Komodo National Park

A stunning dragon sanctuary


Nusa Tenggara Timur, Kabupaten Manggarai Barat, Indonesia

GPS: -8.5272022518976, 119.48372812786

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Located between the islands of Sumbawa and Flores in the centre of the Indonesian archipelago, the Komodo National Park includes a 2,000 km² land and sea area. Its protected environment covers three large islands (Komodo, Rinca and Padar) and around twenty islets of volcanic origin, at the junctions of the continental Sunda Shelf and the Sahul Shelf. The Komodo National Park has the distinction of being on the Wallace Line, a biogeographical border identified by the British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace in the middle of the 19th century (with Charles Darwin, he is the co-discoverer of theory on natural selection). This dividing line marks the physical separation of Australian fauna from that of the Asian continent. This gives the park an incredible variety of flora and fauna evolving in a unique ecosystem on Earth.

The Komodo National Park is part of the famous Coral Triangle, one of the regions with the richest marine biodiversity in the world. Founded in 1980 to protect a creature endemic to central Indonesia, the Komodo Dragon and various cetacean species, this sanctuary is a natural site of great biological importance. It is home to the most beautiful creatures of the sea and serves as a habitat for a few thousand specimens of giant monitor lizards in a paradise environment. This carnivorous animal, whose origin dates back several tens of millions of years, represents the largest species of lizard on Earth. An estimated 5,000 Komodo Dragons live in the wild, 80% of them within the park. Cannibal in nature, it feeds mainly on mammals such as the Timor deer, a species also threatened by poaching. The Komodo Dragon lives and hunts alone by occupying the top of the park’s food chain. Although it is not the largest animal species, it does not have a predator on the archipelago. Today, this giant lizard is threatened with extinction due to the gradual fragmentation of its forest habitat and the growing influence of man on its environment.

The conservation area of the Komodo National Park brings together many animal and plant species evolving between the Pacific and Indian oceans. Populated by some 4,000 inhabitants including many fishing families, this paradise for divers is also a high place of ecotourism. Hiking trails criss-cross idyllic beaches and very diverse vegetation in the park, in search of the Komodo Dragon.

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  • The lush marine environment of the Komodo National Park (coral reefs, fish, dugongs, whales, dolphins, sharks, sea turtles, manta rays…)
  • The multitude of different ecosystems (Australian, Indonesian, Sunda Islands…)
  • The Komodo Dragon, one of the biggest reptiles in the world (a species of varan)
  • The coastal flora and exotic vegetation of the park (mangroves, seagrasses, savannahs, wooded valleys, tropical forests, shrubs, orchids…)
  • The terrestrial fauna rich in endemic species (reptiles, birds, snakes, frogs, crab-eating macaque, Javan rusa or Timor deer…)
  • The numerous bathing and scuba diving sites (Pantai Merah, Batu Bolong, Tatawa Besar, Letuhoh Reef, Castle Rock…)
  • The white sand beaches with crystal clear waters
  • The hiking trails surveying the three main islands of the park (Komodo, Rinca and Padar)
  • The excursions into glass-bottomed boats or into fishing boats
  • The Komodo Dragon is the symbol of the park and is locally called “ora” by the locals. Measuring between 2 and 3 meters in length, it can weigh up to 100 kilograms and live up to 50 years. Small dragons are forced to live in trees to avoid being eaten by cannibalistic adults.
  • This animal is able to eat a prey that can exceed its own weight like the water buffalo (the latter can reach a ton). His saliva contains bacteria that can slowly kill an animal after biting it (the bite of the Komodo Dragon prevents healing, promotes infection and accelerates bleeding). To sum up, this large lizard eats only once or twice a month, saves its energy and spends very little. It must regulate its temperature by alternating sunbaths to warm in the morning with shade stays to protect itself from heavy heat.
  • The Komodo Dragon has another particularity: it is adept at parthenogenesis, that is to say that a female is capable of reproducing naturally and alone, in the absence of a breeding male (only 0.1% vertebrates share this type of reproduction around the world).
  • Scientists believe that the Komodo Dragon is the descendant of an even larger species of lizard (the megalania), having evolved during the time of the Pleistocene. It was over 6 meters long and would have disappeared 40,000 years ago in Australia.
  • While fishing is the park’s first economic resource, methods that are not very respectful of the environment (explosive, cyanide, net fishing…) and now prohibited by the Indonesian government have long undermined corals and marine resources of the Komodo National Park.
  • Padar Island no longer has any population of Komodo Dragon due to intensive hunting at the end of the 20th century which proved fatal for the environment. To achieve their ends, the hunters burned the forest in order to collect as many prey as possible (deer, wild boars, buffaloes…). Hunted too, the big lizards were deprived of their main sources of food.
  • Investors backed by the Indonesian authorities plan to turn the Lesser Sunda Islands into a luxury destination with high-end resorts and an adventure park closed to “Jurassic Park” concept. This large-scale tourism development could seriously threaten the natural habitat and food resources of the Komodo Dragon, which is classified as a vulnerable species by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature).
  • The Komodo National Park is accessible by boat from the cities of Labuan Bajo to the east or Bima to the west (both accessible by plane from Denpasar, in the province of Bali).
  • Rinca Island, wilder and less frequented than the island of Komodo, perhaps a good alternative to discover the many riches of the park (including the famous Komodo Dragons.
  • Prefer the dry season, from April to December, to go to this Indonesian region prone to monsoons.
  • Park entry tickets are valid for a minimum of three days (passing through the services of an official guide once there is compulsory).
  • Stay away from the Komodo Dragons because they can be a danger, especially if you have young children. In particular, this predator reaching the speed of 20 km/hr may feel threatened if you run next to it.
  • Strong sea currents and tides can make scuba diving and navigation difficult or even dangerous (prefer framed outputs).
  • Be sure to moderate your water consumption during your stay, given the scarcity of this resource for the local population.

Where to eat

  • Scooperific
    (western taste)
  • La Cucina
    (Cozy Italian restaurant)
  • Atlantis Beachclub
    (chic and original)

Where to go

  • Fish market of Labuan Bajo
    (local and living market)
  • Sangeang Api
    (the Mountain of Fire)
  • Pulau Kalong
    (bat sanctuary)

Where to stay

  • Palulu Garden Homestay
    (family guest room)
  • Villa Seirama Alam
    (lovely view of the bay)
  • Komodo Resort
    (diving paradise)

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