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Lospalos, Timor-Leste

Lake Ira Lalaro

This crocodile-infested East Timor reservoir is also home to a spectacular half-sunken forest. 

The East Timor lake known as Ira Lalaro is a gorgeous oasis surrounded by flat grassland on the northern shore and by swamps on the southern shore, but be careful not to get so enchanted that you get eaten by one of the lake’s copious crocodiles.  

The lake is a self-contained body of water that sits in a depression in the land. The northern shore offers great views of the lake with the mountains and lush forest in the background and the grassland is littered with water buffaloes wallowing in their swimming holes. Bucolic as this might be, it’s the swamps on the southern shore that set this lake apart from the others. The landscape provides vistas of half-drowned trees that reach back like a haunting bayou. While the lake and its surrounds are teeming with all manner of life swimming among the underwater trunks it is the massive population of Estuarine crocodiles that distinguish the lake. It is thought that over 300 of the beasts are packed into the relatively small area. One of the reasons that the animals have nearly taken over the natural landmark is that the native tribe consider the crocs to be sacred totem animals that are not to be hunted.

Swamps and crocs are usually associated with the American Southeast but this lake gives the traditional bayou a run for its money. The strangely lovely landscapes of Lake Ira Lalaro may be alluring but they also pack quite the bite. 

Know Before You Go

About half-way between Fuiloro and Tutuala, Ira Lalaro (a lake) can be seen in the distance from the main road on the right hand side. A few hundred metres after the lake ends (going East), a dirt road branches off from the main road on the right. Follow that road for five or six kilometres - until it plunges into the lake.