There aren’t many better reasons to wake up before dawn than to witness the sun cresting Kelimutu’s western rim, filtering mist ino the sky and revealing three deep, volcar ic lakes —nicknamed the tricoloured laks because for years each one was a different striking shade. Kelimutu National Park The lakes’ colours are spectaculat shifting between turquoise, olive green and rust. The colours are so dense that thelake waters seem to have the thickness of paint It’s thought that dissolving minerals (a por cess that can accelerate in the rainy season) acount for the chameleonic colour scheme although the colour of one of the turquoise lakes never changes. The summit’s moonscape gives Kelimu tu an ethereal atmosphere, especially when dlouds billow across the craters and sunlight shafts burn luminescent pinpoints to the water’s surtace. Kelimutu is sacred to local people, and legend has it that the souls of the dead migrate here: young peoples souls go to the warmth of Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai (urquoise Lake), old peoples to the cold of Tiwu Ata olo (Brown Lake) and those of the wicked to Tiwi Ata Mbupu (Black Lake).
Ever since locals led early Dutch settlers here, sightseers have made the sunrise trek. Most visitors glimpse the lakes at dawn, leaving nearby Moni at 4am for early-morning views after the predawn mist rises, and before clouds drift in. Afternoons are usually empty and peaceful at the top of Mt Kelimutu, and when the sun is high the colours sparkle. There’s a staircase up to the highest three lakes are visible. It’s not advisable to footing’s so bad and the drop so steep, a few careless hikers have perished here.