Encompassing the islands of Komodo, Rinca, and Padar, Komodo National Park is home to the infamous Komodo dragon, the largest lizard in the world and also one of the deadliest. Komodo National Park may be famous for its dragons, but it also boasts a plethora of things to see and do. For an eco-adventure, a trek to Komodo National Park can be a once in a life-time event. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, people from the world over come to witness the dragons as well as the other attractions of these three islands.


The Komodo Dragon

The giant monitor lizards known as Komodo dragons are endemic to Komodo Islands and several other Lesser Sunda Islands. Their populations are dwindling and the park was established in 1980 as a means to protect them. The lizards are known to weigh as much as 150 pounds and may grow as long as ten feet in length. Carnivorous and aggressive, the lizards are deadly. The Komodo dragon is mildly venomous; however, its saliva contains deadly bacteria. These lizards often bite their prey and then await death which may come anywhere from hours to a couple days. Lizards are then known to consume the prey entirely.

Today, researchers believe there are only about 5,000 Komodo dragons that remain in the wild. Already, these lizards are extinct on the island of Padar. Dragons sustain themselves on carrion and deer. While they have been known to attack humans, they more typically shy away from people. Even so, an encounter with a wild Komodo dragon could be deadly so any trip to the national park should involve safety precautions as outlined by park guides.

Other Fauna of Komodo National Park
The Komodo dragon isn’t the only noteworthy wildlife of the park. Other animals make their home on the islands. Macaques, wild boar, fruit bats, spitting cobras, and water buffalo also live within the national park. The coral reefs of the islands are home to various species like manta rays, whale sharks, coral, sponges, and even the deadly blue-ringed octopus. At one time the park was also home to saltwater crocodiles but these are now extinct. Many point to the plight of the
islands’ crocodiles as evidence that increased protections for the dragons is needed.

 

Komodo National Park

Coral View at Komodo National Park. Photo by: World Heritage Routes Travel

Visiting Komodo National Park
Tourism is important to the park as fees help to sustain it and its conservation efforts. Many visitors come to scuba dive as the waters boast a high degree of marine diversity. Others come to witness the pristine beaches of the islands and, of course, to witness the Komodo dragons in their natural element. Aside from scuba diving, kayaking is also a popular pastime. The kayak is the perfect vessel for getting in and out of small bays and coves.

Visitors are recommended to view the park’s terrain with guides to avoid dangerous encounters with the dragons. In fact, touring the park is not permitted without a guide. Guides are knowledgeable and can provide a myriad of information about the lizards as well as the other flora and fauna of the park.

Accommodations age 2 of 2
Many tourists that head to Komodo Island stay at guest houses or even reside within their rented boats. Staying in an eco-style lodge, however, can add to the excitement of this magical setting. It’s a good idea to plan your itinerary in advance so you can reserve a place to stay. With dragons looming about, camping isn’t exactly a preferred activity for visitors to the national park.

If you want to visit a truly wild place, Indonesia has many; however, none are as infamous as Komodo National Park. If you long to encounter real dragons, this is the only region on the planet you can watch them in their natural environment.

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