Sumatra is one of the world’s biggest islands and the best island in Indonesia to see large numbers of mammals. Some of the largest areas of forest remaining in Indonesia are in Sumatra and this tour explores two of the most important. We visit northern and southern Sumatra on our search for wildlife. You will be visiting the national parks of Gunung Leuser in the north of the island and then Way Kambas in the south. Gunung Leuser is the last stronghold of the Sumatran orangutan as well as elephants, tigers and even the critically endangered Sumatran rhino. In Way Kambas we will combine daytime wildlife watching as well as spotlighting for a range of nocturnal wildlife including clouded leopards, various civets and maybe even sun bears.
Sunda Clouded Leopard
Sunda Leopard Cat
On your arrival in Jakarta you will meet your local guide and be taken to your accommodation nearby the airport (Swiss Bel Hotel). There are no scheduled plans for today. If you arrange your flight to arrive early enough it may be possible to get to northern Sumatra today. However we like to spend the first day here so you can rest and recover from the long journey.
Gunung Leuser National Park
This morning you will leave your hotel and be taken to the airport to catch your flight to the north east of Sumatra. Once we arrive in Medan you will be met by a local driver and transferred inland towards the forests of Gunung Leuser National Park (4.5 hours). Gunung Leuser National Park is a mountainous area of protected forest that is home to the largest population of wild Sumatran orangutans remaining in the world. Over the next 2.5 days we will explore the park and hope to come across some of these orangutans. We have a great chance as the Ketambe Research Station was set up in 1971 (which in 1973 led to the establishment of Bohorok Orangutan Centre) to specifically help protect, rehabilitate and research orangutan. This has lead to numerous orangutans being re-wilded and reintroduced to the forest, for newly introduced individuals food is left on platforms to help supplement their diet. The forest is also home to Sumatran rhinos, Sumatran tigers, Asiatic elephants, Sumatran serow, Sunda leopard cats, saimangs and sambar deer however most of these species are very elusive here. We will however have a good chance of seeing orangutans, Thomas’s langur, white-handed gibbons, long-tailed macaques, southern pig-tailed macaques as well as a variety of birds, reptiles and insects. This morning we will be driven to our accommodation in the village of Bukit Lawang (Jungle Inn). After settling into the lodge we will have some lunch, either here or at one of the restaurants in the village. In the afternoon you will have your first guided walk through some of the forest here, the mornings are best for orangutans but you may see other primates and many species of birds in the afternoon.
Gunung Leuser National Park
For the next two days you will have an early breakfast and then with your local guide depart into the forest. You will spend the whole days in the forest with a packed lunch. The forest here is one of the most biologically diverse in the world along with 175 species of mammals, 320 bird species, 190 reptiles and amphibians and around 10,000 plant species; which is around 45% of the recorded plant species known from the West Indo-Malayan region being found here including many endemic species of birds, reptiles and amphibians that are only found in this highland forest ecosystem. Most of the individual orangutans around Bukit Lawang are reintroduced into the wild and their offspring. Whilst out in the forest we will also search for other primates such as the beautiful Thomas’s langur, loud and bold macaques and hopefully a family group of one (or both) of the gibbon species here the white-handed gibbon which is more commonly seen and heard and the largest of all gibbons the very vocal siamang. Also regularly seen are slender squirrels, black giant squirrels, Asian pied hornbill, brown fulvetta, Sumatra aceh, Asian glossy starling, yellow-billed warbler and yellow-bellied bulbuls. Whilst out in the forest we will find a nice place to have our packed lunch each day and as the afternoon winds down towards evening we will leave the forest and head back to the accommodation for dinner. If it is possible (it is not always allowed around this forest) we can do a little spotlighting to see if we can find any nocturnal wildlife after dinner.
Despite being on the same island there are no direct flights from Medan to Bandar Lampung in the south. So today we will have to depart from Gunung Leuser early and catch a flight back to the capital Jakarta. As we cannot guarantee the traffic we will have the night here and then head back to Sumatra tomorrow. On arrival back in Jakarta you will be taken back to the hotel nearby the airport and the rest of the day is free for you to rest.
Way Kambas National Park
This morning we will leave the airport and catch your flight to Bandar Lampung in southern Sumatra. We will then be met by a local driver and transported to Satwa Eco Lodge, (3-4 hours), once we arrive at the lodge we will check in and if time allows we will have an afternoon / evening jeep drive. The lodge is located on the outskirts of the Way Kambas National Park that is home to many species of mammals and birds that are on the brink of extinction and this protected forest (1,300km2) is the last stronghold of many, including the Sumatran tiger, Sumatran rhino and Malayan tapir. If we have time to head out this afternoon / evening we will most likely head along the jeep track that connects the lodge to the Rhino Centre, Elephant Sanctuary and Way Batin Bridge. Along the various sections of this road many of the areas rare and elusive mammals and nocturnal birds can be seen.
Over the 5 full days we will have morning and afternoon / evening excursions in search of wildlife. The exact itinerary will be decided by our guide and depending on what animals we are keen on seeing and what sighting have been made recently. But the main activities that we will have when here will be jeep safaris along the trails that lead to the lodge and the forest and river safaris along both the Way Batin and Way Kanan rivers. We will also have spotlighting drives along the jeep trails after dark, Way Kambas is widely regarded as one of the best places in the world for nocturnal birds and it is not uncommon to see large frogmouths, Javan frogmouths, Sunda frogmouths, large-tailed nightjars, savanna nightjars, Bonaparte’s nightjars, Buffy fish owls, brown hawk owls, collared scops owls and reddish scops owls within a few days of spotlighting. Other bird highlights in Way Kambas include Storm’s stork, woolly-necked stork, lesser adjutant, crested fireback, great argus, oriental darter and the critically endangered white-winged duck. In fact only around 24-38 of these rare ducks remain in Way Kambas which is the largest remaining population in Sumatra. However the most conspicuous and sought after diurnal birds here are the 9 species of hornbill that inhabit the forests of Way Kambas. Another very rare non mammalian animal in Way Kambas is the false gharial, a crocodilian that inhabits the coastal swamps. We would be very lucky to see one of these but we should keep our eyes peeled when on river safaris. Most of the mornings will start at dawn and before breakfast we will head out on a jeep or river safari with breakfast afterwards, then the midday heat will be spent around the lodge (where common tree-shrews, plantain squirrels and common garden birds can be seen the lodge grounds), before heading out again on another jeep or boat safari we will also have spotlighting sessions in the evening as this a very productive time for many mammals and of course the forests famous nocturnal birds. Along the roads at night we could see various civet species including small-toothed palm civets, Malayan civets and masked palm civets as well as possibly spotting rare marbled cats, Sunda clouded leopards and the more commonly seen Sunda leopard cat. This road is also frequented by wild boar, Asiatic elephants, sambar and Indian muntjacs. Also seen from the roads are squirrels, common squirrels are black-eared squirrels, plantain squirrels, Prevost’s squirrel during the day and larger black flying squirrels and red giant flying squirrels by night. During the day there are also many primate species that can be seen around here such as the iconic and targeted siamang, southern pig-tailed macaques, long-tailed macaques, mitred leaf monkey, agile gibbon and silvered leaf monkeys. Along the rivers (both Way Batin and Way Kanan) can be productive for smooth-coated otters, primates, squirrels, oriental short-clawed otters and as we cruise along the rivers there is always the chance of a real special sighting as Malayan tapir and sun bears have been spotted along these rivers on more than one occasion and the dream would be of course one of the 200-300 or so Sumatran tigers or the even rarer Sumatran rhino!
Today you will leave Way Kambas and drive the 3-4 hours back to Bandar Lampung and then catch your return flight to the capital, Jakarta. There are no plans for the rest of the day. You will be told by the local driver when he picks you up from the airport, what time he will collect you to make your return flight home tomorrow.
After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport in time to catch your return flight home.
Please note that the itinerary stated above is correct as our planned intentions for the tour. However adverse weather conditions and other local considerations can necessitate some modifications of the itinerary during the course of the tour; any changes will be made to make the best of the time and weather conditions available to us.
This tour is available on different date (subject to availability) please contact us for more details about running this tour on a date which suits you more.
Sumatra’s climate is very tropical. This means one minute the weather is hot and humid, the next it is raining in sheets. However, in general, throughout the year, the temperature during the day remains in between 21-30C. As with all tropical climates, Sumatra has a rainy season and a dry season. The dry season lasts from May to September. The wet season however is harder to define and forecast. September is the height of the dry season and this should improve our chances of seeing wildlife.
Everything mentioned in the itinerary is included. Including three meals per day (breakfast, lunch and dinner), except for lunch and dinner in Jakarta. There will be an amount of bottled water (approx 1ltr) available for each guest each day. We have our own private vehicle to be driven by a local guide for transfers when needed.
All our excursions including guided walks, vehicle safaris, hide use, camping fees and park entrance fees and anti-poaching patrol fees also included; we also include all fees for our camping team including cooks, assistants and translator.
We recommend you bring along your own binoculars or spotting scope as well as appropriate clothing; which should be both light and durable walking clothes as well as very warm winter clothes, such as down jackets & trousers, walking socks, gloves, hats, scarfs, fleeces etc. Broken in and comfortable, waterproof walking boots are essential. Any medication, books or other items of a personal nature is of course up to you to bring along. Oh and please bring plenty of memory cards or film for your camera.
We provide a comprehensive species list of all the vertebrates present in the areas we are visiting as well as some of the best field guides and reference books for the areas we are visiting. There is usually a spare pair of binoculars but in a group of 4 people these do not stretch too far. We also provide a spot light for nocturnal viewing (this is subject to local condition when we arrive). Where camping all camping gear is included as well as camp cooks and assistants where needed.
Nearly everything is included in this tour. The only things not included are international flights, travel insurance (contact us for more information one what is required from your insurance policy), any food bought outside of the three main meals, drinks outside of any offered with the meals and the bottled water provided each day and any items of a personal nature such as souvenirs and tips. Any applicable departure taxes and not included (but maybe included in the cost of your flights). Please check before departure.
As we are based in Manchester we recommend flights from Manchester International Airport
We recommend KLM or Emirates as a good airline for flights to Jakarta from the UK. One of the best websites to search for the best fares for these flights is www.skyscanner.net. Please check our terms and conditions regarding booking flights.
Please contact us for more information about flights and we can provide you with a link direct to the flights from another supplier; in which case you only have to enter the passenger information and payment details. By using the above link you will leave our site and we at Royle Safaris hold no responsibility for the content on the site.
All UK passport holders and most other nationalities are not required to have a visa issued in advance for Indonesia. You can get a visa on arrival at Jakarta airport, but it is recommended you seek advance from the Indonesian embassy or consulate in your home country for more information.
There are no mandatory vaccinations needed to visit Indonesia, but it is recommended to be protected against TB, polio, typhoid, tetanus and hepatitis A as well as taking a form of malaria prophylactics (although this is not mandatory). Please consult your doctor about your individual requirements for visiting Indonesia as soon as you have decided on this trip.
Mr & Mrs. King, Kent, UK
Dr. Brinkman, Canberra, Australia