Tambora is an active volcano that lies between Dompu regency and Bima, West Nusa Tenggara. Now the mountain has become one of the most attractive trekking sites for the nature lovers, especially mount climbers. Good panorama with its two color lakes is one of its main attractions. The number of people interested to enjoy the beauty of the volcano increases day after day. But does everybody know that behind this calmly sleeping volcano there is a mystery that has encouraged some scientists to reveal it
On April 11, 1815 the volcano made a record in history with its devastating eruption. The eruption was said to be three times bigger than that of Mt. Krakatau in 1888. This catastrophic natural phenomenon is even said to be equal to the historic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in Italy which buried the whole city of Pompei. The ash of the eruption reached as far away as 1.300 km and the voice was heard in a distance of about 2.500 km. Before the eruption the volcano was 4.200 meters but nearly half of the top was blown into the air along with its contents in the form of ash and gravels. Consequently, the whole area of Sumbawa was covered by thick ashes and mud while the air was darkened by belching smoke and ash. Streams of Lava and hot volcanic mud poured down to the sea and places completely covering roads and villages they passed.
The disaster besides causing thousands of casualties also brought about a great loss of materials. According to a Dutch traveler, H. Zollinger who traveled to Tambora in 1850, the population of the whole Sumbawa was around 170.000 occupying the areas of Bima, Sumbawa, Dompu, Tambora, Sanggar and Pekat. But after the eruption it was only half the number left. The eruption also wiped out a civilization, including the loss of Austro-Asiatic language.
Among the scientist who made research on Tambora are Sugurdsson, from Rode Island University, USA and Legan S. Sutawidjaya from the Directorate of vulcanology. Their research was about the effect of the hot ash.
Now the mystery of Tambora is gradually uncovered. Through some excavations proofs of the eruption are found. There are some skulls and skeletons of running people along with ceramics and other tools. Satonda Island is another proof. The salty water of the lake inside the island was said to be caused by the high tidal waves of the eruption. A German professor from Hamburg did a research and revealed the mystery of the salt water lake.
Now days Tambora Mountain become one of the most attractive trekking side for nature lovers.
Tambora can be climbed all-year, however the best time for trekking is during the dry season,June to October. November brings fresh rain to the rainforest and the trail starts to be slippery, with regular heavy afternoon showers. From what we heard December can be already very wet and January to March are the toughest months to visit. In April and May trail conditions gradually improve.
The trek to Tambora starts in the village of Pancasila. Pancasila is 10 km away from a slightly bigger village of Calabai and 110 km away from a town of Dompu.
The most reasonable way to get to Pancasila is to board a morning bus from Dompu. This small regional town is located on the trans-Sumbawan road and all buses plying through Sumbawa stop there. Dompu is 4 hours of bus ride away from Sumbawa Besar and around 2 hours from Bima,and from Dompu to Pancasila village(starting point for trekking)takes about 5 hours.
The standard itinerary on Tambora involves two full days. Most visitors on day one start trekking at 6:00 from Pancasila and arrive in POS3 in early afternoon (13:00-14:00). Then they rest until midnight and start walking up the mountain to see the sunrice,arriving at the crater rim around five hours later. After staying at the rim for an hour or two, they descend to Pancasila the same way.
The only risk on this program is Stay away from nani plant. It can burn skin severely. Long pants and long sleeves will protect you from burns. The plant grows between POS3 and POS5.