In the apparent stillness of the Ranthambhore forest, a sudden flash of orange reveals a Bengal tiger roaming among the trees. In the night-quiet jungle of Pamalican Island, at the right moment, an elusive pangolin might be glimpsed as it ventures out in search of ants. On the remote islands of Indonesia, the tiniest flicker of movement can betray the hiding place of a Komodo dragon, lying in wait for its prey. From rare island fauna to resplendent marine ecosystems, Aman destinations offer a personal introduction to the unforgettable wonders of the natural world.
Dive beneath the waves and discover corals and shoals of fish in tropical technicolor or remain ashore for unique encounters with indigenous creatures – many found nowhere else in the world.
Sharks, rays and dolphins
Blacktip reef sharks and blue-spotted stingrays are lure alone to Pamalican Island, which sustains its own extraordinary marine ecosystem, alive with colourful corals, clams and anemones and patrolled by puffer fish and barracuda. The wildlife sanctuary of Tubbataha Reef is rife with bottlenose dolphins, best seen in April and May when they share the waters with majestic eagle rays and, on land, the Delonix regia – ‘the flame tree’ – explodes with scarlet flowers. The most fortunate and patient of guests might glimpse the armour-plated pangolin on its nocturnal ramblings.
Surrounded by tropical rainforest, Amanwella is a gateway into nature, where a medley of orchids grow among the teak and ebony trees. Home to more than 90 animal species, the immediate area is a veritable monkey kingdom, where whooping langurs and families of toque macaques roam the canopies by day, and at night, slender lorises lazily amble through the branches, their huge eyes glinting in the moonlight. A visit to Bundala national park, to view elephants, crocodiles and over 150 species of birds, is complete with a picnic breakfast at the edge of the coastal reserve.
The giants of Komodo
Set sail aboard two-masted phinisi Amandira for a voyage through Indonesia's Nusa Tenggara island chain, one of the last surviving domains of the Komodo dragon, which roams the shores and scrublands. The prehistoric giants are not alone here; the islands of Komodo and Rinca, although seemingly deserted, also nurture buffaloes, boars, monkeys, wild horses and rare birds. The waters around them are some of the world’s most biologically diverse – making for eye-opening diving and snorkelling experiences.
Kingdom of coral
From the small jungle island of Moyo, east of Bali, dive safaris in the protected marine park reveal vast cities of coral, with many structures over a century old, whereas night-time snorkelling expeditions unveil a different side to the reef. Guests are invited to join Aman’s ocean conservationists in creating coral-latching sites, preserving and expanding to this extraordinary undersea garden for generations to come.
Neighbours to nature
From the eagle-circled peaks of Bhutan to the tiger lands of Rajasthan, Aman destinations have been chosen both for the beauty and tranquillity of their location, and the richness of the ecosystems that surround them.
The meadows in the mountains
Hidden among the mountains of southwestern Yunnan is a land of green meadows, where herdsman graze their yak on lush grasses and patches of edelweiss mirror the snow on the mountaintops. The soft spring rains bring the land to life with wildflowers and mushrooms – furnishing the markets of Lijiang Old Town with morels and matsutake. Not far from Amandayan, the Lashi Lake wetlands become the winter home of migratory birds including egrets, wild geese, and the black-necked crane – the sacred bird of Tibetan Buddhism.
A flash of lightning
At the fringes of a national park, nature invariably makes itself felt at Aman-i-Khas. The organic gardens are shared (unwittingly) with foraging wild boar; peacocks wander unfazed among visiting humans, and mongoose skip and frolic across the brushwood. This spring, the camp has a new neighbour – the tigress Lightning who together with her cubs and watchful mate, has made her home close by.
Flower of the Himalayas
Although its inhospitable terrain might suggest otherwise, the mountain kingdom is one of the world’s most biodiverse places, thanks to its wide-ranging altitudes, varied climate and conservational focus. Now as spring approaches, the slopes erupt into colour as a carpet of poppies in red, pink and white turns the Himalayas into the world’s highest-altitude flower show. Catch the unique seasonal spectacle on guided overnight treks between Thimphu and Paro, two of Amankora’s five lodges.
The garden of the grizzly
Every season is a spectacle in the 22-million-acre Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem that surrounds Amangani. As winter shifts into spring, the magnificent bighorn sheep and huge herds of elk leave the valley floor to summer in the mountains, while black and grizzly bears awaken from hibernation and roam the unspoilt wilderness. Late May or early June, when the valley is carpeted with a rainbow of wildflowers, are the best months to glimpse bears and wolves before they shy away from the summer crowds.