I’ve been to Bali in Indonesia quite a few times, so this time around I did things differently. One of them was getting up at the crack of dawn to watch the locals harvest sea salt from the Indian Ocean on Kusamba Beach. Now this isn’t something you’ll find listed in your guide book – even our Balinese guides didn’t know much about it. If you’re not into photography, sunrises or sacrificing sleep, this activity probably isn’t for you. Other than the local fisherman and farmers going about their business, there’s not a lot going on around Kusamba Beach. But if you’re curious about local life in Bali and want to see traditional farming practices in action using primitive tools, then Kusamba Beach is a unique place to visit.
Salt harvesting is a labour intensive process. The farmers make their way to and from the ocean with wooden or leather buckets weighing heavily on bamboo poles. They then splash the seawater in a rhythmic almost hypnotising motion across raked sand. Within a few hours, the hot Indonesian sun bakes the sand into flakes from which the salt is to be harvested. The flakes of salt are then washed with fresh water in wooden drums to create saltwater brine which is then poured over timber planks for further evaporation. It’s quite a process for a small return – on a hot day a farmer will produce around 10 kilograms of salt that they will sell for around 100,000 rupiah (just over AUD$9).
There’s something special about walking along the black sand beach of Kusamba, watching the daily village rituals come to life. So when you’re done with your regular sightseeing in Bali, jump off the tourist trail and head over to Kusamba Beach.
We flew to Indonesia for a shoot with Creative Holidays and travelled with their amazing guides from E.R. (Easy Rider!) Tours. If you’re dreaming of a vacay in Indonesia, get Creative Holidays to book your trip.