Join wildlife photographer Nick Garbutt in Indonesia to find and capture images of Komodo dragons, crested black macaques and spectral tarsiers, amongst other fantastic wildlife.
We start this unique tour on the island of Sulawesi whose dramatic and varied landscapes - rugged mountains, virgin rainforest, highland lakes, idyllic beaches and rich coral reefs – are home to an amazing variety of flora and fauna, much of which is endemic. Mammals such as crested black macaque, Sulawesi bear cuscus, spectral tarsier and babirusa are found nowhere else. In addition, around 90 bird species are endemic too, as are a high percentage of the islands’ reptiles and amphibians. We base ourselves at Tangkoko National Park at the far northeastern point of Sulawesi, which should provide excellent photographic opportunities, especially for the island's primate species.
After spending five nights on Sulawesi, we continue to Flores where we board a traditional Indonesian vessel and sail to Komodo National Park. This wonderful archipelago consists of three large islands, nameley Komodo, Padar and Rinca, as well as 26 smaller ones. By exclusively chartering our boat, we are able to spend four nights at these islands, which is much longer than the vast majority of visitors, providing ample time to photograph the extraordinary Komodo dragons that live on its shores.
Day1: Depart the UK
Depart the UK on an overnight flight to Manado via Singapore.
Day2: Arrive Manado (Sulawesi) & transfer to Batu Putih
Arriving in Manado in the afternoon, we transfer to the village of Batu Putih, the gateway to Tangkoko National Park. The remainder of the afternoon is free to relax after the long journey.
Accommodation: Tangkoko Guesthouse, 5-nights
Days3-6: Visit Tankgkoko National Park
On each day of our stay, the rhythm is identical: we rise just before dawn, then drive a short distance to Tangkoko National Park with our local guide(s). We then continue on foot into the forest as far as the beach to watch the resident crested back macaques as they go about their daily business. These animals are habituated to humans and are seemingly quite unconcerned by our presence.
Returning to the guesthouse for lunch, we have time to relax over the hottest period of the day and participate in photography workshops. Towards the end of the afternoon we head back into the forest - this time to see spectral tarsiers as they wake from their daylight slumbers in a tree and move off for their nocturnal activity.
Day7: Fly to Labuan Bajo
Early in the morning we transfer back to Manado airport for a domestic flight to Denpasar on the island of Bali. Here we connect with another domestic flight to Labuan Bajo on the island of Flores. We transfer to our nearby hotel and enjoy a relaxing evening with dinner.
Day8: Board chartered vessel & sail to Rinca Island
This morning we transfer to the jetty and board our traditional phinisi, then sail for the island of Rinca, where we pick up a local guide and walk the short distance to the ranger station. In all probability our first encounter with Komodo dragons will be here.
After a morning walk on Rinca, we return to the boat for lunch and a chance to relax for a while. Later in the afternoon we enjoy a second shore visit, with an opportunity to do another walk into the interior of the island in the hope of seeing dragons in wilder surroundings.
After spending the morning ashore, we set sail for Komodo Island with views of thousands of flying foxes (fruit bats) as they emerge at dusk from their roost in a cave as we pass along the coast of tiny Pulau Kalong (Kalong Island).
Days10-11: Komodo Island
Each morning after breakfast on board we head ashore as soon as the ranger station opens and pick up a local guide for our walk on Komodo. Once again there is a choice of walks of different lengths and durations, but the best sightings of dragons are frequently to be had in the area immediately surrounding the ranger station. We use all the time available to ensure we have an opportunity to capture the best photographic images, returning to the vessel in the middle of the day for lunch and to enjoy a welcome rest before setting out again in the afternoon.
Day12: Komodo Island & sail back to Labuan Bajo
Following a final morning session ashore on Komodo, we sail back to Labuan Bajo. This evening we enjoy a final dinner to celebrate the conclusion of the trip.
We transfer to Labuan Bajo airport to catch an afternoon flight back to Denpasar, with an onward connection to Singapore and overnight flight back to the UK.
Day14: Arrive UK
You should note: This itinerary is based on current flight schedules. These may change without notice, hence there is no guarantee that this will be the exact itinerary we will follow. Changes may be forced upon us right until the last moment, but we will make every effort to keep the final itinerary as faithful as possible to the one proposed above.
Duration and price including flights from/to UK: 14 daysfrom £5,895 pp
Duration and price excluding international flights: 12 daysfrom £5,095 pp
Single supplement: From £1,895
Group size: 9
, Fully booked
We are currently finalising future dates for this tour. Please contact us for further details.
Included in the price/package:
Domestic fights between Manado (Sulawesi) and Labuan Bajo (Flores)
An award-winning photographer and author, with a background in zoology, Nick has forged a career by combining these skills with leading tours and lecturing.
Nick has written and photographed several critically acclaimed books, including: ‘100 Animals to See Before They Die’, ‘Mammals of Madagascar: A Complete Guide’, ‘Wild Borneo’, and ‘Chameleons’. He is a regular contributor to international magazines such as National Geographic, BBC Wildlife, Africa Geographic and Geographical.
Nick has twice been a winner in the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition. In 2000, he won the prestigious Gerald Durrell Award for Endangered Wildlife. His photographs appear widely in books, calendars and other publications worldwide. He is a Special Lecturer on the MSc course in the Wildlife Photography and Imaging at Nottingham University, where he studied.
Komodo National Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986 due to the extraordinary lizards that live on its shores. Encompassing three main islands – Komodo, Rinca and Padar – and 26 smaller islands, this national park has roughly 2,500 Komodo dragons, as well as a plethora of marine life.
Ideal for viewing: Komodo dragon, manta ray, Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin, lesser frigatebird, green turtle
Excellent for: Wildlife photography, Photography tours with Nick Garbutt
Located on the northern arm of Sulawesi, two hours from Manado, Tangkoko National Park covers 8,700 hectares of rolling hills and forested valleys. Tangkoko is the home of some of Indonesia’s most unique wildlife species, including the crested black macaque and spectral tarsier.
Ideal for viewing: crested black macaque, spectral tarsier, maleo, Sulawesi hornbill, Sulawesi bear cuscus
Excellent for: Photography tours with Nick Garbutt
This itinerary is available on the following
The Phinisi Felicia is the largest boat in the Plataran fleet, accommodating 12 guests on board. Built in the traditional Indonesian style with two masts and made from locally-sourced materials, the Phinisi Felicia is the perfect choice to explore the islands of Komodo National Park in comfort.