A Sobek Signature Series trip with John Yost
New for 2012!
Sulawesi is an explorer’s dream, an island so extensive, so rugged, and so remote that the secrets of its interior have barely been exposed. We probe these hidden treasures on two rivers connected by a revealing drive north through the heart of the island. This adventure far off the beaten tracks is bookended by nights in magical Bali, the romantic heart of Indonesia.
You’ll go with John Yost, co-founder of Sobek Expeditions (merged with Mountain Travel in 1991) and organizer of the Signature Series trips which strive to revive the classic river adventures of Sobek lore. He has dreamed of the sparkling waters of the Sulawesi jungle ever since they were first explored by Sobek in the 1980s. Since our team unveiled these rivers, the Sa’dan has become well-known, but the Lariang far to the north remains a rarely-seen mystery.
Rafting (Class IV-V), touring
- Thrill to the whitewater of the Sa'dan and seldom-run Lariang rivers
- Feast your eyes on remote rainforest, dramatic mountains, and rare and colorful birdlife
- Experience the burial rituals, traditional villages, & giant stone megaliths of the Toraja & Bada peoples
Duration: 14 days Start Location: Den Pasar, Bali End Location: Den Pasar, BaliDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Arrive Denpasar, Bali
Arrive in Denpasar, Indonesia. Orientation and welcome dinner.
Day 2 : Makassar and Toraja
Fly to Makassar and drive north to the mountainous Central Sulawesi, past villages and through picturesque undulating landscape, with a stop for lunch.
Day 3 : Sa'dan River
Hike through the Sa’dan Canyon to the river valley, then travel the Sulawesi by water deep into remote Torajaland, with mountain rising dramatically overhead. We’ll have stretches of calm water punctuated by over 20 rapids on this Class III+ river. Overnight in isolated riverside camp.
Day 4 : Sa'dan River
Raft through majestic ridges and mountains in the southern gorge, alternating between quiet passages and swift rapids. Drive back to Toraja to rest and enjoy dinner.
Day 5 : Toraja
Explore the region’s cultural highlights, visiting traditional Toraja houses and the unique stone graves of Lemo, Marante, and Londa.
Day 6 : Lake Poso
Travel to the less-visited northern parts of the island and Lake Poso. Observe the tropical flora and lush mountain terrain as we cross the island.
Day 7 : Bada Valley
Drive to the village of Bomba, with great opportunities for birding and seeing wildlife along the way, and meet our local river guide, Frankie. Our overnight is a home stay with locals.
Day 8 : Lariang River
Launch on the upper portion of the Lariang River. Stop to visit megaliths—large stone statues left by the Bada people, and camp on the riverbank.
Days 9 - 10 : Lariang River
Our biggest rafting days, on the Lariang River—a solid Class IV (with one Class V)—the wildest river rafted in Indonesia. Float through the preserved jungle of lowland primary rainforest.
Day 11 : Lariang River
A day of leisure in remote jungle wilderness to swim, sunbathe, bird-watch, and take in the sounds and smells of the rainforest.
Day 12 : Lariang River and Palu
Follow the river on its now more modest course to the village of Gimpu. End our rafting portion and drive to Palu on the shores of the Makassar Straits. Farewell dinner.
Day 13 : Flight to Denpasar
Fly to Denpasar. Free day in Bali.
Day 14 : Depart
Departure (flights may also be booked for the night prior).
DATES: Best time to go: April Departures: No group departures scheduled.
Poppies Bali offers twenty thatch-roofed cottages nestled in gardens of hibiscus, scented jasmine, and frangipani. Red brick paths meander past lily ponds, waterfalls, and time-worn stone figures, watched over by the towering palms of an ancient coconut grove.
Toraja Heritage HotelSulawesi
Poised at an altitude of 2,300 feet with views across to a huge mountain range, the Toraja Heritage Hotel follows the architectural style of traditional Torajan clan houses with a massive roof shaped like a ship’s prow. Inside, the resort's comfortable furnishings and traditional Bali architecture allow utter relaxation.
Silae Palu Hotel
The only 4-star hotel in Sulawesi, the Silae Palu Hotel is a sea-front property with modern conveniences. With luxuriously appointed rooms and contemporary furnishings, the calm atmosphere is completed with a large pool surrounded by palm trees.
Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.
Expert leadership is the key to an exciting, unforgettable experience. Our trips feature gifted leaders for whom leading trips is a true vocation. Besides showing you wonders you’d never find on your own, they make sure everything runs smoothly and safely without a hitch. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of your trip, and take great pleasure in sharing their insights with you. More than just guides, they positively elevate your experience by being teachers, companions, and the best of friends. You’ll be in good hands with them every step of the way.
John is the Co-founder of Sobek Expeditions (now Mountain Travel Sobek) which became the largest international rafting company in the world. He has run over 30 international river exploratories, has run all but a couple of rivers Sobek runs or at one time ran commercially, and has boated most of the rivers in the western US. He has been a consultant with international “eco” lodges around the globe and was recently named a member of the board of directors with Friends of the River, a non-profit organization working to protect California rivers. John is known for his culinary skills in the kitchen, and will make his famous Omo Chicken Curry for you on the trip, which was named during the first descent of the Omo River in Ethiopia in 1973.