Designed as an extension to our Festival of Wildlife, this 7-day extension visits Indonesia’s Komodo National Park, and also includes time on the island of Bali, perfect for some excellent birdwatching and snorkelling.
From Kota Kinabalu, head east to the Indonesian archipelago of the Lesser Sunda Islands. On the island of Flores you board a comfortable small motor vessel for a two-day trip to visit Komodo National Park, with one overnight aboard. This allows maximum time to explore the adjacent islands of Rinca and Komodo - home to the infamous Komodo dragons.
There will be an overnight stop on the island of Bali en route to Flores, and a two night stop on the way back – driving across the island to visit West Bali National Park at its northeast tip to see an intriguing release programme.
Day 1: Fly to Denpasar, Bali
On arrival a local guide will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your overnight accommodation, an ecolodge located in a bird and butterfly conservation area in the Jimbaran Hills, with stunning views over Bali.
Accommodation: Udayana Kingfisher Ecolodge, 1-night
Day 2: Birdwatching, fly to Flores and embark on Komodo Cruise
This morning after a pre-dawn start, you visit Nusa Dua Settling Ponds which are well-known for their abundance of water birds. Guided by a naturalist from the lodge, you can see 20-25 species including egret, night heron, purple heron, Java cormorant and several species of kingfishers.
After breakfast back at the lodge, transfer to Denpasar airport for a 1.5 hour flight to Labuan Bajo on the island of Flores. On arrival, you will be met by a local guide before embarking on the Mastro Aldo liveaboard boat for an overnight trip night of spectacular wildlife watching around the Komodo islands. The Mastro Aldo is a comfortable, medium-sized motor vessel with five air-conditioned cabins, with amenities including a dining room, sundeck,and the option to rent snorkelling equipment.
After you have boarded, the boat will sail for the island of Rinca, where you disembark and spend around an hour and a half walking to get your first views of the iconic Komodo dragons. Measuring up to an astonishing 3 metres in length, these are the largest lizards in the world. It is thought that these fascinating reptiles have reached their current size due to island gigantism i.e. isolation and the absence of predatory carnivores have resulted in the evolution of their huge bodies. Other wildlife you may see on the island includes wild boar, Timor deer, wild buffalo and megapodes a.k.a. mound builder or incubator birds.
This evening, you sail on to Kalong Island to watch large numbers of large flying foxes leaving their roost in the mangroves at sunset. This spectacle provides excellent photographic opportunities before you return to the boat for dinner.
Accommodation: Mastro Aldo, 1-night
Day 3: Komodo National Park & Manta Point; disembark at Labuan Bajo
The itinerary continues with a full day visit to Komodo National Park. On arrival at Komodo Island, you disembark to walk to Banunggulung - a former feeding ground, where the Komodo dragons were at one time fed with goats. You are likely to encounter dragons on this walk, while enjoying the spectacular scenery and the unusual plants and animals you find along the way. It is estimated that around 2,000 dragons live on Komodo Island, as well as wild boar, deer and buffalo. The island also offers excellent birdwatching, with cockatoos, orange-footed scrubfowl and giant pigeons all found here.
After a morning walking on Komodo, you make your way back to the Mastro Aldo before sailing on to Manta Point where - if lucky - you may be able to snorkel with magnificent manta rays. Towards the end of the afternoon the boat will dock at Labuan Bajo, and you will be transferred to your accommodation, situated on the beach, looking out over the sea towards the Komodo Islands - perfect spot to watch the sunset
Accommodation: Bajo Komodo Ecolodge, 1-night
Day 4: Fly to Denpasar, transfer to West Bali National Park
After breakfast there is an opportunity to relax before visiting nearby Batu Cermin (Mirror Rock), a cave that takes its name from the visual effect created by the reflection of sunlight on its walls. From here you continue to Labuan Bajo airport for a flight back to Denpasar, where you board a vehicle for the four-hour transfer to West Bali National Park at the northwest tip of the island.
Your accommodation is situated in the heart of unspoilt West Bali National Park, a peaceful retreat set amidst 382 hectares of natural environment. The lodge provides an opportunity to relax in the exquisite surroundings of Bali’s northwest coast.
Accommodation: Menjangan Resort, 2-nights
Day 5: West Bali National Park
This morning you head out to explore the national park, transferring by boat to the deserted coral beach of Brumbun on Prapat Agung Peninsula. Long-tailed macaques, Javan langur, Menjangan wild deer, banteng, and Indian muntjac have all been recorded here. An early morning start allows you to enjoy the prolific bird life, which includes black-naped oriole, black racket-tailed treepie, crested serpent-eagle, dollarbird, lesser adjutant, sacred kingfisher and yellow-vented bulbul. If the skies are clear, there are magnificent photographic opportunities to capture the stunning volcanic landscape of East Java, visible in the distance.
Later this morning, you visit a release centre for the rare Bali starling to learn about the plight of this attractive species. A park ranger from the conservation centre will deliver an informative talk about the experience of protecting Bali’s only endemic vertebrate species, which is followed by a short trek through the surrounding low bush and jungle to gain a greater insight into the park’s flora and fauna.
Before lunch there is still time to snorkel as you make your way by motor boat to Menjangan Island. You spend around one hour at the first snorkelling site among mangroves, with plenty of time to admire the lovely coral reef where numerous marine life, such as reef fish, scorpion fish, eels, electric clams and starfish. After a picnic lunch on the beach, you can snorkel at the coral garden beside Menjangan Temple before sailing back to the mainland. The rest of the day is at leisure, and this evening there will be a farewell barbecue at the hotel.
Day 6: Transfer back to Denpasar and fly to Kuala Lumpur
Transfer to Denpasar airport for an early evening flight direct to Kuala Lumpur.
Accommodation: Hotel close to Kuala Lumpur airport, 1-night
Day 7: Fly to Kota Kinabalu and join The Festival of Wildlife
- Duration and price excluding international flights: 7 days from £1,995 pp
- Single supplement: From £380
- Group size: 10
, Limited spaces
Included in the price/package:
- 5 nights hotel/lodge accommodation
- 1 night on board vessel
- All meals
- Domestic flights
- Guided wildlife excursions
- Boat trip