Wildlife Tours to Indonesia - A New Idea In 2015

After several years of interest in South America and tours to North Peru, we have turned our attention to a new area with a view to supplementing those tours with trips to Indonesia. In July 2014 we spent 2 weeks in Bali, a popular destination for tourism and an island which offers very good birding. We travelled at a leisurely pace and spent time at Bali Barat National Park, the largest wilderness area on the island, and in the hill country around the inland resort of Bedugul where the Botanical Gardens are situated. In addition we visited coastal lakes and marshes, mudflats and other places where we extended our bird list to 126 for those 2 weeks. This includes 3 days spent on Lombok, the next island to the east and on the other side of the famous ‘Wallace’s Line’.

While staying at the Udayana Kingfisher Ecolodge at Jimbaran, south of Denpasar, at the beginning and end of those 2 weeks, we discovered that it belonged to a company known as Ecolodges Indonesia. On our last day we joined in a meeting of the company at the Lodge and discovered a passion among the directors and shareholders which we shared wholeheartedly, for the urgent need to protect the last remaining Tigers, Asian Elephants, Orang Utans, Rhinoceros and Komodo Dragons left in the country. This was one of 5 lodges owned by the company and the others were located on Flores, Kalimantan and Sumatra, each designed to nurture one or more of these great animals. At the same time the forest and native habitat surrounding the lodges are home to very many species of birds, many more mammals and other wildlife which are continuously under threat of further deforestation. When we returned to New Zealand we kept in touch with the company and purchased shares so that we could be part of a wonderful and forward-thinking organisation.

In April 2015 we returned to Indonesia, starting at the Udayana in Bali and continuing with a pre-arranged tour of 3 of the other lodges, the Bajo Komodo Ecolodge on Flores, Rimba Orang Utan Ecolodge in Kalimantan and Satwa Elephant Ecolodge in south-east Sumatra. We spent 3 nights at each lodge giving us at least 2 full days to explore the habitat with the assistance of a local guide.

In March 2016 our first tour in Indonesia went ahead with 5 guests, all of whom had previously been with us in Peru. We spent a week on Flores which incorporated the day boat trip to Komodo Island to see the famous dragons. We then travelled eastwards for 3 days through the forest to Kelimutu in the volcanic region with its crater lakes. It was tough birding but we found most of the endemic species. From there 4 internal flights got us to Borneo for a 4 night stay at Rimba Lodge at the edge of Tanjung Puting National Park. Travel from here is by riverboat and as well as wild Orang Utans we enjoyed some very special birds like Bornean Bristlehead, Garnet Pitta, Black and Rhinoceros Hornbills and Wallace’s Hawk-Eagle. Travelling back by air via Jakarta gave us the chance to visit the island of Pulau Rambut and find the rare Milky Stork and Christmas Island Frigatebird.

We have a new tour to Sumatra in April 2017, followed by an extension in Bali and then a repeat of the Flores & Kalimantan trip with some modifications. See items 3 & 4 below.

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Meanwhile the company is looking to expand its selection of lodges with a view to including one in the Sumatran mountains at Kerinci, in Sulawesi and in West Papua.

We have recently formed associations with some other small operators and are able to offer other tours to a variety of places under our name ‘Birders Rest Far and Wide’. See the link on the left to our brochure and our latest Calendar of Tours.