Sea kayaking is without a doubt the best way to explore the Raja Ampat archipelago. Gliding silently among these spectacular islands without the noise and fume of outboard engines is to experience nature at its wild and beautiful best in what has to be the world’s greatest sea kayaking destination.
There’s currently only two options:
- Go with Kayak4conservation – a community-based tourism venture that can provide everything you’ll need.
- Bring your own kayak.
Raja Ampat’s maze of islets, peninsulas, bays and inlets provides kayaking opportunities for all skill and fitness levels. The calm, enclosed waters of Gam Bay are a safe environment for a first time paddle while affording plenty to explore. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a challenge, try working your way along Gam’s southern coast against the running tide!
Bringing your own kayak
Indonesian import duties make bringing your own kayak to Raja Ampat ridiculously expensive. The tariff also has the effect of making good sea kayaks virtually impossible to buy in the country. If you want to bring your own kayak, make it a foldable – then, if customs ask, just tell them it’s a tent!
Based on the island of Waigeo, next to the village of Saporkren, the Kayak4conservation project was founded by the Raja Ampat Research and Conservation Centre (RARCC) directed by expatriate Max Ammer, and is managed by Tertius and Jasmine Kammeyer. K4C works together with local communities to support sustainable eco-tourism and community development projects in an effort to help protect and conserve the natural marine wonders of the Raja Ampat National Park.
The K4C team has circumvented Indonesia’s crazy tariffs by building their own kayaks, and work with local accommodation owners to provide a chain of guesthouses placed to take advantage of the best routes for kayaking in Raja Ampat. A not-for-profit venture, Kayak4Conservation provides support and advice to the local people who are establishing the guesthouses and who are working to guide the kayak trips.
Working with the project from its inception was another expatriate and longtime resident of Indonesia, Halim. An accomplished kayaker, Halim was keen to add Raja Ampat to the list of amazing Indonesian kayaking expeditions he had already undertaken and jumped at the chance to be one of the first to paddle out from Kri. Guided by Paulus Sauyai, Halim and paddling partner Sweena headed for the Kabui Passage and eventually decided to make a complete circumnavigation of Pulau Gam. You can see some great photos and read about this first Raja Ampat kayak expedition at Halim’s Playak page.
Raja Ampat sea kayaking trip information
- Kayak4conservation offers a number of scheduled trips of varying lengths.
- Maximum group size is six people.
- Both single and double sea kayaks are available.
- Accommodation is local homestay style.
- Camping gear is available for hire for tours in areas not serviced by homestays.
The kayaks: In 2012 Kayak4conservation’s desire to supply top quality boats for kayakers was given a huge boost by Arthur and Tracey Fincham from Kaskazi Kayaks. Kaskazi donated moulds for their Skua sea kayaks and Arthur and Tracey visited to train the K4C Papuan fiberglass team to build the boats at the RARCC.