Danau Poso is an ancient lake located in Central Sulawesi, and is the third largest lake in Indonesia after Lake Toba and Lake Singkarak in Sumatra.
Lying just north of the Toraja Highlands in South Sulawesi, Danau Poso is bordered by the Pendolo town at the south end of the lake and Tentena at the north, with several smaller villages scattered in between. Both towns aren’t that much special but staying at the lake is really nice for a couple of days.
We started our trip at 8 am for a 260 kilometer drive from Rantepao to Pendolo. After driving along curvy roads, and a stop at the harbor place Palopo for a drink, we arrived at National Cottages in Pendolo at 5 pm. Pendolo is nothing but one street, just an overnightstop is enough here. If you can make it to Tentena, which is a 2,5 hours drive further north, this would be a better option.
After a short run and refreshing swim in the lake we started the next day at 10 am to Tentena. The West senic route around the lake was closed due to bridge repairing. That's why we took the less scenic eastern route, arriving at 12.30 pm at Dolidi Ndano Resort in Tentena.
There aren’t that many restaurants that we could find. The restaurant of our accommodation in Pendolo was closed so we had to cross the road and eat at the warung there. Not much choice there so you have to still your hunger with either fried rice or soup.
The restaurant at Dolidi Ndano Resort in Tentana was very good, we didn’t want to go eat anywhere else but here. The food is really, really, really good with a mixture of Western and Indonesian flavors. They even serve a mixture of the Dutch kroket filled with Indonesian noodles.
At Pendolo, we spent the night in a nice small cottage overlooking the lake, called National Cottages. A nice place but a bit overpriced. We paid 300.000 Rupiah but this included breakfast, a good breakfast. Besides swimming in the lake, there is nothing to do here. A bad thing about this place is that they keep a monkey in a small cage.
Thanks to our driver, we ended up at a really nice place near Tentana: Dolidi Ndano Resort, 5 km from Tentana situated at the lake. This is a nice place to stay, with hammocks and sunbeds on a small pier. And very tasty food. The Resort is part of a bigger project, an orphanage. With the money you pay for your bungalow, and for the great food you eat, you support the orphanage where they help 20 kids at this moment. The price may a bit high for backpackers (450.000 Rupiah) but it is money well spent!
For more info check http://www.dolidi-ndano-towale.com/#/Resort
Our initial plan was to visit the Lore Lindu National Park, but because of terrorist activity this isn't a safe area to go to at this moment, so we skipped that. We wanted to go there to see the tarsiers and hornbills but hopefully we will see them in the other national park called Tangkoko Natural Reserve near Manado.
Because we could not make it to Tentana in one day, we spent 1 night in Pendolo. As said, beside swimming in the lake, there isn't that much to do here. We arrived around 5 pm, had some beers, went out for diner en went to bed early. The next morning we realized it had been a while since our last run, so we started the day with a sweaty session. Running through the unpaved streets of the little 'town' was quite nice with all the kids yelling and waving at us.
Our stay in Tentana was surprisingly nice and we didn't want to leave this place. The bungalows are really good with a great view overlooking the pier and the lake. The people working there are incredibly nice and visiting the orphanage was really impressive. The bungalows are part of a project which is started after a Dutch couple, Eef en Nel van Koningsveld visited Tentana in 1993. During this visit they met Herson (who was their guide) and this was the beginning of a special friendship. During their visits they noticed the bad situation a lot of children where in, and they wanted to do something about it. The result is the Dolidi Ndanano Resort (which means 'nice place at the lake') and the orphanage where they support 20 children at this moment. If you want to do some volunteer work in Sulawesi, this is a good place for it.
While we were there we were told that 2 girls really wanted to be stewardesses, but the 3 month training is expensive and they weren't sure if this would be possible. A great moment to share with the owners and Eef, was that they received a phone call, and were told that it was possible for the girls to start this training and make their dream come true. These girls will now be able to start the training with a job guarantee, and are symbols of the succes an orphanage can have.
During our visit we chilled a the pier and visited the local market where they sell the local dish 'fried bats'. We didn't try this one and when you see the photo's, you will probably know why. We also went to the nice Saluopo Waterfalls, a 12 step waterfall, 15 km outside Tentena.
Unfortunately we had to leave after 3 nights because we booked boat tickets to go to the Togian Islands. Otherwise we would have rented a boat to cruise along the lake visiting small villages around the lake which can not be reached by car.