Located between the islands of Sumbawa and Flores is Komodo National Park. Home to the famous Komodo dragon, the world’s largest and heaviest lizards. Established in 1980 as a World Heritage site the Park is comprised of three main islands; Komodo, Rinca, and Padar covering some 1,733 square kilometers.
This globally recognized conservation area is still relatively untouched land sought after by many adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts to explore some of Asia’s richest marine environments and intrepid landscapes. Trek mountain ridges, diving, snorkeling or night fishing; there is a multitude of ways to take in the parks world class environments. At the anchor point of the Asia Pacific Coral Triangle amongst varied landscapes, protected anchorages, pristine beaches, and a rich underwater ecosystem, it’s these natural attractions which make Komodo an ultimate destination for yachting, diving, and other marine activities. Cruising this region usually begins from Labuan Bajo a small port reached in just over an hour flight from Bali or just over two hours from Jakarta. The new terminal at Labuan Bajo is a suitable landing point for private jets and an easily accessible way to explore the town and National Parks islands.
Boasting a unique landscape different to what is otherwise found on the tropical islands of Indonesia the Komodo National Parks landscapes are dryer with a diverse terrain of mountains, rugged woodland Savannah and a scattering of tropical rainforest areas. Komodo and its nearby surrounding island neighbor Rinca Island provide refuge to many reptile species, birds including the green imperial pigeon, yellow-crested cockatoo, great-billed heron and mammals including the orange-footed scrub fowl, Rinca rat, Timor deer, and wild pigs. However, the main draw to these parts and providing the perfect environment for habitation is the Komodo Dragon – named after their appearance and aggressive behavior these man-eating lizards are the largest on earth growing up to 3 meters in length and weighing 150 kilograms. This world heritage site is highly protected to preserve these beasts natural habitat and what makes the National Park a retreat for many other animal species.
During the wetter months of January and February, it is not uncommon to see snake species such as the cobra, python or green tree viper. Komodo and the nearby island’s scenery and underwater ecology provide its visitors with some of the most exquisite beaches, snorkeling and viewpoints.
Padar Island is the only one of the three main islands without the Komodo dragons. However its the magic of the three separate beaches all boasting clear blue waters and each beach with distinctively different hues of pink, black and white sand which attracts visitors. Hike up to the Padar Island viewpoint or enjoy a spot of night fishing between the islands.
A divers paradise and highlight of any marine enthusiast trip to Indonesia; Komodo is an underwater paradise of hundreds of reef fish, huge pelagics and hunting sharks in crystal clear waters on pristine coral reefs. Spoilt by over 100 dive sites all possessing unforgettable underwater views of sea life. The marine ecosystem is made up of volcanic seamounts, drop-offs, canyons, fringing reefs, and pinnacles with over 1,000 different fish species living in this aquatic paradise.
Komodo is known for its larger marine animals including manta rays, sharks, dolphins, whales, turtles and rare sightings of dugong and seacow. Amongst these larger animals is a diverse underwater ecosystem of macro life which should also not be underestimated.
Although only separated by 15 nautical miles North and South sides of Komodo offer very different marine experiences. In the north, hard coral and seamounts are prolific and on the southern side untouched bays, soft coral and macro species, critters and rocky islands.
Visibility is great in these parts and the black basalt walls and exquisite coral gardens will be an experience like no other. However, currents can be strong in the area especially through the deep channels and island inlets, a dive guide is advised to accompany visitors for a high energy dive experience through the parks wonderland of marine life.