‘Here be dragons…’ as quoted on many am antique map when people were describing the unexplored countries and islands. However this phrase probably stems from the tales heard by pirates, buccaneers and early explorers from local people in relation to the large lizards that inhabited the islands of Eastern Indonesia. We now know these lizards to be Komodo dragons, not fire-breathing but venomous, not winged but social and intelligent and not gigantic but still over 3m long. However the Komodo dragons are not the only giant we will be focusing on during this trip. We will also be visiting some hot spots for the gentle giant of the seas, the wonderful Manta ray. Snorkelling with these beautiful animals is one of the greatest wildlife experiences you can have. This tour is a great tour on its own or to be combined with a longer tour of Indonesia such as our other wildlife watching holidays of this incredible archipelago.
Yellow Crested Cockatoo
Island Flying Fox
On your arrival in Jakarta you will be collected by your local guide / driver and then taken to your hotel in the city for the night. There are not activities planned for today, however if you arrive early in the morning we can look to include a city sightseeing tour if we have time and you wish.
This morning you will be collected from the hotel and taken to the domestic airport to catch your flight east to the wonderful tropical paradise of Bali. Bali is predominately Hindu which makes it distinctly different culturally from the rest of Indonesia. You will arrive into Denpasar and once here you will met by a guide and taken direct to the one national park on the island (Bali Bharat National Park). You will have some lunch here and then hike around the various trails looking for wildlife. There are around 160 species of birds known from the park including the critically endangered and nearly extinct Bali starling. The are some mammals here which we will try and see including banteng, Javan rusa, Indian muntjac, wild boar and if you are very lucky a Sunda leopard cat. From here you will be taken back to the town of Denpasar and to your hotel for the night.
Labuan Bajo (Flores) – Rinca Island
Today you will leave Bali and travel further east, on the plane you will be able to see the group of islands that Komodo is part of below you. We will be flying onto Flores and on arrival in the capital Labuan Bajo. From here you will be met by our local Komodo Islands guide and taken to the harbour, here we will board our boat that we will be travelling, eating and sleeping on for the next couple of days.
The boat will then cruise along to Kelor island for your fist snorkeling, after enjoying the beautiful underwater of Kelor island and white beaches, you will be taken to Loh Buaya (Crocodile Bay) Ranger Station in Rinca Island. Once we arrive at Rinca Island we will begin a trek into the heart of the island searching for the legendary and enormous Komodo dragons. Komodo dragons are the largest extant species of lizard and growing up to 3m long they are the top predator on Rinca and the other 5 islands they still inhabit. They once ranged over a larger area but they have been hunted to extinction on all but the 5 islands (Komodo, Rinca, Flores (only small pockets), Gili Motang and Padar) that make up the Komodo Islands National Park. Rinca differs from Komodo Island in being a small island with a small human population, it is less busy and shows you the pristine dry scrub ecosystem that used to cover most of the islands in the Lesser Sunda Archipelago. As well as the iconic Komodo dragons we will also search for water buffalo, wild boar, Timor rusa deer, long-tailed macaques, orange-footed scrubfowl, zebra doves, green imperial pigeons, Javan spitting cobras, Asian bullfrogs and the endemic (to Rinca Island only) Rinca rat.
We will explore the island in full today and then in the afternoon we will head to a small nearby island that has a large colony of flying foxes. As the flying foxes begin to leave their roosts to feed the sight is spectacular. There are three species here including Sunda flying fox, Island flying fox and the large flying fox. We will then have dinner on board the boat and sleep offshore. Tomorrow we will explore the iconic island of Komodo where the truly huge dragons can be found.
Early this morning we will arrive at Red beach for more spectacular snorkeling off Komodo, after enjoy the snorkelling around Red beach you will have lunch on board and then carry on to Kampung Komodo or Komodo Village before hiking around Komodo Island and begin a hike around the coastal shrub forests of this infamous island. Obviously the main target of today will be to find and get close up views of the island’s most incredible and famous residents the Komodo dragon. We will meet a National Park Ranger and be escorted on our quest to find large Komodo dragons. But whilst here we have a chance to see water buffalo, rusa deer, wild pigs and many bird species. The ecosystem of this island and the other Lesser Sundas is significantly different to nearby islands so many of the species found here will not be found in other islands we visit on this tour. We will spend the morning on the island and also visit the ranger station and local villages along the coast, here the dragons have got very used to people and more importantly food that is left for them and it is here that we are most likely to see many dragons together and interacting with each-other. The only other occasions when large numbers of adult Komodo dragons are found together are when they are in the breeding season (which is January) and at a large carcass such as a water buffalo, horse or deer, however these are very rare and hard to come across as they tend to occur deep in the interior of the island.
On your return to your boat after hiking around Komodo Island and seeing the plentiful Komodo dragon here you will sail to Sabita Bay near Karang Makassar (Manta Point) for tomorrow’s snorkelling.
Sabita Bay, Karang Makassar-Sebayur Island
This morning you will enter the water around Manta Point for snorkeling to see stunning and graceful Manta Rays at Karang Makassar, the chance to see is 75%, sometime you see the schooling of Mantas in this reefs; as they aggregate here for cleaning and socialising. Before lunch you will then sail to Sebayur Island for another snorkeling activity around the coral reefs. In particular Sebayur Reefs is spectacular. From here in the afternoon sail to Bidadari or Kanawa Island and overnight.
Kanawa Island – Labuan Bajo
After breakfast, you will leave Kanawa island and transfer to Labuan Bajo. On arrival here you will check into our accommodation and after lunch. Flores is another unique island in Indonesia with a rich and varied range of wildlife and also intriguing homonid remains including the famous ‘Hobbit’ fossils of one of our early ancestors whom lived alongside humans some 94,000-12,000 years ago. This amazing discovery was only found in 2003 and shows that the forests, caves and islands in Indonesia have many more secrets for us to find, as long as we haven’t destroyed everything first. You will then return to the hotel for the night.
This morning we will have breakfast at the hotel before a guided tour around some of the local markets in Labaun Bajo and then onto explore the underground world of Batu Cermin Cave. This is a wonderful mosaic of stalactites and stalagmites. The cave system is set within an impressive rock formation and through a hole in the cave, rays of light shine through and bounce off the rocks which gives the cave its name (Batu Cermin meaning Mirror Cave). Whilst in the cave there are numerous species of bats and spiders, most of the bats are of the genus Rhinolophus and we will try to identify some of the species we see. After this visit we will catch our flight from Flores back to Denpasar and then connect on through to Jakarta. After we arrive in Jakarta we will check into our accommodation and the the rest of the evening is free for you to prepare for your 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.
Bali’s wet season falls between October and March, but we’re talking brief tropical rainfall rather than days of monsoonal downpours. Temperatures in Bali are fairly consistent year round, ranging from 26°C – 29°C. The Lesser Sundas (which includes the islands of Flores and the Komodo Islands National Parks are also in the wet season from October and March, with November, December and January seeing the most rainfall. However this coincides with the breeding season for Komodo dragons and best diving / snorkelling season for manta rays with higher numbers and better visibility.
Everything mentioned in the itinerary is included. Including three meals per day (breakfast, lunch and dinner). 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. Included in this trip is a chartered boat for your cruise around the Komodo Islands National Park.
All our excursions including guided walks, snorkelling activities and park entrance fees and anti-poaching patrol fees also included; we also include all fees for our boat crew costs.
We recommend you bring along your own binoculars as well as appropriate clothing; which should be both light and durable walking clothes which should be quick wicking and light for the high temperatures. Also bring a thin waterproof jacket with you. 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.
The only other specialist equipment is any personal snorkelling equipment you wish to bring yourself.
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. Snorkelling equipment is also included, however you are welcome to bring your own mask, snorkel and or fins if you wish.
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.
We do not book international flights, however we do recommend certain airlines that have good connections to and from our tour start and exit point. We are based in the UK and so recommend these airlines based on what is best available from our home airports (in London and Manchester for example), however we can recommend flight options for you based on wherever you are travelling from.
Good airlines to get from the UK to Indonesia is KLM or Garuda, both have a few different options for arrival and departure from Jakarta and provide competitive prices and a good standard of service on board.
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.
Mrs. Marie King, Kent
Mr. T. King - Kent, UK
Arron M. Knightsbrige - Philidelphia