teradesa.com Thousands of tourists have visited Moyo Island and Mata Jitu, and even David Beckham and Princess Diana have vacationed there.
The Saleh Bay area in Sumbawa Regency, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) Province, holds a lot of tourism potential. Not only the charm of tame whale sharks, in waters covering about 2,000 square kilometers there is a beautiful island. Its name is Moyo Island and it is included in the administrative area of Oiramu Hamlet, Labuhan Aji Village, Labuhan Badas District, Sumbawa.
The 350 square kilometer island, as quoted from the NTB Culture and Tourism Office website, is surrounded by white sandy beaches and calm waters. In some parts, the sand is pink in color.
There is not only one beautiful beach surrounding the island. But there are several, such as the Takat Sigale vacant area, Tanjung Pasir Beach, and Poto Jarum Beach. The beauty of these beaches has attracted a number of world figures to travel there.
Mick Jagger, singer and vocalist of the Rolling Stones supergroup, singer David Bowie, legendary Dutch goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar, English soccer legend David Beckham and his family, former world tennis queen from Russia Maria Sharapova, famous South Korean artists Rain and Kim Tae-hee, even in 1993, Princess Diana visited the island.
The total length of Moyo Island’s coastline is about 88 km and the highest area on the island is at an altitude of 671 meters above sea level, in the form of green hills. The coastal areas are still overgrown with mangrove forests. Moyo Island along with Satonda Island is included in the Moyo Satonda National Park under the management of the NTB Natural Resources Conservation Center of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry.
Access to Moyo can only be reached by sea using a wooden boat with a capacity of 30 passengers at a cost of around Rp30,000 per person one way. Alternatively, you can rent a fishing boat for Rp350,000-Rp400,000 per day from Tanjung Pengawas Fish Landing Base, Labuhan Badas, Sumbawa.
The journey from Badas Harbor in Sumbawa Besar City to Moyo takes about two hours. If you’re lucky, a school of dolphins will swim close to the boat as if guiding you on your journey to Moyo Island.
The best time to visit is during the dry season or around April to July when the sea waves are relatively calm. Visitors can swim in the clear turquoise water and dive or snorkel. They can enjoy the underwater scenery with charming coral reefs that are home to a variety of ornamental fish such as lion fish, clown fish or nemo fish, and others.
However, Moyo Island is not all about the beauty of its waters. Right in the center of the island are several waterfalls such as Sengalo and Diwu Mbai. However, the most famous waterfall is Mata Jitu.
To reach it, we should take a motorcycle taxi from the Labuhan Aji dock area to the location of the waterfall nicknamed Queen Waterfall. The reason is, the journey is quite far if done on foot and takes about an hour because the distance from the pier to Mata Jitu is about 4 km.
We can also use the services of motorcycle taxis that are widely available around the Labuhan Aji pier. You just need to register at a post to get the motorcycle taxi and the trip to Mata Jitu can be reached in 15 minutes with a fare of Rp70,000 one way to and from.
The track is fairly difficult and quite challenging, especially after the main village road because it is a rocky path that climbs and descends steep hills and will be very slippery during the rainy season. Interestingly, the appearance of motorcycle taxis in Moyo is unlike anywhere else because they have been modified to be able to conquer steep tracks.
Marked by the use of rough surface tires typical of dirt bikes and some parts of the motorcycle accessories have been stripped down so that the weight is lighter and easier to cross the steep path. Some of them are already mass-produced dirt bikes from Japanese factories.
The ojek drivers here, who are mostly local village youths, are really good at controlling their iron horses and are a special experience for visitors. The ojek drivers also often double up as tour guides to Mata Jitu or other places on Moyo Island.
Motorcycle taxis are not allowed to reach the edge of the waterfall to protect the surrounding environment. An open field has been prepared by the NTB Natural Resources Conservation Center about 300 meters from Mata Jitu as a motorcycle taxi parking lot. Passengers can get off there and continue on foot to the waterfall location.
Mata Jitu is a clear green waterfall located in the middle of the 22,537.9-hectare Buru Park forest, which is still preserved. It is so clear that you can see the bottom of the waterfall. The uniqueness of Mata Jitu lies in the seven natural pools consisting of four steps.
The deepest point is about 2.5 meters below the water surface with water discharge that always flows throughout the year because it gets supply from around 20 springs around it. The water discharge will be heavier when the rainy season arrives and the clarity will not change. This waterfall was also visited by Princess Diana when she traveled to Moyo Island.
You don’t need to worry about staying overnight, because on this island you can spend the night in people’s houses that also function as homestays at affordable rates. A number of investors have also begun to build inns and high-priced resorts to attract tourists with deep pockets, especially from abroad.
The NTB Culture and Tourism Office notes that every year Moyo Island is visited by more than 5,000 foreign tourists and tens of thousands of domestic tourists. According to the NTB Provincial Government website, public infrastructure in Moyo is slowly being improved and upgraded.
For example, adding clean water networks, strengthening telecommunications and internet signals, and increasing the capacity of diesel power plants and preparing new renewable energy plants, such as solar power.