Recently named one of the new Seven Wonders of the Natural World, Komodo National Park on Komodo Island is an area not to be missed in the vastness and diversity of Indonesia’s over 17,000 islands. Tips for exploring Komodo National Park include hiring a guide (which is mandatory and will cost about ($6USD), bringing lots of water, and if you’d like to stay overnight on Rinca or Komodo Island, organizing ahead of time and staying in the above-ground huts, safe from wandering dragons.
Arriving at Rinca island, you’ll likely spot Komodo Dragons the moment you step off your boat, sunbathing and lingering on the beach. These giant lizards can reach three meters in length and weigh up to 170 kgs! They feed on the resident deer, boars, goats, buffaloes, monkeys and insects. These predators are determined in their hunt – once they bite their prey, they wait until a strong transmitted bacteria takes hold and eventually kills them. It is reported that these animals have attacked humans before, so be sure to keep a safe distance away. Observing Komodo Dragons in their natural environment is a real treat – these animals are said to influence the Chinese dragon legends. If you see one with its tongue out, that means it is smelling for prey – extra reason to keep a safe distance.
Your boat tour will next hop over to Komodo Island – a great place to snap some beautiful landscape shots. This is the perfect place to set off on numerous hikes, all starting at the Loh Laing camping area. The treks range from one hour to four, easy and hard. Gunung Ara is a steep hill climb to a well-worth-it viewpoint of the surrounding islands and ocean.
After a few hours of hiking around the island, head to Pink Beach or Pantai Merah which are a 30-minute boat ride from Komodo Island. Pink Beach is comprised of tiny coral fragments that make it soft and pink in colour. This area offers great snorkelling and relaxing sunsets.
The protected islands and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Komodo National Park include the islands of Komodo, Sumbawa and Flores. The National Park was established in 1980 to protect these islands for the dragons, but has since extended to include marine and land preservation. The waters surrounding the Park are extremely biodiverse and one of the richest marine environments in the country, providing a home to more than 1,000 species of fish, 2,160 species of reef-building corals, and 70 species of sponges.
There are increasingly negative pressures on this region and all precautionary measures need to be taken while visiting – if you pack it in, pack it out. Don’t leave garbage, take only pictures, leave only footprints. Don’t get close to the wildlife and set an example for other travellers.
Departures to Komodo Island National Park leave in the morning hours from Labuan Bajo (Flores) and if you choose to do it in a day, expect a 10-12 hour adventure-filled day. Plenty of water, good shoes, sunscreen and normal hot-weather hiking attire are a necessity.
Entrance (conservation) Fee – $1.50 USD
Local Area Tax (given to the local community) $4 USD
Snorkelling Fee – $5
Camera Fee – $3.75
Local Guide – (necessary for safety and protection of the islands) – $6USD / group
Author: Eco Escape Travel | Date: March 4, 2017