Wildlife, Organic Living at Amanwana Resort, Moyo Island

A beach strip at Moyo Island.

Bali, 9 August 2009. Imagine an island larger than Singapore, where the brightest lights are the shining stars at night and the loudest noise is the lapping of waves. Imagine a place where the busiest moment of the day is at dawn when flocks ofbirds spread their wings and soar into the skies; a place where, at the day's end, one has the time to watch each ray of sunlightdisperse across the sky turning them into the colours of the rainbow.

Welcome to Moyo Island, and the Amanwana Resort. Open year round, the exclusive Amanwana, located just east of Bali invites guests to experience the quietude and beauty of a natural island environment. Found at the western end of the Nusa Tenggara islands, Moyo Island stretches some 1,300km east of Timor.

The Aman group are well-known for their exclusive retreats, but a smart traveller, one who knows how to navigate the online booking agencies like they used to navigate the souks and bazaars of the Middle East can always find an opportunity to knock on Amanwana’s tented resort on Moyo Island. The forests, the fresh water pools, fed by rushing waterfalls, the bat caves and the off shore diving are all out there for free.

Forestry wild life and marine preservation are all part of Amanwana’s mandate - without them the villages would be looking to other means to sustain themselves. Sleeping under the soft roof of my tented room, listening to the lap of the waves, I felt good. Me and my hosts were part of a continuum of sharing resources, the inhabitants of Moyo share their island and in return continue traditional lives that contain opportunities for those who dream.

Amanwana encourages guests to experience their surroundings on the land and in the water. Experienced international dive masters accompany guests on exotic night dives and reef dives, while novice divers can undergo certification and training during their stay and take their first dive in the Flores Sea, one of the most treasured marine environments in the world.

Baby turtles at the Amanwa Resort.

Baby turtles at the Amanwa Resort.

Non-divers can enjoy snorkeling at the reefs that ring the island observing the marine life amongst the bountiful corals that are currently protected by a stewardship scheme that ensures their preservation.

On land, the Amanwana guides lead guests on treks from the littoral forests that fringe the beaches into the dense tropical forest where pure spring water runs in waterfalls over ancient limestone plateaus into freshwater pools. The protected 12,000 acre site is of paramount importance and the Amanwana supports local villagers in the management of the forest resources.

A Golden Oriole perched atop a tree on blissful Moyo Island

A Golden Oriole perched atop a tree on blissful Moyo Island

It is because of this relationship of mutual understanding and benefit that guests can be assured they are contributing to environmental solutions rather than creating problems by visiting. The wildlife that inhabits this lush island includes the native deer, lovely macaque monkeys and magnificent sea eagles.

The Amanwana also cultivates its own organic gardens where herbs, fruits and vegetables. The home-grown produce contribute to the delightful meals served on the private veranda or in open air dining room. The dining room has a huge open coconut grill set centre stage. The chef creates mouth watering offerings from a variety of cuisines that includes the best in Asian flavours. This is a particular favourite when dining at night under a carpet of stars, especially when accompanied by one of the excellent wines from the wine cellar.

Peek at clown fish and anemone in their natural hbitat.

Relaxation is made complete by the therapeutic touch of the Amanwana spa therapists and after a day of nature-based activity there is nothing more enjoyable than to submit to their care. The resort supplies guests with everything they need for comfort and relaxation in 'tents' the likes of which are rarely seen. Magnificent structures of 58 square metres with solid foundations that have expansive waterproofed roofing and interior walls. The neutral colours of the wooden floors, elegant furnishings and modern well equipped bathrooms allow the impact of the luscious jungle to be fully realised from within the spaciousness of your room and fully explored from without.

The shade of tamarind trees shelter the spa and the gentle whisper of the nearby shore create an ambience that encourages the mind to let go and become balanced.

Every island has its secrets and surprises and Moyo is no exception, the ultimate in romantic escapes lies on a deserted beach. Known as Honeymoon Beach for obvious reasons this secluded slice of golden sand paradise is reached by boat, and guests, on disembarking are left to their own devices amidst the gifts of nature and the gifts of the Amanwana as picnic hampers, lounges and chilled champagne miraculously await.

Lawrence Blair, a renowned explorer and documentary film maker is spending a week at the Amanwana Resort from October 12th. He will be showing his award winning documetaries and talking about the wonderful, exotic and unusual flora and fauna that can be found in the richly diverse archipelago of Indonesia.

Blair, a captivating speaker, will show his documentaries of marvelous images of life in the deepest jungles, and on the edges of vast volcanic craters, to hear him speak of his explorations and adventures, to listen to him share his views on the living planet is enriching and inspiring.

Guests are recommended to spend at least five days on the island to take advantage of all it has to offer. Most often geusts spend longer in order to make journeys into East Nusa Tenggarra on an Amanwana Komodo Expedition to discover the habitat of the ancient Komodo Dragon and the charm of the uninhabited islands that dot the crystal calm seas of the archipelago.

Photography courtesy of The Aman Resorts.

Getting there

A Komodo Dragon on the prowl.

A Komodo Dragon on the prowl.

To reach Moyo Island, guests could either take the Sumbawa Island route or via Bali. Bali, the international gateway into South East Asia, is most accessible with daily flights from most major cities in Asia and Australia. Travellers from the United States or Europe commonly fly to Singapore or Hong Kong and then into Bali. From Bali, take a domestic flight to Moyo Island at the Denpasar airport in a turboprop jet engine floatplane (US$400 nett per head per trip). Chartered flights costs US$3,500 (one-way cost, including taxes).

Guests arrive in the bay directly in front of Amanwana, weather permitting. Scheduled flights are available three times a week between May and October and over the Christmas holidays. Flying time is approximately one hour. Guests need to check-in only ¾ hour before the flight. The eight-seater Cessna Caravan amphibian floatplane has a strict baggage allowance of 15kg per person. Flights are subject to availability and rates quoted are subject to change without notice.

Or guests could reach Moyo Island via Sumbawa. The island is 15 kilometres off the coast of Sumbawa Island. Take a flight with Trans Nusa which operates a 52-seater plane from Bali to Sumbawa with a short stop-over in Lombok. Daily flights are available year-round. Guests are picked up from Sumbawa airport and transferred to Amanwana by a leisurely cruise. Total transfer time is three hours for US$150 nett per person each way.

A third option is a helicopter ride (one-way transfer for US$6,000 nett). A helicopter landing area near the camp allows for direct access to Amanwana from Bali and helicopter pads are conveniently located close to the Bali resorts Amanusa, Amandari and Amankila. Bali Helicopters operates a Bell 206B Jetranger that accommodates two passengers with a maximum payload (passengers plus baggage) of 190kg.

Amanwana Resort, Moyo Island, West Sumbawa Regency P.O Box 33,Sumbawa Besar 84310 Indonesia

Tel: + 62 371 22233