Archive for October, 2016

A Guide to the Best Beaches on the South Coast of Bali (Including a Map)

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Perfect mix of black & white sand with aquamarine waters on Melasti Beach

Editor’s Note: Anastasia Chernykh, the social media manager for this blog, recently went to Bali and worked remotely for a month. During her time in Indonesia, she took up surfing and made a point to find the best beaches on the south coast of the Bali. I asked her to do this round up of her favorites for the blog. – Jen

When you go to a tropical island in the middle of the Indian ocean like Bali, you expect to find a lot of beaches. The choice can be overwhelming. The Southern coast of Bali has a wide array of different kinds of beaches. You can take your pick from smooth and wide sandy beaches perfect for sunbathing, to rocky coastal shores and coral reefs.

Here is the selection of my favorites.

Dreamland Beach

Dreamland beach is a popular surf spot. This is not a good choice for swimming. Coral along coast and strong breaks in the surf make it almost impossible to go in the water without a surfboard.

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Abandoned construction near Dreamland beach

You’ll spot numerous surfers waiting on a line up to catch their perfect wave. There is surfboard rental on site, and surf lessons also available for an additional fee.

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Sunset surf at Dreamland

Jimbaran Beach

One of the two beaches of Bukit Peninsula (the other one is Nusa Dua), Jimbaran is perfect for swimming, walking, running, and it is easily accessible by car or bike. With almost no waves, even during high tide, Jimbaran is a perfect place for families on vacation or a lazy day of sunbathing.

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Smooth and shallow Jimbaran beach is a great place for kids

Like seafood? The fish restaurants and markets along Jimbaran beach are the best in Bali. If you’re having a dinner at one of the places near the northern end of the beach, you’ll get the best sunset views:)

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Fishermen boats at sunset in Jimbaran bay

Nusa Dua Beach

The first thing you notice about Nusa Dua is how empty it is. The area is known for its luxury hotels, but the beach is open to the public. You don’t have to be a guest at one of the resorts to enjoy the golden sand, clean water and relative solitude for free, making Nusa Dua beach a budget luxury.

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You can have it all by yourself!

There is one spot in Nusa Dua called Water Blow, water comes there through a narrow opening, and then blows up, when the waves keep coming.

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Waves crashing at Waterblow

Pantai Pendawa

Pendawa has a few downsides. This is one of the few beaches in Southern Bali you have to pay for. The fee is 14K rupiahs (about $1USD) per person and should be paid upon entering the road to the beach. During a high tide, Pendawa is not advisable to swimming, but we spotted several surfers and kayaks there.

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Picturesque road to Pendawa Beach

Pendawa used to be a lesser known spot favored by locals, but since the new road was built it has became more popular with tourists.

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View from one of the Pendawa caves

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Surfing at Pendawa

Pantai Melasti

When we went to Bali we thought Melasti beach would be our secret spot. But we soon discovered that this beach is everyone’s secret spot, although it is still favored mostly by locals. There is a lot of coral, so it can be hard to your feet. But once you go into the water, but you can still enjoy the sand and the view.

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A view of Melasti Beach from a nearest hilltop

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The lines of black sand on Melasti

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Nyang-Nyang

We were warned this would be one of the hardest beaches to get to. Locals told us there would be “more than 500 steps down.” This is not exactly the case. But getting to Nyang-Nyang beach did involve a steep hike through the woods, complete with monkeys and spiders. The effort pays off when you arrive at the wonderful white strand of sand, where the sunset view is the most incredible on the whole island.

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Because of the hard to get to location, the people you’ll find at Nyang-Nyang are those who are not daunted by the steep hike. We saw a few photographers and campers, and a small group of Chinese students.

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East side of the sky at the sunset time

Nyang-nyang is located at the most southern tip of the Bukit, so the sun is setting on your right side, and the left side of the sky can burst with incredible colors.

Added Bonus– there is an old wooden shipwreck right on the beach, which makes a great spot for photography!

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Perfect sunset on Nyang-Nyang beach

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The Coolest Pool in Africa? Quite Possibly at the Four Seasons Safari Lodge, Tanzania

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Swim up bar… for elephants

Hotel pools are a huge draw for guests. #PoolPorn is a real thing. There are pools with lazy rivers and water slides for children. There are pools that overlook dramatic scenery. Some have swim-up bars. But the infinity pool at the Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti in Tanzania might be the most amazing hotel pool I’ve ever seen. Because it features swim-up bar for elephants and zebras instead of the human guests.

Time lapse of the watering hole at the Four Seasons Safari Lodge in the Serengeti

The Four Seasons Safari lodge pool overlooks a watering hole which is heavily used by herds of elephants and zebras and other wildlife in the area, much to the delight of guests who can watch the action from their lounge chairs or while in the water.

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The lazy man’s safari– complete with bathrobe at the Four Seasons Safari Lodge

There is separation in elevation so that guests swimming in the pool have a great vantage point but are still at a safe distance from the enormous animals.

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Infinity pool overlooking an elephant at the Four Seasons Safari Lodge

The pool and the surrounding area, including an outdoor restaurant, make for the ultimate lazy person’s safari. Many of the hotel rooms and suites also have views of the watering hole action from their windows or balconies.

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A thirsty herd of elephants headed towards the watering hole

The watering hole action is busiest during the dry season, when water is more scarce in the plains of the Serengeti.

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Zebras and elephants sharing the watering hole

While herds of zebras and elephants would use the watering hole at the same time, they did not mix. The zebras stuck together and so did the elephants.

A fawn non-plussed by the action at the watering hole

Pool porn is a competitive thing in the luxury hotel industry, and the Four Seasons Safari Lodge has gone seriously next level with it’s watering hole next to the pool design.

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A local elephant taking a dip

The watering hole is man made, but is more popular than the natural watering hole on the ground that can only be viewed from a few high end suites.

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Infinity pool + elephants = win

The hotel’s restaurant has seating outside near the pool, so guests can enjoy the view and poolside safari action throughout their stay. The friendly waitstaff has no problem bringing a cocktail to your lounge chair if you’d like to sip on a gin & tonic while watching the wildlife. It’s the ultimate passive safari for a day you need a break from the bumpy roads of Serengeti National Park.

Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti

Central Serengeti, Serengeti National Park,

P.O. Box 14321 Arusha  Tanzania

Lodge Reservations +255 (0) 768 982 101/2

Front Desk +255 768 981 981

Reservations Manager +255 (0) 768 982 100

 

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Scenes from a Day Trip to the Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area, Tanzania

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An elephant in the Ngorogoro Conservation area

During my stay at the Four Seasons Safari Lodge in the Serengeti, the staff arranged for me to take a full day trip to the Ngorogoro Crater Conservation area. The Ngorogoro is one of Tanzania’s great treasures, and a stunning place to see unique landscape and wildlife.

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Red earth, white clouds, and saline lakes in the Ngorogoro Crater

The Ngorogoro Crater Conservation Area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The crater is the centerpiece for the area. It’s the world’s largest inactive, intact, and unfilled volcanic caldera. So the landscape is rather unique.

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Grey Crowned Crane

The Ngorogoro Crater is stark and beautiful, with the vast landscape dotted with wildlife. While I do not consider myself much of a birdwatcher, the birds in the area are stunning. During certain times of the year, flocks of flamingos are present in the saline lakes.

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Rocky roads leading into salt flats and canyons of the Ngorogoro

The Ngorogoro Crater Conservation area is large, and it was a long (and bumpy) three hour drive from the Serengeti Lodge. I found the area interesting enough that I wish I had more time there. On my next trip to Tanzania I hope to stay in the area longer to learn more about it and see more of the interesting and unique ecosystem.

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Zebra were plentiful on the grasslands of the Ngorogoro Crater

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Zebra feeding on the grasslands

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Hippos in a lake in the Ngorogoro Crater Conservation Area

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Much cleaner Hippos than in the muddy hippo pools of the Serengeti

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Kori Bustard, the largest flying bird native to Africa

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Ostrich in the Ngorogoro grasslands

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Wildebeest

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Wildebeest in the Ngorogoro Crater

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Ponds and trees in the Ngorgorgo Crater

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Superb starling

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Hyena walking 

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Giraffe in the Ngorgoro Crater Conservation Area, Tanzania

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Masked Weaver

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The Ngorogoro’s oddly beautiful landscape

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Giraffe in the bushes

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Obligatory “tourists taking a selfie” pic in the Ngorogoro Conservation area

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Stark landscape + Giraffes in the Ngorogoro Crater Conservation Area

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