Amanwana, Moyo Island, Indonesia
Amanwana was one of the first and most elegant eco tented reserves in South East Asia. Hidden away in a cove on the small, pristine Moyo Island, fifteen kilometres from Sumbawa, this is a nature lover’s paradise. Twenty luxurious hardwood floored tents are sprawled through the trees where this hideaway is hidden between the tropical forest and the crystal sea. This is the only property on the 350 square kilometre island, of which 12,000 hectares is protected by Aman, spanning savannah to jungle, and immersed in this natural environment teeming with monkeys, wild boar, deer, ox, eagles and ospreys.
This is the perfect hideaway for those who love privacy and comfort to enjoy nature. Treks into the jungle can be arranged to visit mystical waterfalls and bathe in plunge pools hidden amongst fig trees and meandering paths filled with torch – ginger blooms and hanging vines. For those who are more attracted to the sub aqua species, the house reef is awash with flamboyant fish species, sponges and Gorgonion Fans. It is perfect for divers and snorkelers, or take an adventure on Amanikan, the customised 32 – metre wooden boat. It is one of several boats available for excursions around the surrounding seas.The tents are either dotted amongst the trees or oceanfront with the sound of the waves filtering through. Relax on the large cream sofas and fill your albums with memories or escape within a book whilst savouring the silence.
Spacious and sumptuous tents offer you the ultimate sustainable retreat within this beautiful natural environment. Sophisticatedly decorated in neutral hues throughout, they are furnished with king sized beds, divans, desks and large bathrooms to unwind after a day of exploration. Elements of traditional Indonesian design and artworks add touches of colour and history to these magnificent tents that defined glamorous camping before the word ‘glamping’ was coined.
In keeping with the Aman ethos this feels like a private retreat with guests being able to enjoy wander about the property and use it as their own. The style is eco chic and understated whether you are in the open air dining room, the cushion covered chill out music pavilion, take a dip in the freshwater pool or taking a path down to the deck perched over the sea, tanning or enjoying a glass of wine. Amanwana provides privacy and a relaxed haven to unwind away from it all within wilderness. This is the perfect setting to rebalance and if you really need to unwind, head to the Jungle Cove Spa for a massage using natural herbs collected from the island, facials incorporating fresh fruits like papayas or a specialty black body scrub with herbs from the island of Borneo followed by a flower soaked bath.
There are plenty of activities on and around the island for all ages and fitness levels. There are various nature trails around the island that can be explored with or without guides depending on their vicinity to the resort. You can take a gentle stroll to the ominously named Crocodile Head, a jutting piece of land beyond the village, and observe native teak and fig trees, wonderful birdlife and follow the edge of the forest to the sea. For those in search of something a little more strenuous then take a half-day trek with a guide to the Bat Cave, not the Gotham City variety, but the genuine article filled bats, monitor lizards and maybe the odd python luring in the dark. If this sounds a little alarming then maybe whizz off into the jungle in the land rover to swim under the spilling clear waterfall in a natural limestone pool.
Exploring the surrounding ocean could not be more exhilarating with the many boats available for the exclusive use of Amanwana guests. From the sleek Aman XIV that is available for sunsets and romantic picnics on deserted beaches to the custom built seven metre Bugis style wooden boat Aman XXII that is perfect for deep-water fishing and smooth slow sailing over the Flores Sea towards Sumbawa. There are a number of nearby islands that are accessible with one of the Amanwana launches. Nearby Satonda Island is famous for its central volcanic crater and a view of Tambora Volcano, perfect for scenic sunsets.
For diving enthusiasts Indonesia is a dream of underwater marvels and extensive rainbows of fish and coral species. The reefs surrounding Moyo Island are stunning and great for diving and snorkelling even in front of the resort. A day trip on one of the boats can be arranged depending on the size and needs of the party to explore reefs further afield and in other parts of the island. For the ultimate experience you can climb aboard the Amanikan is their 32 metre boat with luxurious fully equipped cabins, crew, fishing and diving facilities for overnight cruises or a few days of discovery amongst neighbouring islands such as Sumbawa, Flores and Komodo National Park.
In keeping with Amanwana’s commitment to the environment the Moyo Conservation Fund was established in 2008 to preserve the pristine forest, incredible reefs and the culture of the surrounding rural communities. Guests contribute through the fund during their stay to run the numerous projects being run by the trust on their 12,000-acre reserve. Conservation is of the upmost importance and they have changed perceptions among the local community towards the protection of some species.
Turtles come and lay their eggs between December and May on the Amanwana beach, and the local villagers would sell the eggs in Sumbawa market, but now Aman pays double for them not to dig up the eggs or to rebury them, slowly introducing conservation concepts of these turtles are better off in the sea than as a food source. This also extends to the local endangered deer species Rusa whose numbers had been reduced by illegal hunting, now Amanwana has created a sanctuary and has deer grazing and breeding here.
Protection of habitats is just as important as the species themselves and this is well recognised by the Moyo Conservation Fund. They employ local villagers from Labuan Aji, both to protect the forest from illegal logging and the reefs from illegal fishing and destruction, by setting up stewardship programmes. These programmes mean the villagers work closely with the Forestry Department to patrol the area within the conservation area. They have also have installed a bio – rock project to help regenerate reefs damaged by dynamite fishing or natural phenomenon such as El Nino.
Community also plays a large part of this fund and one of the main projects was building a school in Labuan Aji, the largest village on Moyo Island. In addition to this they have provided extra teachers in Maths, English and Nature Conservation. This not only is raising the level of education on this island but also ensures the children are learning the importance of conserving the environment early on and are taken on snorkelling trips and jungle treks to actively learn within their natural environment. They also go onto employ as many people from the local village and surrounding islands as possible.
Amanwana is a one of the most elegantly eco sustainable resorts in the world, ensuring peace, privacy and a pristine natural environment of a hidden world within this paradise island. An amazing and perfect getaway in the Eastern Indonesian Archipelago.
For more information & Reservations http://www.amanresorts.com/amanwana/home.aspx
Photos Courtesy of Amanwana and Aman Resorts
Words by Electra Gillies