The mountainous forest around Poco Ndeki is the perfect place for bird watching. It is only around 12km from Borong, the capital city of the Manggarai Timur district.
In the local Manggaraian dialect, ‘poco’ means mountain. Poco Ndeki, 950 meters above sea level, is covered by a pristine wilderness where you may need a machete to make your way up or down. The forest is also home to green vipers who camouflage themselves as dry branches. For safety reasons and more pleasant exploration, we highly recommended you to let a local guide join in on your adventure.
Towards the top of the mountain are remnants of traditional belief system in the form of ‘Batu Embu’ – two rocks that symbolize the female and male gender. These rocks are considered sacred by the local people because they are believed to be the home of ancestral spirits who guard the forest. From time to time, the local community holds ceremonies in this area, such as rituals to ask for rain. It will take you approximately four hours to reach this mystical site.
Early morning bird watching will (hopefully) bring you encounters with various bird species, ranging from cockatoos, punglors (Zoothera interpres), and kingfisher to the gagak Flores (Corvus florensis) and sometimes even the lawelujang (Asian Paradise Flycatcher/Terpsiphone paradisi), the district’s iconic bird. At night, the forest reveals the endemic Flores Scops Owl (Otus alfredi), which offers you an experience of total contrast compared to the morning ambience.
For morning bird watching and forest exploration, you can either spend the night at the local seminary (Wisma Anjas) in Kisol or start your journey around 3am from Labuan Bajo. Of course, you can also arrange an early morning trip starting from Borong.
Overnight stays are possible in Kisol at the local Wisma Anjas Seminary. Please contact Pater Lambert (+62 81315824766) for accommodation inquiries. At the moment, there are also two local bird watching operators who can help you plan your Poco Ndeki excursion: Lumba-Lumba Tour (Lois Beda, +6281339462381 or firstname.lastname@example.org), and Kanis Mite, bird watching guide (+6281338297732 or email@example.com).
How to get there
From Borong, simply drive to Seminary Kisol (this Catholic seminary provides accommodation called Wisma Anjas) The drive is about 10km. You will see a sign at the nearest junction on the Transflores ‘highway’. Then drive from Kisol to Kombaneta for the first trek to Poco Ndeki.