Sulawesi’s Endemic Mammal Tour
June 11, 2022 - June 23, 2022£776 – £3307
Sulawesi’s Endemic Mammal Tour
Sulawesi is not the most famous Indonesian island, but it is the eleventh largest island in the world and due to its amazing geological history and peninsula makeup with various mountains blocking off movement the level of endemism in Sulawesi is amazing. What also makes the island unique is that it lies half way across the Wallace Line and is in fact part of Wallacea which means it contains both Australasian and Indomalayan species.
The island is well known in birding circles and there are many birding trips already running to Sulawesi, but this is the first dedicated mammal watching tour. It has been several years in the making as we have fine tuned the logistics to make sure that we maximise the number of species of mammals we can find.
Nearly every species we will see in Sulawesi will be endemic to Sulawesi and so for anyone who has not been there will be recording many new species for them. Another important reason to visit Sulawesi is that the island is under specific pressure to develop and many of the forest habitats that remain now are poorly protected and so starting mammal focused ecotourism here is of vital importance to help preserve the stunning diversity and endemism on the island.
Top Animals on Tour
Crested Black Macaque
Manado / Tangkoko Forest Reserve
Today you will arrive at the northern city of Manado and on arrival be collected by your local guide and driver and taken to Tangkoko Forest Reserve (2 hours). After checking in to the accommodation (if there is time) you will visit the nearby forest for your first search for wildlife. In the evening it is easy to see an endemic species of tarsier (the Gurskt’s spectral tarsier) as they emerge from their day roosts.
Tangkoko Forest Reserve
For the next three days you will explore Tangkoko Forest further; this reserve is home to a variety of Sulawesi endemic mammals and birds. You will have four main targets whilst here and they include the very charismatic and sometimes too curious Celebes crested macaques, the unusual and relic from when parts of Sulawesi was attached to the Australasian tectonic plate, bear cuscus as well as the harder to find dwarf cuscus and of course the very cute, nocturnal Gurskt’s spectral tarsier.
Three of these species (excluding the dwarf cuscus which is harder to find) have known locations and we are very confident in our local guides finding these species. There is also a good chance of finding some of the endemic squirrel species such as Sulawesi giant squirrel and whitish dwarf squirrel. There are also many endemic birds including the Sulawesi pygmy woodpecker, Sulawesi dwarf kingfisher and Sulawesi pitta which are all high priority for birders and if you have time and an interest these species can be targeted.
Tangkoko – Manado – Gorontalo – Wonosari
This morning you will leave Tangkoko and travel to Manado (2 hours) in the early morning to catch the flight (usually the early morning flight so departure will be very early). The on arrival in Gorontalo you will meet your new driver and travel to the small village of Wonosari (4-5 hours), this village is on the border of Nantu Forest. We will not arrive with enough time to enter the forest today, but you will have a walk along the river, which borders the forest, to look for Heck’s macaque and squirrels which can be seen here.
Nantu Forest Reserve
For the next 2 days you will walk down to the river that forms the border to the protected forest, then you will cross the river, sometimes this requires getting into a small and locally built raft or sometimes it is easier to roll your trousers up and wade across (if the water level is low enough). Once over to the other side your permits will be checked (as it is not easy to get access to this park and we have arranged these permits to be prepared in advance of your arrival) and you will be taken through the forest to a small hide overlooking a muddy clearing. This mud is rich in minerals and salts and pretty much every day it is visited by several species. Our main target here is the incredible and bizarre northern babirusa. This name means deer-pig and it is easy to see why once you set eyes on this unusual animal.
Also around here is the equally endangered Heck’s macaque, Sulawesi warty-pig and lowland anoa (which is a dwarf buffalo species). You will spend time in the hide whilst here and hope that these species as well as other come along.
Nantu – Batubarani – Dumoga Bone National Park
After breakfast you will drive to Batubarani village on the coast and have a brief distraction from mammal watching to take an outrigger boat and go in search of whale sharks just off shore. The largest fish in the world is surely an honouree mammal.
Afterward you will come back to shore and then drive back to the hotel for lunch and then start your drive to Suwawa village. From here you will check into the hotel and enter Dumoga Bone National Park. You will spend the evening exploring the park looking for mammals, with the main target here being another species of Jatna’s tarsier (Tarsius supriatnae). There will be some spotlighting along the trails on the way back to the hotel in the night.
Gorontalo – Makassar – Karaenta Forest
After breakfast this morning you will be transferred from the hotel and taken to the airport to catch your flight to Makassar. On arrival here you will meet your new driver and be taken to Bantimurung-Bulusaraung National Park. This location is the best for seeing another endemic macaque species, the Moor Macaque and then in the late evening you will search for another endemic species tarsier, the Makassar Tarsier (Tarsius fuscus).
Karaenta Forest – Palu – Lore Lindu National Park
This morning you will have another visit to Bantimurung – Bulusaraung National Park for a more views of moor macaque and daytime views of Makassar tarsier. Afterward you will transfer from here to the airport to catch a flight to Palu and from here (after meeting your new driver) be taken onwards to Karunia village nearby Lore Lindu National Park. After dark you will enter the forest in search of nocturnal species, including the rarely seen Sulawesi palm civet.
Lore Lindu National Park
For the next 2 full days you will enter the park during the day (and do night walks after dark) looking for various species of mammals in the park, specialty species here are the Tonkean macaque and Dian’s tarsier (Tarsius dentatus) but there is another species of tarsier known from the park, the pygmy tarsier (Tarsius pumilus) and other animals such as dwarf cuscus, bear cuscus, north Sulawesi babirusa, lowland anoa, Sulawesi palm civet, Celebes rat and various bats such as the Sulawesi stripe-faced fruit bat.
Lore Lindu – Kebun Kopi – Dongagala – Palu
This morning you will leave early (around 6am) and drives down to Kebun Kopi for a good views of Tonkean macaques which often show up by the roadside. After you will continue onwards to Donggala where we will have another chance for a new species of tarsier (Wallace’s tarsier (Tarsius wallacei) in the local farm land. Then after you will be driven back to Palu for the night.
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.
Sulawesi’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, Sulawesi 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. Expect rain, even in the dry season.
Everything mentioned in the itinerary is included. Including three meals per day (breakfast, lunch and dinner), except for lunch and dinner in towns and cities. 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, boat excursions, hide use and park entrance fees are included; we also include all fees for our guides.
Internal flights within Sulawesi as mentioned in the itinerary are also included.
We recommend you bring along your own binoculars as well as appropriate clothing; which should be both light and durable walking clothes as well as a water proof coat. 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. Waterproof (beach) shoes are also very useful. Good torches and many spare batteries are also needed on this trip.
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).
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.
From Jakarta it is easy to book flights to Sulawesi.
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.
Visas and Health Information
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.
Reviews of this Holiday
Dr. Jacoba Brinkman - Canberra, Australia
Mr. Scharf - California, USA
Mr & Mrs. Houghton - Norwich, Norfolk, UK
Rodney Manuel - London