Timor-Leste lies off the northern coast of Australia, at the eastern end of the Indonesian archipelago. It comprises of the eastern half of the island of Timor, the small islands of Ataúro and Jaco, and an enclave on the north-west side of the island called Oecussi.The landscape is extremely rugged with a mountainous backbone rising to over 2,000m. Even the highest peaks have marine fossils and the forested ranges are riddled with caves.
The country feels untamed with a wild natural beauty. In many places it seems untouched. Lying climatically in the dry tropics, vegetation varies widely from the damp lower lying southern plains to the moist and much cooler mountain country and then to the dry north coast. As a result of the differing micro-climates the vegetation changes quickly as you travel around Timor-Leste – dry open savannah vegetation to dense forest cover. Between the beaches and headlands, clumps of mangroves dot the coastlines, providing important fish breeding habitat.
TImor-Leste’s fringing reefs are pristine and have extraordinary diversity. They lie within The Coral Triangle, which is recognised as the global epi-centre of marine biodiversity with regard to coral and fish species. Atauro, a small island lying to the north of Dili, has recently been found to have the most bio-diverse waters in the world in terms of reef fish. Researchers in a recent survey discovered a total of 642 species around the island and saw a maximum of 314 at a single site.
Hot tropical climate with a dry season, May-November, and a wet season, December-April. The temperature on the coast is usually between 25-35ºC and in the mountains at higher elevation it is much cooler
Wearing modest dress is recommended especially in the districts.
Divers and snorkelers are treated to an overwhelming display of reef fish, hard and soft corals and other species from nudibranchs to sea horses, turtles to manta-rays, and if you are lucky dugongs and even whale sharks. Schooling open water fish species such as tuna, bonito and mackerel are also encountered. From vividly coloured coral ‘bommies’ in sheltered waters, to spectacular drop offs, Timor-Leste’s marine life is some of, if not the best on the planet.
26 – 30°C
Whales and dolphins can be spotted year round and especially during the migration season, October to December.
Best Diving – May-November
Little explored thriving reefs.
Regarded as a global hotspot for whales and dolphins due to their abundance, diversity and sheer density of numbers.
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