Historical BackgroundIf the genealogies transmitted by the priests are used as a means of measuring time, Savu’s memory goes back to the first millennium CE (Sriwijaya period) Read More
ReligionThe large majority of the population is Christian; A small community of Moslems live near the harbour and in the town of Seba. Around 10% of the population follow the traditional ancestral belief called Jingi tiu Read More
Ceremonial CalendarEach domain of Savu has its own ritual calendar (kalender adat or kewèhu rai, the knots of the land) as well as a specific number for calculating the day of a ritual in the lunar month. Read More
CeremoniesCeremonies of the adat calendar are linked to the traditional religion Jingi tiu. They are held for the well-being of the population, for connecting people with their ancestors Read More
Traditional DancesPedoa is a circle dance performed at night towards the end of the rainy season, and every night of the waxing moon in the month Bangaliwu. Read More
ExcursionsTo see in a half day : Around Seba: Bodo (beach and village), Namata. To visit in a day: West Savu, East Savu, Liae. Walking tours from Seba Read More
Places of InterestThe megaliths of Savu are natural wonders. They are not burial places, but physical time markers. They were dragged to ritual places from various parts of the island. Read More
Traditional VillagesA village of origin or rae kepue is (or was) fenced, has a number of houses of the type èmu rukoko, a ritual place and sacred stones Read More
Traditional HousesTraditional houses on Savu bear witness to a rich historical and cultural legacy. Today they still can be seen in all parts of the island, fulfilling their purpose as identity markers and places of ancestor worship. Read More
Lontar Palm TreeThe lontar palm tree has been for centuries the tree of life for the Savunese who drink its sap during the dry season. Every part of the tree is used in everyday life and for ceremonies testifying to the ingenuity and skills of the people. Read More
In a Nutshell
Savu Raijua Regency
Savu is located in the Lesser Sundas of eastern Indonesia (Nusa Tenggara Timur) half way between Sumba and Timor. The Savu archipelago includes Savu, Raijua and Dana and gave its name to the sea bordering Flores, Timor and Sumba. The Savu archipelago is part of the Savu Sea Marine National Park, whose aim is the protection and conservation of all types of marine mammals such as whales, dolphins, dugongs and turtles.
The Climate is dry for most part of the year. The rainy season from December to March brings irregular, but heavy rain and its share of floods near the coasts. Due to the scarcity of water the island produces few agricultural goods. It does allow one harvest of corn, mung beans, sorghum, tubers (cassava, taro), and cucurbitaceae (gourds, pumpkin, cucumber). Wet rice is restricted to the fewareas of the island which can be irrigated.
During the six to nine months of the dry season all river beds are dry and water supply is a main concern in the archipelago. The dry season is known here asawe menganga (musim lapar, B.I.), the hungry season. The sap the lontar palm tree provides an essential source of nutrition
Savu has numerous white sandy beaches, protected by reefs. Some beaches played a role in history like the beach between the harbour of Seba and the walled village of Bodo; it served as a landing place for Captain James Cook and his crew in 1770.
The beach of Uba Ae in Mesara hosts the most important ceremony of the year, kowa hole, where a ceremonial boat is launched out to sea.
Uba Ae in Mesara, as well as beaches of Raijua, is visited by surfers.
RESOURCES FROM THE SEA
Gathering of sea food on reefs, small scale fishing activities, gathering of sea salt, sea weeds farming. Sea salt gathering using large shells or lontar containers has been a traditional activity on Savu and Raijua. In the last fifteen years seaweed farming has developed along the west and southeast coasts, bringing a new source of revenue to those living near the beaches.
How to get There
Susi Air: daily flights; often more than one flight a day.
Tickets have to be purchased at their respective offices in Kupang.
From Savu to Waingapu (Sumba): Merpati Airlines: Tuesday.
From Waingapu (Sumba) to Savu: Merpati Airlines: Tuesday.
Ferry to Kupang (Timor) Wednesday
Ferry to Waingapu (Sumba) Tuesday
Other ferries from and to Kupang, Waingapu or Ende (Flores) Irregular schedule (average every second week).