Wild Women Expeditions (WWE) will host five departures in 2019 for women-only to the Indonesian Archipelago to explore international efforts to preserve the critically endangered Bornean orangutan.
The 14-day itinerary, Untamed Indonesia, delves into one of the world’s oldest (140 million years) rainforests located on the world’s third largest island, Borneo. This is the traditional home of a great ape native to Asia and whose numbers are dwindling apace with habitat slashed and burned for paper pulp and to clear land for palm oil production.
Departures in 2019 are April 4-17, May 2-15, June 20-July 3, Oct. 3-16 and Oct. 31-Nov. 13. Included in the $4,995 per person rate are transportation throughout the trip including all domestic flights and vehicles; 13 nights shared accommodation; services of a female trip leader; all meals; all equipment for activities including snorkeling, kayaking, biking; tips for drivers, restaurant staff and local nature guides; optional single room upgrade at $1,295. See: https://wildwomenexpeditions.com/trips/indonesia/.
“Indonesia is home to one of the last habitats for orangutans and time is running out to save them from extinction. Our tour will bring awareness to the need to protect endangered species and help fund local conservation programs to rescue and rehabilitate orangutans in Borneo,” said Jennifer Haddow, owner of Wild Women Expeditions, pioneer of worldwide women-only travel.
The island of Borneo is politically three countries: Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia, the latter representing 73 percent of the island and where this adventure concentrates over three days before moving on to other Indonesian islands including Flores, home of the endangered Komodo Dragon, and finally, Bali.
Guests meet in Jakarta for a flight to Palangkaraya, the capital of the Indonesian section of Borneo. Here begins an immersion into the wild, along with snatches of village culture that reveal customs (“dayak sandungs” or burial boxes), food, handicrafts (rattan weavers), homes (stilted and floating houses) and history. Accommodation for three nights is on a houseboat.
Guests paddle long wooden canoes into the Bornean freshwater swamp, home to proboscis monkeys, hornbills, Brahmini kites and orangutans. Enroute they visit a site where the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation makes it possible for orangutans birthed in captivity, rescued or domesticated to be resocialized into the wild.
The group will visit the orangutans in their protected island “forest school”, where they are supported to be rehabilitated and released back into the wild, staffed by local women who act as “babysitters” for the often orphaned orangutans, a program that WWE supports financially.
The tour will continue onto Flores Island, inhabited by some 2,000 of the Earth’s largest lizard (3m long, 65kg), the dinosaur-like Komodo dragon that can run 13 miles an hour and swim from island to island. Here a three-night cruise and hikes reveal Komodos that eat birds, invertebrates and mammals. Here, too, are wild boar, deer and buffalo, plus cockatoos, gosong birds and giant pigeons. The cruise visits an island with a mangrove forest, home of nesting bats that at dusk do fly-overs in search of fruits. On another island stop, snorkelers share the waters with giant manta rays.
Moving attention from creatures in the wild to the Wild Women themselves, Bali adds a spiritual and human lens to this adventure as visitors don sarongs for a village meet-up with a Balinese healer called ‘Balian’ who lives at a temple and practices traditional medicine. In another village, a Balinese family prepares traditional dishes for their guests. The head of this family is Eka, the Wild Women representative for Indonesia. Later comes a walk through the moonscape of an active volcano that from 1963 to 1999 erupted more than 12 times. The guide prepares a meal heated in one of the “volcano ovens” created from steam vents that will pressure-cook a meal. On a cooler note, the floating Hindo Shivaite water temple, Ulun Danu, emerges from the mists of the 17th century after guests paddle traditional outrigger canoes across a lake.
While trekking through an ancient rainforest, an expert explains the uses of traditional herbal medicines gleaned from the forest. Bicycling through the rice paddies of Ubud is a reminder of scenes from the movie Eat, Pray, Love. The organic restaurant in the middle of a paddy becomes a lunch stop. Jati Village is the last stop on what’s known as the “Island of God” with time enough for a dip in a secluded river pool, a farewell BBQ and a Balinese dance performance before catching flights from Denpasar Airport.
Wild Women Expeditions (https://wildwomenexpeditions.com/) offers more globe-spanning, active- travel departures for women than any other tour operator in the world.
About Wild Women Expeditions
Founded in 1991, Wild Women Expeditions is the world’s largest women-only travel company. Its initial focus was on canoeing on remote Ontario waters. Through an unwavering focus on Canada, one of the wildest, most pristine countries in the world, Wild Women Expeditions became experts in a pioneering niche that introduced small groups of women into wilderness settings. The company now hosts guests all over the world, offering more trips and more women-only, backcountry camping, hiking, paddling and horseback adventures than any other women’s travel company in the world.