Although Bali is widely considered the International gateway to Indonesia with millions of tourists making their pilgrimage to the Island of the Gods every year, there are over 17,000 islands within the country’s vast archipelago – by far the largest and most varied on earth – waiting to be explored.
Situated east of Bali approximately fifteen kilometers off the coast of Sumbawa, Moyo Island is the ideal home base from which to explore what international experts have acknowledged as among the best underwater sites in the world. Home to Amanresort’s private wilderness hideaway, Amanwana is the only resort on the island, basking in an established nature and marine reserve surrounded by the turquoise waters and untouched reefs of the Flores Sea. Enormous sea fans line the coral walls and the variety and abundance of fish are outstanding. The shallow water reef areas are a snorkeler’s delight, a sun dappled playground teeming with brightly colored fishes. With an extremely rich marine life, Flores is a real paradise for all divers, underwater photographers and for anyone with an interest in marine biology.
Completely different from the villa lifestyle found on Bali, Amanwana is designed in a luxury camp aesthetic featuring 20 five-star ‘ African safari with a tropical twist ’ tents set under a canopy of forest. Don’t be fooled by the word ‘tent’ though as each 58-square-metre accommodation is constructed on a solid foundation from which rise wooden walls with large picture windows. Coral stone surrounds the hard wood deck with views of the ocean or jungle. Inside, air-conditioned spaces feature Indonesian island artwork, hard wood flooring, a spacious sitting area with facing divans, a king-size bed, writing desk and large ensuite. Sand paths link the tents to one another and lead to the beach, where water enthusiasts will find heaven.
Known as the ‘ Boardwalk ’, you’ll find an oceanfront fresh water dipping pool set against a wall of coral rock with sun loungers and shade umbrellas. Nearby, a thatched-roof bale is home to plenty of snorkeling equipment as well as access to windsurfers and kayaks. Both beginners and experienced divers can create customised PADI certified course plans and dive itineraries to explore the marine reserve right in front of the resort as well as several spots nearby within the underwater nature mecca.
Turtle lovers will adore ‘ Turtle Street ’, where a reef ledge drops away to a sandy slope. Hawksbill and green turtles frequent the area, along with moray eels, lobsters and black-and white-tip reef sharks. The ‘ Sea Fan ’ is a deep wall with little current covered in coral and home to stonefish, lionfish and nudibranchs. Manta rays and whale sharks occasionally cruise past as well. Amanwana’s beach boys are more than happy to take guests on guided tours of the local reefs and to make it a bit more exciting, guided night snorkeling is also offered for the adventurous at heart.
Amanwana’s fleet team maintains a number of boats for cruising, fishing and diving. Choose your vessel and explore nearby coral coves and beaches ideal for shell collecting, beachcombing, snorkeling and sunbathing. Cruise to the islands of Medang and Satonda or head south into Saleh Bay, a fascinating inland sea. The star of the fleet is the custom-built, 32-metre ‘Amanikan’ – a coastal cruiser featuring three above-deck cabins, a foredeck with bar for outdoor dining, and extensive dive facilities. Amanikan’s principal lounge space is built into the bow of the cruiser and serves as the main gathering spot for daytime sunbathing, pre-dinner drinks, or even a night sleeping under the stars.