The late Princess Diana once took a retreat to a waterfall after her divorce. She was among the celebrities like Mick Jagger, David Beckham and Rain who sought solace and peace of mind at the mystical Mata Jitu Waterfall in Moyo Island, Indonesia.
Moyo Island is located in the West Nusa Tenggara province and off the north coast of Sumbawa Island. The island is mostly inhabited and has only 1,000 people. It is blessed with over 80 species of birds, wild boars, deer, flying fox, 21 bat species and the enchanting Mata Jitu Waterfall and Diwu M’bai Waterfall.
Mata Jitu: The Queen Waterfall
My last visit to a waterfall was more than thirty years ago. So you can picture how easily I was to be spellbound by the beauty of Mata Jitu Waterfall. The sights and sounds of splashing turquoise water, calm ripples, rich flora and fauna and fluttering of butterflies made me savour my few hours of calm respite here.
Mata Jitu Waterfall is called the Queen Waterfall by the locals as a tribute to the late Princess Diana. The legend says it was once a paradise for the Malay Sultan and his princesses to bathe and rejuvenate their body, mind and soul. They believed the water was an elixir of life and could help them stay young.
There are three main terraces created from thousand years of limestone sediment. I took a dip in the water and found it so beguiling. Above all, the water made me feel rejuvenated like having a natural skin detox.
Mata Jitu means sharp eyes. It was named after the belief that the waterfall had a guardian spirit in the past. When sunlight shone on the caves, it formed a pair of mystical eyes.
“The local community also believe the butterflies here are the spirit of the late Princess Diana to look after the waterfall,” according to Ario Gundala, Director of PT Highland Adventure.
Diwu M’Bai: The Crocodile Waterfall
My next stop was Diwu M’Bai Waterfall, a 15-minute motorbike ride from Mata Jitu Waterfall. Diwu M’Bai means crocodile pool. It is believed by the villagers that the waterfall is steeped in legend. It has a deep cave beneath the water which was once home to a mystical huge crocodile–the guardian of the waterfall.
Here, a strong rope hanging on an old tree top is the main catch. Locals and tourists alike love to swing on the rope and dive into the pool which is about six-metre deep from the top. It is quite a challenging dive and I don’t dare to even hold the rope. But the bold and daring will surely love this Tarzan-styled adventure.
The villagers believe in another story about a Lost Village in Moyo Island; they hope that in their quest to hunt for herbs, honey and wildlife, they will come across this lost village. To them, it is good luck if the Lost Village is found.
Event on Moyo Island
Wonderful Moyo Festival 2019 will be happening from 9-16 September 2019. This festival is part of the 100 Wonderful Indonesia events by Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism. It features lots of cultural and sports activities including horse racing, buffalo racing, cultural parade, local fashion on the streets, fishing tournaments, local crafts shows, water sports and etc.
• Kuala Lumpur to Lombok >> 3 hours 15 minutes by AirAsia
• Lombok to Sumbawa >> 20 minutes by Wings Air or Garuda Indonesia
• Moyo Jetty to Mata Jitu Waterfall >?]> 25 minutes by motorbike
• Sumbawa to Moyo Island >> 45 minutes by boat
• Moyo Jetty to Diwu M’bai Waterfall >> 15 minutes by motorbike
Text and photos by Francis Yip