With so many choices out there, what makes us different? Why do we stand out? Why do people love our trips? and the destinations and operators that we hand-pick? Just read what people have had to say...
2009 / 2010 GUEST COMMENTS
"Claudia and Leon A HUGE thank-you to both of you for everything you assisted with! From planning and booking this trip with us, to sorting us out with advice, equipment and even couriering me much needed swimsuit when mine blew off the balcony!!You guys are great!! This trip was truly amazing, worth the months of waiting and planning. Overall things went smoothly and with no fuss. Diving was incredible as expected! Thanks for the excellent arrangements, everything went very well and we had an amazing time!" Tjaart, Cronje, Ursula, Scruff & Willem, SA Sept 2010
"Dear Claudia and Leon, Many thanks for an unbelievable week. Your aim-to-please attitude and can-do approach to guest service is quite refreshing. You both took it to new heights. We got all of the eat, sleep, dive till you drop, while treated to truly beautiful surroundings and outstanding service. But most of all we were blown away by the service and smiles. You welcomed us like family to your corner of paradise and catered to all our needs. We look forward to our return. Helena and Sam (China / USA)”
"Claudia, Leon Thank-you for a wonderful diving holiday. This place is truly paradise. It feels as if you have welcomed me into your home. You make this place very special. Maurice (France)”
"I have never felt so 'at home' anywhere else in the world, as here with you." Irene (Holland)
"It is impossible to describe in words the true reality of this place, the resort, beautiful setting, excellent food and the best of it, your friendliness and interest in making our stay the most unforgettable one. To Leon for all his enthusiasm and eagerness to please us in every possible way, and specially, very specially, to Claudia for her love of her art and the dedication she made to made it available to me, in a very joyful way! Fernando and Claudi “ (Paraguay/Colombia)
"Merci! We depart with big smiles, full tummies, happy hearts and immense gratitude. Leon and Claudia are a unique and perfectly matched team who provide a fantastic warmth and authentic generosity from the moment the guest arrives. Every detail is anticipated with customised care and perceptive awareness of the essence of the recipe that promotes relaxation. " Nancy and Alan (USA)
"It has been a fantastic week, I can't imagine a better diving destination, a more highly efficient team than Claudia and Leon, friendly staff and a more beautiful resort in the middle of paradise. I have a feeling that this will not be my only entry into your guestbook." Jacob (USA)
"We feel we have dived and gone to heaven! We plan to return, and next time for two weeks!! Thanks Claudia and Leon, you have been so welcoming, friendly and helpful to us. I can't imagine a more perfect dive destination, or a more perfect dive resort. " Pat (USA)
"Claudia was a major help in getting me great photos – having the imaging expertise available on site, right here, is one of a kind, and I’ll be back" Michael (USA)
" Claudia, Leon and all the staff, we had the best time here - once again! We so enjoyed meeting Claudia and Leon this time round. They are such an asset to the whole operation. We look forward to seeing you all again next year!” Curtis, Linda, Jordyn and Taylor (USA)
Thanks for the warm atmosphere, especially to Claudia and Leon. See you again!" Heidi, Karl, Lisa and Lars (GERMANY)
" Paradise! Thanks for a fantastic week!! A special thanks to Claudia and Leon for making us feel like part of the family. Diving here is probably the best in the world! Food is excellent, we will miss you and we hope to return!" Lucia and Francesco (SPAIN)
" Thank-you both for a good time - a great time! Claudia and Leon - the both of you really helped the experience, Raja Ampat is lucky to have you guys!" Gary (CANADA)
" Leon and Claudia, You run an absolutely fabulous operation. We really loved being here the last few weeks. Great dives, and certainly big laughs with the two of you. The highest level of hospitality possible in a perfect tropical scenery. Who could ask for more?" Frank (HOLLAND)
"Dear Claudia and Leon Thanks for taking such good care of us, we got spoilt! Thanks for the fun we had and last but not least, the great tips and advice on photography. I learned a lot! We hope to return and see you again some day" Germaine (HOLLAND)
Hi Claudia & Leon, “I really had a great time, thank you for being excellent hosts! Take Care, Wim (BELGIUM)
Dear Claudia and Leon, “Thanks for a great vacation and the ‘VIP” treatment. “ Deron (SA)
“Hi Claudia and Leon What a trip! We both had an absolutely fantastic time. Thank you very much for all your efforts to make our stay so special, we really felt spoilt. I have already found Oli on more than one occasion sitting at the computer at watching your Youtube videos with longing. We will definitely be back.” Lisa and Oli (SA)
“Hi Claudia and Leon Wish we were still there with you!! Thanks to both of you for your wonderful hospitality and treating us like family – it was truly a memorable trip for us, mostly because of our time with the two of you.” Phil and Brenda (USA)
We had a very good time in the Raja Ampat. Diving was again very impressive and as good as in any way possible. We noticed since the last time, the many many positive changes. Well done Claudia and Leon! You were also wonderful hosts and made our stay as pleasant as possible. Ernst + Elisabeth (AUSTRIA)
“Dear Claudia and Leon, Thanks again to you and your well-trained staff for an unforgettable holiday in the Raja Ampat. We could not complain about anything during our stay, and due to your expertise, we gained a lot of experience in diving.” Anne and Didier (BELGIUM)
“Dear Claudia and Leon, We had a really fantastic time, and that was in no small part due to your and Leon’s hospitality and assistance with everything that you guys did for us. We also enjoyed your company at the resort and on the dives. Should we return it would be simply due to both you and Claudia Leon as well as the amazing diving. At the end of the day it is the people that make the place and that is why we would be returning. You and Leon made our trip memorable. There are a lot of ways to visit Raja Ampat, we would love to meet up with you again. Phil and Brenda (USA)
GILA! GILA! ('crazy' in bahasa Indonesia) This trip was absolutely GILA! :) Thanx Claudia and Leon for everything and for bringing us to this amazing place. It was truly amazing, and all your hard work and planning did not go unnoticed. Will definitely be back to the Raja Ampat!! Cronje JUN 2008
Thank-you for a very special trip. Diving, surroundings & all the special touches made for a truly amazing adventure! Travelling with Claudia and Leon is a pleasure. Raja Rocks! Deborah JUN 2008
Magical place! Thanks for introducing it to us! It's great spending time again. We're so happy that Bittenbysharks is doing so sweet - much continued success! Francesca & James JUN 2008
Very nice!! Enjoyed all the corals, fishes. The Papuan people are great!! Tjaart JUN 2008
Great diving & adventure! Stunning reefs. Delivers all that was promised. Great photographic opportunities. Thanks! Deron JUN 2008
Most unbelievable diving, every dive something different. The passage was one of those exceptional dives that will be difficult to beat. Ian JUN 2008
Ek wou altyd na Raja Ampat toe gaan vandat ek die eerste maal deearvan gehoor het. Balie dankie dat julle dit moontlik gemaak het! Ek het nie genoeg woorde om als te beskryf nie. Dir oord en staff se rustigheid het n blywende indruk gemaak. Beter duike sal moeilik wees om elders to vind. Die duik met die sterk stroom, n reefhook en die barracudas, sal my altyd by bly. En dan die Mantas!! n 'soul enriching moment'. Paul Coelho se: "If you look at a fish in the sea, you will keep it forever. because it is part of the evening, the earth and the clouds on the horizon"... Baie dankie, Jully is fantastiese "gidse" gewees! Johan JUN 2008
On behalf of Paul, Daniel and myself, once again, thank-you for a great holiday & for all your advice! Mark JUN 2008
You guys make an awesome team. I wish we could 'copy & paste' the Raja Ampat closer to home. From pontoh pygmies to mantas - RA has it all! Thanks for the little touches... Telita NOV 2008
It has truly been an amazing experience!! Thank-you for being the great team you two are together. We fell in love with this place. A piece of my heart is staying behind. This is what life is all about!! Oh and from now on I can say: 'currents- bring it ON!!!!' Love Chris & Mads NOV 2008
This is by far the best organised trip I've ever been on. Thanx is not enough, I lost my heart in the Raja Ampat.You are the best team and you are stuck with me! Be good...Be safe...I love u 2. Tina NOV 2008
Great holiday. Loved the divesite "Sardines" -Fish! Fish! Fish! Diving amazing & island like paradise. Had a great time. Sarah DEC 2008
A wonderful trip - we will definitely be back! Thanks Claudia & Leon Dennis and Sally DEC 2008
Wonderful time with corals and fish and great company. Good tips from Claudia both above and below H2O to try an improve our photos. Kathy & Peter DEC 2008
Best energy I have ever felt diving - wonderful - 3 dives/day. Thanks for the help in saving my strobe & all the help & advice - no need to dress, can live in a mess - relax and be yourself. Cheers, Carol DEC 2008
'Manta'ficent. What an adventure! Calm seas, amazing corals, sweet seahorses - what can I say? Raja must be the creme of the crop. Thank-you Bittenbysharks! Redmond DEC 2008
The masses of beautiful islands are amazing. I really enjoyed "5-rocks" wonderful gullies, tunnels etc. The resort is wonderful & the staff all friendly - a really homely place! Chris DEC 2008
Stunning resort on an amazing island. We really enjoyed the Eco-feel of the resort. The corals and sea conditions were great. Mantas were the highlight of the trip. Charles DEC 2008
Thank-you for a very special trip - Diving, surroundings & all the special touches made for a truly amazing adventure! Raja rocks! Deborah DEC 2008
What a team you two make!! Thank-you for the superb organisation - before & during our trip, your care and professionalism is unsurpassed! Thanks! And as a 'learner' photographer my advice to anyone in the same position - "TAP THAT POWERHOUSE OF KNOWLEDGE - powerhouse's name being CLAUDIA!" Thank-you for the pearls of wisdom you are prepared to share so openly!! My learning curve has been a magic carpet ride! Thank-you Claudia! Pat DEC 2008
Hey Claudia & Leon! Thanks for the fantastic trip. We absolutely loved every moment!! The diving is just out of this world, where will we be able to dive now? We will have to be back!! Thanks for all the help with the photos, I think I now understand my wide angle, and my macro has also improved a lot, I think!! Thanks again for the great holiday, it was stunning! We will have to organise another one again!! PS I will try not to jump out of a moving boat anytime soon!! Alina & Paul DEC 2008
Claudia and Leon, Thank-you very much for all the hard work you have put into organising this trip. There were NO hiccough's along the line! The diving and accommodation were great, I hope to go on another trip with you before long. Thank-you for all your hard work you put into making our trip to the Raja Ampat so successfull! John DEC 2008
The meaning of all things bright and beautiful has been made clear to me. This is certainly God's paradise and I have been blessed by being able to catch glimpses of his wonderful world. Thanks for all the arrangements and help in improving capturing images which will be treasured for many years to come this is certainly a destination worth repeating more than a couple of times. With love and thanks, Godfrey DEC 2008
Thanks a million for making me take the "plunge" with a strobe!! It really made the dives more exciting - memories of things I've never seen before. Hope next time we're with you you'll see the improvement. Linda DEC 2008
SODWANA SHOOTOUT RUNNER-UP PRIZE WINNER: DEBRA WESCOTT DEBRA'S RAJA AMPAT DEC 08 TRIP PRIZE WAS SPONSORED BY BITTENBYSHARKS A very big thank-you to both of you for such a wonderful, fantastic, special, memorable, paradise holiday. I am so very grateful to have been the winner of such wonderful prize; I can say that when I won this prize I had absolutely no idea what I had won! The Raja Ampat trip was the best holiday that Michael and I have ever experienced. Thank-you Claudia and Leon for being such fantastic hosts. Both Michael and I are in awe at the amount of knowledge that you have shared with us for our photo & video skills. I know that we will both return to RA as we would LOVE to experience the wonders that it has to offer, again. One cannot even begin to imagine how much more it has to offer. The day trips with Max added the extra sense of adventure that will make this holiday one we will never forget. The BEST holiday ever! The BEST prize ever! I am so grateful to have been the lucky winner! PS The diving was out of this world!! Debs & Mike DEC 2008
2007 GUEST COMMENTS
Thank you so much for a well organised and professional trip to one of the top dive destinations in the world. The diving has been incredible with more species of fish seen on a single dive than I thought possible. The topside beauty of the islands is magnificent with countless photographic opportunities. The resort was rustic but most enjoyable, the food was good. The Passage - what a place! In 50 years of diving, that was my best dive. All in all my best dive trip ever.
Dennis King (Durban, SA) (Author: Marine Guides) Raja Ampat, Dec 2007
Great diving all round. Greatest location on earth. Will be back sometime. Luisa (Johannesburg, SA) Raja Ampat, Dec 2007
A great privilege to dive in such pristine conditions. A once in a lifetime experience. Thanks for being such great hosts for the trip.
Tony (Johannesburg, SA) Raja Ampat, Dec 2007
Thanks for a lovely trip, I just want to pack up and go again! Thanks once again for all your support.
Eva (Johannesburg, SA) Raja Ampat Dec 2007
Thank-you for a great time! Words cannot describe the realisation of one's adventure. Raja Ampat is a pearl in the ocean of dive sites worldwide. Thank-you for a great adventure filled with inspiring moments and several "adrenaline rushes". The resort is any diver's dream destination with a great ambience and impeccable service.
Griselda (Pretoria, SA) Raja Ampat, Dec 2007
Thank-you for a terrific week in Raja Ampat. Very very well organised! Excellent diving! Beautiful resort and environment! Will be back.
Claude (Pretoria, SA) Raja Ampat, Dec 2007
This was a trip we had been planning to do on our own, but you made it so much easier! Raja Ampat certainly rates as our best dive destination yet! Thank-you both for your company and hard work in organising our holiday.
Alan and Loma (Cape Town, SA) Raja Ampat, Dec 2007
I'm sorry I ever came here! I'm sorry I ever came here because nothing will ever be anywhere near like this! It has actually set the standard way up there and it is actually quite sad in a way. It's really so good! The only thing that would make it perfect would be if my daughter were here diving with us. Wow, it's the diversity, the really large numbers of all the families that we know at Sodwana Bay, but here there are probably a hundred times more of each family. The corals and the walls and the thirty degree water, and the beautiful surroundings. It is truly a stunning place, unbeatable anywhere!
Neville & Wendy (Reefteach, Sodwana Bay, SA) Raja Ampat, Nov, 2007
High praise for your kindness and utter professionalism. A wonderful holiday seamlessly organised in difficult places. All I can say is thanks! It was truly the "holiday" of a lifetime.
Linda (Zimbabwe) Raja Ampat, Nov 2007
Baie dankie vir die lekkerste vakansie ooit! Julle het dit uitstekend gereel! Dankie vir Raja Ampat...ek sal verseker weer gaan. Mooi! Mooi! Mooi! Dankie vir all julle ekstra moeite...veral met die tasse. Julle is die beste!
Marcel (Secunda, SA) Raja Ampat, Nov 2007
Dankie vie al die reelings en moeite. Alles was perfek. Raja Ampat is fantasties! Sal beslis weer terug gaan. Het nog nie die helfde gesien wat daar te sien is nie.
Bernard (Secunda, SA) Raja Ampat, Nov 2007
To the shark bait team!
Raja Ampat was superb! The remote location with it's low population density was almost equal to the phenomenal reef and underwater scenery. Your personal presence enabled us to see the jungle from a different angle - something other travellers will never see.Thanks for the smooth arrangements and the enjoyable company.
Jerry and Cecile (Secunda, SA) Raja Ampat, Nov, 2007
Baie dankie vir al jul moeite en reelings om ons aan die 'paradys' bekend te stel. Ons het dit baie geniet om so na aan die natuur te wees...glo dit sal nie die laaste keer wees nie, Raja Ampat is verseker '5 'sterre werd vir duikers!
Jaco en Amanda (Secunda,SA) Raja Ampat, Nov, 2007
Baie dankie vir die reelings wat julle getref het - dit het die vakansie baie vlot laat verloop. Raja Ampat was ongelooflik, met blou been en al!!! Sal die vakansie altyd onthou. Het die vakansie baie geniet!
Olivia and Hannes (Secunda, SA) Raja Ampat, Nov, 2007
Dink julle is fantasties!! Meer as beindruk!! Van die mooiste plekke in die wereld, sal enige iets gee om dit oor te he. Het n leeftyd se ervarings gehad!! Wow dis regtig mooi en speciaal gewees!
Sjoe dit was baie mooi gewees. Ek het regtig nie gedink mens kry sulke plekke nie. Sal dit nog lank onthou. 1ste vliegtuig trip met berskillende vliegtuie. Baie Dankie!
Antoinette & Nanette (Secunda, SA) Raja Ampat, Nov, 2007
Thanks vir n great adventure! Ek is bly daar is nog plekke in die wereld wat nog heeltemal ongerep is, en dit het gevoel soos n voorreg om daar te wees. Ek onthou een ommblik waar ons gaan kyk het na die skedels was in die kante van die eiland gebere is, en dit het amper gevoel of mens 'holy ground' betree. Ek sal nooit die trip vergeet nie, en thnaks dat julle dit moontlik gemaak het. Sal verseker weer wil teruggaan, dit was die greatste vakansie van my lewe. Minette (Secunda, SA) Raja Ampat, Nov, 2007
Thank-you for a most enjoyable time! Also the professional way in which things were handled. I hope to see you again in future, and who knows it may be sooner than we think...
Anton (Secunda, SA) Raja Ampat, Nov, 2007
Dankie vir alles, julle moeite het n speciale trip net soveel meer speciaal gemaak. Ek hoop ons kan weer in die toekoms weer saam nuwe plekke besoek. Thanks!
Corne (Secunda, SA) Raja Ampat, Nov, 2007
Wow, what an experience...getting there is of course, half the fun! The dives (slow and very fast!!!) were excellent and "The Passage" and "Fam" were most interesting, especially the jellyfish and bat caves, and of course the skulls. Thanks for your trouble in finding our luggage while we were out having a lovely dive in Manado. You made everything run smoothly and painlessly, and we really appreciate the effort put in to the preparations. Many, many thanks for the adventure of a lifetime!
Esme (Secunda, SA) Raja Ampat, Nov, 2007
I really had an excellent time! The Raja Ampat is a paradise above and below the water, and I loved Tasik Ria too, what a place! Thank-you for all your personal effort to make everything so easy and nice for us. It resulted in a holiday I will remember for life! Anton (Secunda, SA) Raja Ampat Nov 2007
Thanks for a great diving adventure holiday. It was really an awesome trip. Raja Ampat was special, very remote and rural, great diving variety, and to have guides with you who know the area, is great. I will be back! Craig (Secunda, SA) Raja Ampat, Nov, 2007
Thank-you both for an awesome trip. I had an unforgettable holiday, and will hope to get to that side of the world again. Robert (Johannesburg, SA) Raja Ampat, May 2007
Thank-you for the great trip. It exceeded all our expectations. The only problem was that it was over far too soon. When I do this trip again, I will definitely extend by another week. It was escaping from the rush of city life. The simple accommodations and cuisine complemented the settings and having the dive guides point out all the exotic creatures - most of which I would have missed on my own - made the diving even more impressive.
Grant (Johannesburg, SA) Raja Ampat, May 2007
Claudia and Leon told us that Raja Ampat is the 'ultimate diving destination' and that we should join them to experience the true wonders of the underwater world. With many other exotic locations around, we thought that it was probably a bit of an exaggeration considering we had never heard of the Raja Ampat! After three days of travelling, which we can say was extremely well organized and well planned, we arrived at the island and were immediately impressed. The houses were similar to those you see in magazines reserved for the rich and famous, elevated above the ever calm waters surrounding the islands and constructed on wooden stilts; houses with the best view you can ever envisage. It is difficult to describe the splendor of the underwater Eden; photos can never encapsulate the true beauty of the region. Where previously we had been excited to see a certain fish or species, hard coral or soft, at every location we dived the rare was common and the unfamiliar found in abundance. Never before have we seen such a diversity of species in such intensity. It is said that the Raja Ampat islands are the birth place of underwater life; we can verify that if ever you had any doubt of God’s existence in this world, visit Raja Ampat and see for yourself. To Maya and all the staff on the island, the guides who were exceptional (no DM anywhere can ever be the equivalent of any of these guys) we extend a very big thank you and hope to see you all again soon. To Leon and Claudia who assisted in the purchasing of cameras, always gave the best advice, taught us how to use them and take proper photographs, arranged every little detail of the trip so that none of us ever had anything to worry about. We knew exactly what to expect at every location and at all times due to the diligent manner in which everything was planned and communicated. We thank you for giving us the opportunity to see one of the last true gems this world has to offer. And last but not least we would like to thank the special group of people who shared this amazing experience with us. Until the next trip... Thys and Michele (Pretoria, SA) Raja Ampat, May 2007
Baie dankie vie die ongelooflike 10 dae! Die organisering, keuse van hotelle en transfer tye asook die geselskap was GREAT! Leon & Claudia, from our side we would like to thank you for the memorable trip. We really enjoyed our stay, and although we were busy the whole time, the most important was that our minds had a rest. What is truly amazing about Raja-Ampat, is the unspoiltness of it all – the nature, the corals the sea-life. Even for non-divers like snorkellers, this has been a truly amazing adventure. You always see these wonderful backgrounds on computer screens that are part of the windows program, but here you actually get to see and spend some time on an even more beautiful beach and in crystal clear water. We spent a day on our “own beach” with only the boat bringing our food, disturbing the perfect ambience and quietness – what more can you ask for! With visibility this good, as snorkellers, we could even see the manta rays – something that not even all divers have seen! The only advice we have is: Go for at least 2 weeks, this is how perfect it is! Carna and Abri (Pretoria, SA) Raja Ampat, May 2007
Many thanks for the Raja Ampat expedition, which we all agree was most successful ! Marius is back in Canada and with Carl sitting in Australia, on behalf of all three of us I wish to thank the two of you again for a wonderful trip - not only was Raja Ampat magnificent, but your company and photographic advice indispensable ! We appreciate all the planning that went into this and would love to join you in future again on another expedition, particularly to such remote areas. Thank you again for arranging such an unforgettable trip ! Beste groete Hilmar (Cape Town, SA) Carl (Australia) Marius (Canada) Raja Ampat, May 2007
WINNING LETTER PUBLISHED IN 'SUBMERGE MAGAZINE' OCT/NOV 07
My girlfriend and I met Claudia and Leon in December 2006 whilst looking for a book on fish, We had started photography and wanted to be able to identify the fish we saw. During the subsequent discussion, we realise that they knew a lot about underwater photography and that they had recently returned from a seven year stint in the Bahamas, where they had scuba trained film stars and assisted in filming of Hollywood movies. The bubbly twosome really have been "bittenbysharks" and they have the scars to prove it!. We quickly accepted an invitation for an evening video presentation of their Bahama experiences. The presentation was a treat. Claudia gave structure to the presentation, describing pictures and related techniques, while Leon just had a blast chatting and sharing their experiences with the attendees. At the end of the presentation they mentioned and showed Raja Ampat, Indonesia. The photographs of creatures such as Pygmy seahorses, large manatas, amonst others, was incredible. A trip to Raja Ampat, was scheduled for May 2007, and we signed up immediately! We subsequently did a short photography course in January with Claudia and Leon, and we were seriously bitten by the clicking bug. Just four days before the trip, the Ikelite casing and strobe arrived and I was set with my Canon 400D. I took the manuals with me, as I had had no time to aquaint myself with the equipment. The trip to Raja Ampat involves three flights and a boat trip. On the flight to Singapore I was feverishly reading the manuals, when Leon noticed and said:"Moenie worry nie, ons sal jou wys". Everything about our holiday was well handled. There was not a single hitch during our journey which involved travelling from Johannesburg to Singapore, to Manado, a hotel stay; Manado to Sorong, and then a boat trip to Raja Ampat. The two hour boat trip past a number of the many islands of Indonesia was breathtakingly beautiful. We also saw a few whales on the way and some flying fish. When we arrived at the resort we were welcomed by a school of resident batfish next to the jetty. Our rooms were situated on stilts over the water.From the balcony you could see an array of fish. You have probably heard people describe similar scenarios, but Raja Ampat is different. The sheer number of sea life is vast; it is like a constant peak hour traffic for these fish, who pass by without a break! And this was from the topside viewing only! The diving was a continuation of the aforementioned. The sea creatures we saw include big Mantas, Pygmy seahorses and beautiful massive corals. I cannot describe this amazing experience in writing. The cherry on top was the value-adding professional skills and personalities of our hosts. We got constant advice and support on improving our photographic skills. This was provided at no extra cost to the trip - imagine paying for an exotic trip like Raja Ampat and then getting a bonus seven days of professional photography tutoring and practise for free - unheard of in this day and age!! Thank-you Claudia and Leon - you gave us the trip of a lifetime. The only problem now is - where to next?
Marius and Hannetjie (Pretoria, SA) Raja Ampat, May 2007