KOMODO NATIONAL PARK
The best way to see the Komodo Archipelago, and Komodo National Park, (as with most of Indonesia), is from the safety and comfort of your live aboard vessel. Whilst we are a focused dive operation we also enjoy conducting non-dive itineraries for those who would like to explore this remarkable destination. When you travel with us we will visit the Established park facilities and less frequented destinations. There are plenty of activities and destinations for non-diving groups and spouses. Following is some natural history for the Komodo National Park.
Komodo is situated 200 nautical miles east of Bali between the islands of Flores and Sumbawa. Komodo’s symbol of international fame is its dragons, the world’s largest living Lizard. Indonesia declared the area a National Park in 1980, and in 1992 Komodo was declared a World Heritage Site. It covers 239,000 Hectares including 75,000 Hectares of land on 4 major and numerous minor islands. As with most of Indonesia, Komodo rises up from a volcanic chain, wedged between two great continents, the string of volcanic islands make up the south eastern reaches of what is known as the ring of fire. Both above and below the sea, Komodo represents a unique range of geological and biological diversity. On shore it is an amazing museum diorama of the Mesozoic era – dry tundra and reptilian supremacy.
The Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis) is the largest lizard in the world. Also know as a varanid or monitor lizard, it grows to 2.5 meters in length and around 125 kilos. At the top of the food chain the dragon is an alert and agile predator, worthy of respect. Their bacteria laden bite is lethal without medical treatment. Their tails are also a powerful and dangerous weapon, which can be thrashed with bone breaking force. The regular flicking of their forked tongues drives their acute sense of smell. It is unlikely that they would try to make a meal of you, but they have been responsible for the death of numerous villagers who hold great respect for the “Ora Ora”. They are also held responsible for the loss of a Dutch photographer in 1975. Only his camera and hat were recovered.
In addition to the world famous Komodo dragon, the larger inhabitants are Buffalo, Deer, Monkeys, Pigs, and horses. Further down the scale indigenous frogs, snakes and lizards abound on the island. Not to forget the endemic aptly named Komodo Rat. Over 150 species of birds have been identified in Komodo National Park, many of which are migratory and more representative of Australasian than Asiatic species. Distinctive species include megapodes, yellow-crested cockatoos, imperial pigeons, white-breasted sea eagles and maleos. With the lowest rainfall in Indonesia, Komodo’s Fauna and Flora are more similar to an Australian landscape than the lush tropical environment typical of Bali. Sheer cliff faces, and steep rocky mountains reaching high above the Horizon give it an unforgiving appearance. In stark contrast the deserted pink sand beaches invite travelers to venture ashore and explore the hills and foreshores of these mostly uninhabited islands. Dry and sun burnt for most of the year, after the monsoonal rains the hills are transformed with a thick soft blanket of verdant green grass. Mist filled valleys cut deep into the heart of the islands. Heavily wooded and with a microclimate of their own they host and are home to the greatest concentrations of wildlife. The exposed hills and highlands are sparsely wooded fields of savannah grassland. They support herds of grazing species. Rusa deer (Cervus timorensis), wild buffalo (Bubalus bubalis), wild boar ((Sus scrofa), the macaque monkey (Macaca fascicularis), and wild horse (Equus qaballus) roam the hills. Conscious of the ever-present threat of the predatory dragons. There are presently some 2,300 inhabitants living within the Komodo National Park, spread out over 3 settlements (Komodo, Rinca and Kerora). Visitor Facilities are available at the main ranger stations on Komodo and Rinca, with basic facilities and accommodation available.
Undoubtedly a land of contrasts the long dry summers, reptilian supremacy, raging currents and difficult access have long served to protect this marine paradise. We are very concerned for the environment in which we operate and are very keen to protect the future of this environment. We are working together with the National Park Management to help protect and preserve the park. If you would like to show your support please approach one of the following organizations.