05 July 2012 1 of 5


MALIANA, BOBONARO DIST., TIMOR-LESTE

 


TIMOR-LESTE REPTILE & AMPHIBIAN SURVEY
PHASE VII: DRIVING IN "THE DISTRICTS
"

Foreigners are warned about "driving in The Districts" and vehicle hire companies such as Rentló have walls full of photographs of the consequences: wrecked 4x4 vehicles, vehicles balanced on overhangs, vehicles at the bottom of ravines etc. Driving in The Districts requires one's full attention at all times, dodging dogs, goats, chickens, water buffalo, children and playing Dodge Ball with suicidal motorcyclists riding 2, 3, 4, or even 5 to a bike (children included). And then there are the inanimate hazards such as tree-falls, rock-falls, subsidence onto the road, subsidence of the road itself, massive holes in the road surface, broken or incomplete bridges, floods, rivers to be forded—the list is almost endless.

Pigs on one side Chickens on the other

From Fatucahi we would go west along the coast to Betano and then turn north towards Same, the a few kms short of the town, west again across a river ford towards Suai but turning north again towards Bobonaro town and then over the mountains down to Maliana near the Indonesian border of West Timor. The drive to Maliana was only 140 kms but it took most of the day.

A small ford at a downed bridge on the Betano road A great spot for saltwater crocodiles near Betano
The large span bridge is unfinished so we forded the river in the Troopies