Nihiwatu resort

Sumba island

Discover one of the worlds gold listen resorts!

By: The Roving Ambassador

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A magical land of gorgeous beaches,tropical scenery and a fascinating tribal culture,only a fifty- minute flight from bali,sumba is home to nihiwatu-an award winning resort of innovative design,multiple activities and strong ties to the local community through the sumba foundation.

Nihiwatu offers a rare sense of discovery,where ancient tribal culture and unspoiled natural beauty froma back drop to a boundless experience of ungregulated freedom,understated luxury and unforgettable memories.

The story of nihiwatu is a rare and fascinatingntale that began as far back as sumba’sancestors,the`marapu’.

The local people believe that long ago,before mankind,the marapa (gods) descended to earth on a celestial ship and landed on nihiwatu’s beach.they brought sirih pinang,or betel nut,and lime paste with them,but apon arrival they realised that they’d forgotten to bring their mortar stone to mash the mix the betel nut and the lime to release the alkaloids from the nut.

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They proceeded to mix their concoction on one of the beach boulders near the forest where they had settle.ova time this boulder developed a cylindrical tube in it from the constant pounding of their mighty pestle.the gods called this their ngihi (mortar) watu (stone).since then their  descendants,the sumbanes people have called this erea ngihiwatu.

The ngihiwatu stands today,amongst a group of stones on the beach about three hundred metres past the boathouse.


The largest stone of the group,called prahu,is believed to be the ship that the descendants arrived stands about sixty metres past the creek and three metres above the sand.closer to the forest from the prahu is the ngihiwatu,and behind it is a larger rectangular-shaped stone called tempatistrirahat or resting place.the tempatistrirahat was the god’s day bed from which they could view their dog,which is also represented in the stone,it is called the anjing and is the long,fat,narrow stone just beside the larger one.

The same nihiwatu beach attracted claude and petra graves in 1988,who came in search of a perfect wave that would lead to their vision to create a resort,taking its namesake,which would preserve and share the breathtaking beauty with those who would truly appreciate it.


Stories of the unregulated freedom and beauty of nihiwato reached renowned brand-building American entrepreneur,Christopher burch,who was told claude was looking for help to develop the resort and vision further.chris called on a friend from the Carlyle;south africanborn hotelier james mcbride,who was president of ytl hotels in singerpore at that time;to take a visit which resulted in a deeo-rooted passion and commitment to help nihiwatu and help the work of the foundation.

Later that year in 2013, chris burch’s trip with this three sons was  to prove a milestone as he acquired nihiwatu and partnered with james mcbride.the acquisition enabled substantial investment with the single aim to evolve nihiwatu into one of the best resorts in the world that demonstrates a sustainable operation with the environment and the sumbanese people.

The deep-rooted philosophy will be maintained and all  profits repartriated into the sumba foundation that claude had founded in 2001,coupled with the help of some guests as a philanthropic vehicle dedicated to fostering community-based projects.


The result was a unigue collaboration between nihiwatu and the local community that today co-exists with compelling interdependence: the resort has become the biggest employer on the island and the sumba foundation gives back to the local communities.

Ova the last thirteen years,the foundation has set up over fifeen primary schools,built forty-eight water wells,five clinics;supplied one hundred and seventy two villages with clean water and redyced malaria by 85% in neighbouring villages to nihiwatu.

The wave has always remained central to nihiwatu story;the famouse left-hand break attracts surfers from all over the world.the resort limits the number of surfers to ten per day,which has led to its cult status.

Set within 560 acres of land(only ten per cent of which is developed) and 2.5 kilometres of pristine beach,the resort comprises twenty eight butler serviced villas:all hand-biult by local craftsmen with material indigenous to Indonesia,such as alang alang,teak and rattan,they range from a one bedroom villa to a five bedroom estate,includednis the newly evealed mamole,the most fantastic tree house on earth.


Winner of the best in design award at pure 2015 is raja mendaka,a 5 bedroom estate.

This estate comprises five individual villas,each with its own private pool and takes over the most expensive plot of land,right in the heart of the property.

The villa was designed with large families and group of friends in mind and is fully equipped with spacious entertaining areas.

The landscaped gardens around the villas also provide privacy so each villa can be rented exclusively.raja medaka’s master villas bedroom sits to the right of the main area in a prime position cantilevered ova the white sand coastlineand nihi’s renowned sunset.the 56m2 area includes a day bed,spacious bathroom with shower and outdoor bathtub.the front veranda features a private pool and a sheltered area with day beds for lounging.

The master villa’s guest room sits to the left of the main area  and offers a day bed,bathroom with shower,outdoor bathtub and private pool.traditional sumbanese artefacts feature throughout including carvings,antiques,local wood,soft and ikat prints and furnishings.this is the only villa to feature Sulawesi marble inlayd with special teak.

Jst recently added,the mamole tree house is a unique whimsical and spacious three bedroom house complex,elevated on wooden stilts between nihiwatu’sancient trees.

The tree-house configuration was designed for the fun-hearted,adventure lover and is perfect for families,groups of friends or honeymoon romance.mamole tree house has the best view of the beach and bring the outdoors,in.two of the two-storey,circular villas offer a lounge area on the entry level,with the bedroom,bathroom and balcony on the upper level.a bamboo bridge connects the two tree-houses and  a shared infinity pool with lounging deck features on front.the main mamole tree house includes a private infinity pooland  large living area with a bathroom on the entry level,and upstairs,a bedroom with a bathroom,balcony and connecting bridge to the main outdoor bathroom.traditionsl sumbanese carving,antigues,local wood and ikat print,feature throughout.

Along with raja madeka as winner as the best in design at pure 2015,the 3 bedroom puncak estate was designed to reflect the design of the sumbanese house and it is set on the upper part of the property with prime views of the sea and the lush jungle.

Puncak comprises two main buildings with the first offering two bedrooms.


On the entry level at the front,is a large outdoor area with a private pool (28m2) and sunken dining area.inside the villa,a spacious bedroom (42m2) with bathroom and a study at the rear take ova the ground floor.the second bedroom is accessed by a staircase and features is a accessed by a staircase and feature an outdoor jungle shower and a spacious balcony with bathtub,complete with an open-air view of the indian ocean.

The main entertaining and a dining area,kitchenette and large pool are situated between the two villas and afford high commanding view of the beach and waves,including the lush organic garden below.the second villa feature the largest living room on the back and upstairs the second bedroom,which offers the same configuration as the first villa.

The resort likewise includes a selection of one and two beachside bedroom villas,ideal for couple hidaway,family adventure and friends travelling together.


At nihiwatu,guest can enjoy a pletiphora of activities from world-class surfing and fishing,to visiting ancient stone age sites and traditional villages,horse riding,picnic under the breathtaking waterfalls or experiencing the life changing nihioka spa safari.

The unique`nihi oka spa safari’ offers a fully day experience journeying across sumba’s dramatic west coast to nearby nihi oka valley. The day starts a ninety-minute trek to the secluded valley and for those who wish,an open-air land safari vehicle can be arrange to drive you along the scenic route.on arrival,guest are shown to their own private bal,which offer expansive views of the coastline and crashing waves of the indian ocean.guest have the option to join a one-hour group morning yoga session befor a brush-cooked breakfast in the rustic nihi oka tree house platform.afta breakfast,couples can relax in their private bale for the day,which includes their own dedicated spa therapists.any number of pre-selected treatment can be enjoyed amidst uninterrupted views of the sea and cascading rice paddy fields.

Treatments include full body massage,cooling and rejuvenating wraps,body scrubs and foot reflexology – all using natural,local ingredients.

Based on the approach to “inspire from the garden”,using only the very best and freshest ingredients that are home grown from the earth,raised on grains or caught that day,the resort houses multiple dining destination,included is the sandy floored ombak restaurant and bar lounge,sumbanese architecture inspired Menara bale,the nio beach  club and the traditional Indonesian and international dishes can be tailor-made to the guests desires.



Shanaaz Solomons

TEL: +27 21 426 0991
FAX: +27 21 422 0337
SKYPE ID: shanaaz-solomons