A few dozen kilometers west of Ende on the island of Flores in Indonesia lies Blue Stone Beach. It’s named after the beautiful blue stones that wash up on the shore. Apparently it used to be covered in them and locals have gradually taken them away (presumably to sell) – but there are still plenty lying around on the black volcanic sand.
Tsitsikamma National Park lies just east of Plettenberg Bay, and is most famous for the Otter Trail, a multi-day trail 44km long which follows the coastline. We only had half a day, so did the Waterfall Trail, which is actually the first few km of the Otter Trail and leads to a waterfall (the name kind of gave that one away!) There wasn’t much water flowing when we got there, but it’s a beautiful hike (and relatively challenging) with stunning coastal views along the way.
Boats… not exactly a love affair of mine. I have a few too many stories involving uncomfortable or dangerous ferries, large waves, and, well, vomiting! This one wasn’t all that different! I took a boat from Knysna on the coast of South Africa; the harbor is in a very calm lagoon, with only a narrow passage out to the open water (known as the Knysna Heads). As soon as we got out – big swell accompanied by the usual nausea!
But it was worth it – we saw seals, an African penguin, plenty of bird life, and a pod of bottlenose dolphins feeding in the waves just off the beach nearby. It was difficult to take pictures with the big waves, but I managed to get the timing and framing just right with this one.
A short boat ride from the island of Lombok, lie the three Gili Islands – Meno, Air and Trawangan. We spent a couple of days on Gili Trawangan snorkeling with wild sea turtles and enjoying life on a “secluded island” – in the end Trawangan is the biggest party island of all three, so it’s not at all secluded, but with no motorized transport of any kind it still has a unique atmosphere!
From Gili Trawangan you get a fantastic view of Lombok, including it’s highest peak, the volcano Mount Rinjani. I got up one morning to watch the sunrise; from where I was the sun came up just next to Mount Rinjani. As it came above the horizon, it bathed the landscape in a beautiful golden color.
Tucked between Komodo island and Rinca island in Komodo National Park, Padar island is one of the common stops on a day trip to the National Park. And for one very good reason – the view from the top is INCREDIBLE. There are three bays, separated by a narrow piece of land; each bay has a different sand color. It’s a very hot hike to the top (about 45 minutes) but well worth the heat and sweat.
This panorama is a composite of 3 vertical shots, stitched together using Hugin panorama software.
Lovćen National Park sits high above the bay of Kotor; the road from Kotor up to the top is a narrow road with more than 25 hairpin turns – each one offering a more spectacular view than the one before. At the top, you can see across the fjord that forms the bay, with Kotor nestled under the trees at the end of the bay.