Indonesia Kingdom of Komodo Extension 2018
Komodo Dragon – the world’s largest and most famous lizard! The critically endangered Yellow-crested Cockatoo. Pink Beach, one of the most recognisable beaches on earth. A number of key birds including Flores Monarch, Elegant Pitta and Thick-billed Heleia.
Day 1: Arrival at Ngurah Rai International Airport (Bali), transfer to hotel
Today is set aside as an arrival day post the completion of the Tigers Tour (suggested routing from Delhi to Bali is via Singapore). Post arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel in Kuta for your overnight stay. A look around the beach may reveal a fly-by beautiful White-tailed Tropicbird!
Overnight Vira Hotel
Day 2: Flight Bali to Labuan Bajo (Flores), board boat and cruise to Rinca Island via Kalong Island
This morning, we have breakfast at our hotel before heading back to Ngurah Rai International Airport for our flight to Labuan Bajo (suggested flight Denpasar – Labuan Bajo: Garuda GA 7026 / 07h30 to 09h05). Upon arrival at Labuan Bajo Airport, your guide will meet you and transfer you to the harbour where you board you liveaboard boat. You will then commence your cruise to Rinca Island (travel time between 2 hours, and 2 hours 30 minuntes), passing a few smaller islands en route. As you make your way toward Rinca, seabird possibilities include Lesser Frigatebird, White-tailed Tropicbird, Brown Booby and various terns such as Black-naped, Lesser and Greater Crested, and Bridled. Schools of Bottle-nosed Dolphins may put in an appearance or perhaps even a Dugong (the latter very rarely see though!).
You may pay a visit to Kalong Island today as well – however a definite highlight will be on Rinca Island. Here you will have your first opportunity to see Komodo Dragons! Other animals you may encounter here include deer, horses, and wild buffaloes.
You will be overnighting on board your boat near Rinca Island.
Sao Rajo III (AC Cabin boat)
Day 3: Kalong to Padar Island (AM trekking + birding), cruise to Komodo Island, snorkelling at Pink Beach, anchor off Komodo Island
Today you head to Padar Island, where you will embark on a morning trek to the top of the hill to enjoy the beautiful view, whereafter you return for lunch on board the boat. We then cruise to Komodo Island, and have the opportunity to snorkel the remarkable coral reefs off Pink Beach. The colour of the sand is said to as a result of the Foraminifera, which are reddish pink and mix with the white sand forming the distinct pink colour.
Overnight Sao Rajo III (AC Cabin boat)
Day 4: Cruise to Komodo Island, walk to Banugulung (Komodo Dragons + birding), then cruise back to Labuan Bajo (Flores) and disembark
Today will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of the entire trip! We aim to arrive early on the island in order to make the most of the soft, early morning light. On this arid 390 square kilometre island we will be met by one of the park’s rangers and will then head off to the savannas and forests of this remarkable island, now a national park, in search of its most famous resident – which we have an excellent chance of observing.
The Komodo Dragon was discovered by Westerners only in 1910 when an official of the Dutch Colonial Administration mounted an expedition of armed soldiers to investigate stories of fire-spitting dragons exceeding 23ft in length. Two theories exist as to the reasons for such a huge lizard evolving; the traditional thinking was that the Komodo Dragon was an example of island gigantism, a biological phenomenon whereby island forms tend to evolve into larger taxa (and conversely continental forms become smaller). However, recent evidence indicates that the Komodo Dragon is an ancient relict of giant lizards that evolved in Australia but became extinct with other megafauna during the Pleistocene era. Measuring up to 10 ft 3 in (over 3m) and tipping the scales at an average weight of up to 200 lbs (90 kg), the Komodo Dragon is the super predator on the island. Any creature they can overcome and kill falls within their dietary range: from invertebrates and birds, fellow Komodo Dragons, right up to mammals as large as Water Buffalo and even humans! The bulk of their diet, however, consists of large mammals that have been introduced to these islands, notably Timor Deer, Wild Boar, Water Buffalo and goats. Animals up to the size of goats are swallowed whole; this process being aided by the dragons’ loosely articulated jaws, flexible skull and expandable stomach. Nevertheless this can be a slow process despite the saliva lubricating the meal and Komodo Dragons have been observed to ram carcasses against trees (sometimes even knocking trees down in the process) to force large prey items down their throats!
Komodo is home to far more than these incredible lizards: 32 mammal species, 128 birds and 37 reptile species are known from Komodo National Park. Native mammals occurring on the island include Asian Palm Civet and several bat and rodent species. Birds are prolific and we will search for Green Junglefowl, Orange-footed Scrubfowl, the Critically Endangered Yellow-crested Cockatoo, Grey Tit, Green Imperial Pigeon, Island Collared Dove, Barred Dove, Little Cuckoo-Dove, White-bellied Sea Eagle, Asian Koel, Lemon-bellied White-eye, Black-naped Oriole, Black-naped Monarch, Wallacean Drongo, Collared Kingfisher, Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Australian Golden Whistler, Olive-backed Sunbird, Helmeted Friarbird and, with a bit of good fortune, Beach Thickknee.
After a fascinating visit to Komodo, we will head back to Labuan Bajo where we will say goodbye to the boat and its crew, and head to our hotel which will be our base for the remaining two nights of this adventure.
Overnight Jayakarta Suites
Day 5: Excursion to Puarlolo (birding), return to hotel late afternoon
An early morning departure will take us to the beautiful forests at Puarlolo. Puarlolo is famous for harbouring the incredibly rare Flores Monarch, which was only discovered in 1971 and still remains an almost mythical species! Paurlolo is also a good site for other interesting species including Elegant Pitta, Thick-billed Heleia (Flores White-eye), Chestnut-capped Thrush, Crested Dark-eye, Rufous-chested Flycatcher and Russet-capped Tesia. We will return to the hotel later in the afternoon.
Overnight Jayakarta Suites
Day 6: Flight from Flores to Ngurah Rai International Airport (Bali) and depart
This morning our exploration of this fabulous corner of Indonesia sadly comes to an end, and after breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for your flight back to Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali (flight not included in tour fee).