesn’t go to Fatumenasi. It goes to another village”
“This bemo not go to Fatumenasi?” I say to the guy who had told me that it did. He asks the driver who says that no the bemo does not go to Fatumenasi.
“You come on ojek. We go to my house,” says the man.

Realisation suddenly dawned on me like a hand slapping me across the back of my head. This man WAS Mateos Anin. How random is that? The very person I would be looking for just happens to come up to the bemo I was in in entirely another town to the one in which he lived!! That evening Mateos recounted the entire episode to his whole extended family, taking particular delight in miming the way I was
pet olive-headed lorikeet (Trichoglossus euteles) at Fatumenasi
pet olive-headed lorikeet (Trichoglossus euteles) at Fatumenasi
hunched up to fit inside the bemo and the way I said in utter surprise “Oh, YOU’RE Mateos Anin!!??”. In Kapan Mateos got his friend Yanto to take me to Fatumenasi on his motorbike while he himself was driven by his son. Yanto had a hole in the back of his head from the Bali bombing which probably explained his irregularities. He didn’t really want to take me on his bike because I was too heavy, but he also housed grave suspicions as to my military affiliations. I had come across this a little in Thailand and Cambodia, where people somehow thought I was in the army, but in Fatumenasi it was extreme. I had originally put it down to me wearing jungle boots, cargo pants and a khaki shirt instead of regular tourist gear, but apparently here it was because of my build. With me being much more muscular than most tourists Yanto was convinced I was there for covert military reasons (because of course I blended in so well!) and by the end of my stay half the men in the village were looking sideways at me, everyone seemed to think I was in the army, and there were even whispers of “CIA” and “FBI”. It may have been my overactive imagination but the atmosphere was getting a bit tense and I was half expecting to wake up with a gun to my head. It might just be a Timor thing because of the conflict in the east, but at the same time I’m thinking my apparent army look may make things very interesting in Sulawesi!

Mateos’ homestay is in a traditional hill village, and rustic would be a real-estate’s way of describing it. I slept in the same room as the extended family, which given they were all couples was, well, a bit uncomfortable for me. The floors in the houses were simple packed earth. Didn’t want some item of food? Throw it on the floor for the dogs and chickens that roamed in and out constantly. Needed somewhere to throw your cigarette butts? On the floor. Needed to spit out your betel-nut juice? That’s right, on the floor!

The evening meal on that first night was rice and fried dog meat.

When we first arrived at Mateos’ homestay we went to the round smoke-filled building that would be called a lounge in a Western house. We sat in there for quite a while, not really doing anything and me feeling a bit wierd because I didn’t know if there was some sort of traditional thing I should be doing. Then he says “now we go to my office”, which I assumed meant to fill out a check-in form or something. Instead we went to the village office where a lot of people sat at desks, wrote on hand-made charts on the wall, stuck signs onto polystyrene backings, and other things like that. It looked remarkably similar to one of the military HQ scenes in a 1970s Dr Who programme. I had absolutely no clue what was going on, but I ended up spending most of the rest of the afternoon in there, and then an hour or so watching the village kids playing volleyball. It was all very confusing and I really just wanted to head off to the forest to look for birds, but at the same time this did appear to be some sort of admitting-the-guest-to-the-village-type thing.

It got very cold in the Timorese mountains at night. I was sleeping in a T-shirt, sweatshirt and gloves and was wrapped in two blankets and was still shivering. In the winter it is apparently REALLY cold!

The next day I spent from dawn to dusk on Gunung Mutis, the highest mountain in Timor at 2427 metres. Mateos’ son dropped me off at the start of the track, after a horrendous 9km motorbike ride over a roller-coaster road composed almost solely of rocks. The forest here is made up of an endemic species of Eucalyptus, and the scene is very reminiscent of an Australian forest, complete with screeching flocks of lorikeets. Here they are the endemic olive-headed lorikeets. They are everywhere, can’t possibly miss them if you go there. After only a few minutes I also found the iris lorikeet which was one of the birds I most wanted to see in Timor. After an hour’s walk I came out of the forest to a stretch of hills covered in grass grazed ultra-short by roving groups of domestic banteng and horses. Mateos had drawn me a rough map of the route to the top of Gunung Mutis. There was supposed to be an obvious track over the grassy hills and then a track through more forest, then more grassland and then more forest all the way to the top. Only problem was, there was no track across the grasslands. I scouted around, following what could possibly have been a faint trail over the hills and eventually found another obvious trail through another patch of forest. I was a bit unclear if this was in fact the right trail, given that it was heading downhill and in the wrong direction but I perservered for a while in case it doubled back on itself, but it didn’t, so I returned to the start of the grass. Gunung Mutis rose into the sky off to the left, so I decided to just walk towards it. Sure enough, once I hit the forest again I found the right track and started pulling birds out of the trees, figuratively speaking. Timor imperial pigeons, Timor leaf-warblers, Timor crimson-wing parrots, Timor friarbirds — all endemics in case their common names didn’t give the game away — as well as the awesomely-cute yellow-breasted warbler which is like a tiny bright yellow golf ball with an orange head. Rather to my surprise I pretty much found all the birds I was expecting to find there, including all the higher-altitude endemics, on that single day. So the next day I returned to Kupang to see about finding some more of the lower-altitude ones. Absolutely loved Gunung Mutis, military suspicions not-withstanding. It was my favourite day of the trip so far.

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