Nusa Tenggara:: The Metu people of West Timor

Nenas woman on her way to the market. West Timor

Nenas woman on her way to the market. West Timor. Photo © Narve Rio

A couple of years ago West Timor used to see tourists in the range of 3 – 4.000 foreigners a year. Many of these visited the mountainous region of the Gunung Mutis protection forest. Particularly bird watchers showed a great interest to the area. In 2001 tourism dropped to less than a hundred visitors yearly due to the proximity to the East Timor border, the refugee situation and general instability in the area.

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Nusa Tenggara:: West Timor

East Nusa Tenggara, West Timor. A dry river on the south coast of Timor. Rain only falls here in the wet season, December to March. This photo is taken in May (from helicopter). (Bjorn Grotting)

East Nusa Tenggara, West Timor. A dry river on the south coast of Timor. Rain only falls here in the wet season, December to March. This photo is taken in May (from helicopter). (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Timor is the easternmost and clearly the largest island in the Nusa Tenggara archipelago (see also East Timor). The island is 450 km long and 105 km wide. Area 30.820 sq. km, with a population of around 1.3 million on West Timor and about 850.000 on East Timor. The island has several mountain chains, the highest mountains can be found on the eastern part. Gunung Ramelau, also called Tata Mailau, on East Timor is the highest peak (2.950m).

The soil is quite poor, like in the rest of eastern Nusa Tenggara. Still most of the population are occupied with farming of some kind, mainly growing rice, corn, coffee and fruit. The dry season lasts from March to December.

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