Focus on Komodo Island, Indonesia

by Jules on January 18, 2012

Spot the komodo dragons in Indonesia

Komodo Island has been voted one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature so we thought we’d explore this fascinating destination a little more;

Komodo Island is one of the many islands which comprise the Republic of Indonesia. It is part of the Komodo National Park and has been designated as both a nature reserve and an UNESCO biosphere reserve. In fact the actual Komodo National Park is made up of the three large islands; Komodo, Rinca and Padar. The total size of the park is some 1,817 square kilometers including land and waterways. The most notable attraction and the reason the National Park was created is the presence of the Komodo dragon.

The Komodo dragon is the largest known species of reptile still living. Komodo dragons can reach lengths of up to 3 meters and weigh as much as 70 kilograms. Up until 1995, a centuries-old tradition of the locals involved offering pieces of slaughtered deer to the komodo dragons as a kind of offering. This helped the dragons become accustomed to human interaction. Since these massive lizards can live as long as 50 years, they would often come to recognize human inhabitants of the island. More recent protection acts have put an end to this practice, however, and the komodo dragons have become less tolerant of humans as a result.

A walking tour of the island will reveal many of these majestic lizards. Guided tours are the best option for tourists unfamiliar with the terrain. A knowledgeable guide will be able to point out the caves and feeding grounds of the komodo dragons, ensuring the best views. Though thrilling to observe, they can become aggressive and should be approached with caution.

Another stunning sight on Komodo Island is the pink sand beach. This rare colouring phenomenon is caused by red coral in the surrounding waters which combines with a natural white sand beach to form a distinct pink hue. This beach is relatively secluded, so visitors should plan to pack their own snacks and supplies for a relaxing day in the sun.

Not all the treasures of Komodo Island are immediately visible to visitors. Many of the best sights and activities here take place underwater. A dive in the waters surrounding the island will reveal a colorful world of hundreds of species of coral and over a thousand species of tropical fish. Clown fish, bat fish and butterfly fish all inhabit these waters, along with dolphins and other marine mammals.

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