KOMODO NATIONAL MARINE PARK
Located in East Nusa Tenggara, Komodo National park is the home of the unique and rare Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis). Because of the unique and rare nature of this animal, KNP was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986.
The park includes three major islands, Komodo, Rinca and Padar, and numerous smaller islands together totaling 603 square km of land. At least 2,500 komodos live in this area. Large dragons are usually three meters long and weigh up to 90 kg. Their habitat has beautiful panoramic views of savannas, rain forests, white beaches, beautiful corals, and clean blue seas. In this area, you can also find horses, wild buffalo, deer, wild boar, snakes, monkeys, and various types of birds.
On Rinca Island, you can see komodos lying down outside the homes of national park rangers, or “parking” near the officials’ homes. If you don’t see a dragon, Rinca and Komodo have beautiful sceneries with white beaches, mangroves, savannas and blue waters. During the dry season, these savannas and hills have dried grasses.
You can also engage in other activities such as diving and snorkeling. You can take a cruise ship or fishermen’s boat in the persuit of these activities. There are diving points highly recommended to visit which include Merah Beach, and Batu Bolong and Tatawa islands.
This place has a rich and amazing underwater sea biotica. Divers claim that Komodo waters are one of the best diving sites in the world. It has fascinating underwater scenery. You can find 385 species of beautiful corals, mangrove forests, and seaweeds as a home for thousands of fish species, 70 types of sponges, 10 types of dolphins, 6 types of whales, green turtles and various types of sharks and stingrays.
The waters that surround the island are turbulent and teeming with unparalled marine life. A marine reserve has recently been established and this reserve is largely undocumented and remains unexplored.
Your feet will be your trusted companion on this island. Good thing most people never leave home without them. When you wish to see these animals in their natural habitat, you have to walk to the hills nearby (paths have been designated). On Komodo Island, you have to climb Mt Ara (538 meters above sea level) for 3-4 hours.
On Rinca island, you have to trek for about 1.5 hours. If you are lucky, you can see Komodos attacking prey, fighting, or even employing their mojoes along the way, as illustrated by this picture on the left. If that’s too wild for you, you can try to spot a group of deers, buffaloes or wild horses.
HOW TO GET THERE
By daily flights from : Bali-Labuan Bajo/Komodo Airport-Bali (each 1.5 hours). Everyday, there are flights from Bali to Labuan Bajo. In addition, there is a twice a week flight from Kupang. Inter-island motorboats from Sape in West Nusa Tenggara are also available everyday (when the weather permits), and the Pelni ship from Bali and Lombok makes a stop over here every two weeks.
Land transportation from the East (Flores mainland e.g., Ruteng, Bajawa, Ende and Maumere) is also available. If you are interested in making a long trip in Flores, you can start from Maumere to the west i.e., to Moni, Kelimutu, Ende, Bena, Bajawa, Ruteng and lastly Labuan Bajo (Komodo) or vice versa