The Dancing Mangrove Trees of Sumba Island

Indonesia’s remote Sumba Island is famous for a great many things, but above all its uniquely shaped mangroves, dubbed “dancing trees” for the way they seem to sway with the setting sun in the background.

Calm waters, a white sandy beach, and inviting waters are all things you can expect to find at Walakiri Beach, one of the top tourist spots on Sumba Island. But that’s not why people flock to this small tropical paradise, as they can all be found somewhere else as well. What draws people to Walakiri are the dozens of unique mangrove trees lining the beach, some of which are so bizarrely shaped they almost look like they are frozen in a dancing motion.

Photo: Soraya Shinta Dewi/Facebook

Every day at sunset the waters recede to reveal the roots of the dwarf mangrove trees, and that’s when the magic happens. Professional and amateur photographers from all over the world travel to Walakiri Beach to hopefully catch a perfect shot of the mangroves, and looking at some of their work, it’s easy to see why.


The so-called “dancing trees” look like no other trees I’ve ever seen, and it’s their unique shape that makes them so special. The way they gently curve, with the sun setting in the background, from just the right angle, they almost looks like human silhouettes dancing in their own, intriguing way.

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