Komodo National Park
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Komodo National Park encompasses 603 km sq of land and 1.214 km sq of marine waters. It contains three large islands (Komodo, Rinca and Padar) and many smaller islands. Established as a National Park in 1980, Komodo has been declared a Man and Biosphere Reserve and a World Heritage Site in 1986.

KOMODO ISLAND
One of the world’s great wildlife regions, this small archipelago of 280 km sq  is located   between Sumbawa and Flores  is home to the Komodo dragon, the sole survivor of carnivorous dinosaurs that thrived in tropical Asia 130 million years ago.   Today isolated by the strong, unpredictable currents in the straits that separate them, these dry and barren island draw thousands of travelers from all over the world to view the lizards in their natural habitat. Komodo, as well as the neighboring islands of Padar, Rinca, Motong, and two small areas on Flores south of Labuhanbajo, were made a national  park in 1980.

The sea surrounding the islands offers crystal clear water to swim or snorkel, vistas of sea life and white sandy beach. The only human population on the island is at the fishing village called Komodo who supplement their income breeding goats which are used to feed the lizard

The Land
Thirty-six km long by 16 km at  its widest, and 500 km east of Bali, Pulau Komodo lies in  one of Indonesia’s driest regions. The highly permeable soil is shallow and poor. Above 500 meters, the island feature dense, cool and shady cloud forests. The highest mountain is 735-meter  Gunung Satalibo. The south portion of the island , little frequented by visitors, offers wild mountain landscapes and empty seashores. One fishing village hugs the east coast on Teluk Slawi; two to three other temporary fishing encampments are maintained as long as the water supply lasts after the rains.

Prior to the wet season, the islanders burn off much of the island’s grassland to improve the fresh growth of new grass for grazing. Komodo is tropical savannah with dramatic landscapes of hills covered mostly in high, coarse, golden-green grass, scattered fire-resistant thickets, stunted scrub growth, thorny zizyphus trees, and tall, fan-leafed lontar palms that break the horizon like exploding artillery flak.     

Volcanic in origin, the island is composed of pyroclastic-like ash which has solidified into arid tuffaceous hillsides. The whole east coast is eroded cliff that plunge straight into the sea, with alluvial fans, occasional coastal mangroves, rocky streambeds, and great black ravines gouged out of cliffs. Perfect dragon country.  Back to the Top

Climate
The wet season  from November to April is heaviest during the monsoon months (Dec – March), but the rain just last a few hours  each day. Rain squalls during this period may  prevent or delay sea travel. Between June and September, rainfall is very low. The dry season here can last  8 – 10 months, and standing water is rare even during the wet season. Komodo, in fact , receives the least rainfall of any of the surrounding islands. From April through the rest of the year, its scorching hot, when searing winds from Australia desiccate the land. May is a good time to visit; water is more plentiful, grass is green, and temperatures  are agreeable.  Back to the Top

Flora and Fauna
Only lontar and zyziphus trees  (typical vegetation of the lesser Sundas) can survive during  the dry spell. Riots of endemic orchids droop pell-mell over the trails, and high grass covers the hills. Herds of deer and wild hogs, water buffalo, and cattle the share the upland valleys of the island of the Komodo reserve, and serve as a prey for the dragons. Cave  bats (kelelawar) hover around black hollowed cliffs, and the island swarms with snakes.  The strong yellow-like plastic webs of Naphilia, 15 -centimeter-long spider, stretch for as long as six meters across walking tracks.

Birds include the sulphur-crested cockatoo, which shrieks  hysterically; equally noisy friar birds, stunning yellow-breasted sun birds, black-naped orioles ; musk cuckoo shrieks ; spangled drongos ; bee eaters, and a great number of sea and shore birds. Nount-building megapodes nest on southern Komodo and Rinca; dragons often raid their mounds for eggs. Dolphins, whales, and sea turtles are often seen in the straits. Back to the Top

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