Komodo National Park

WANUAADVENTURE.net – Komodo National Park is located in the center of the Indonesian archipelago, between the islands of Sumbawa and Flores. Established in 1980, initially the main purpose of the Park was to conserve the unique Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis) and its habitat. However, over the years, the goals for the Park have expanded to protecting its entire biodiversity, both terrestrial and marine. In 1986, the Park was declared a World Heritage Site and a Man and Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, both indications of the Park’s biological importance

Komodo National Park includes three major islands: Komodo, Rinca and Padar, as well as numerous smaller islands creating a total surface area (marine and land) of 1817km (proposed extensions would bring the total surface area up to 2,321km2). As well as being home to the Komodo dragon, the Park provides refuge for many other  notable terrestrial species such as the orange-footed scrub fowl, an endemic rat, and the Timor deer. Moreover, the Park includes one of the richest marine environments including coral reefs, mangroves, seagrass beds, seamounts, and semi-enclosed bays. These habitats harbor more than 1,000 species of fish, some 260 species of reef-building coral, and 70 species of sponges. Dugong, sharks, manta rays, at least 14 species of whales, dolphins, and sea turtles also make Komodo National Park their home.

Threats to terrestrial biodiversity include the increasing pressure on forest cover and water resources as the local human population has increased 800% over the past 60 years. In addition, the Timor deer population, the preferred prey source for the endangered Komodo dragon, is still being poached. Destructive fishing practices such as dynamite-, cyanide, and compressor fishing severely threaten the Park’s marine resources by destroying both the habitat (coral reefs) and the resource itself (fish and invertebrate stocks). The present situation in the Park is characterized by reduced but continuing destructive fishing practices primarily by immigrant fishers, and high pressure on demersal stocks like lobsters, shellfish, groupers and napoleon wrasse. Pollution inputs, ranging from raw sewage to chemicals, are increasing and may pose a major threat in the future.

Today, the PKA Balai Taman Nasional Komodo and PT. Putri Naga Komodo are working together to protect the Park’s vast resources. Our goals are to protect the Park’s biodiversity (both marine and terrestrial) and the breeding stocks of commercial fishes for replenishment of surrounding fishing grounds. The main challenge is to reduce both threats to the resources and conflicts between incompatible activities. Both parties have a long term commitment to protecting the marine biodiversity of Komodo National Park.

Labuan Bajo

Labuan Bajo: The Entrance Path to Komodo National Park

WANUAADVENTURE.net – Labuan Bajo, a place sounds to the world nowadays. Its name attracts the tourists to come over and enjoy the beauty of its underwater nature, as well as to visit the islands within reach, inhabited by the komodo population. This time, I would love to put in the picture the beauty of the coastal cities which path the way to enter the Komodo National Park.

Located at the west corner of Flores Island, Labuan Bajo has been used as the main entrance to Komodo National Park, which consists of Rinca Island, Komodo Island and Padar Island. Allegedly, about 2.500 komodo are living on those three islands.

This capital of Manggarai Barat has evolved to be a tourist destination filled with home-stay hotels, resorts and dive resorts. There are many expatriates living in this city and they own properties and/or tourism operator companies.

I visited Labuan Bajo by Perama commuter boat departed from Lombok to Labuan Bajo. When I arrived, the atmosphere of the city was not so crowded. Perhaps the reason was because I was not coming in the holiday season that time. With my head still rocking from the waves of the sea, I carried my backpack and walked down the harbor along with my new friends on the boat from France, England and Denmark. Talking about Labuan Bajo, it derives from the word “labuan” which means a sojourn and the word “bajo”, the name of the sea nomads from Sulawesi, which reputedly known as the early immigrants in this city.

The sun was up when I turned my step entering a tribal village of Bajo, which was dubbed as Kampung Air (“Water Village”). The friendly society there made my friends and me feel at home being in this city. Several youth were greeting us nicely while the mothers were throwing smiles to us from their houses’ front. It was such a warm welcome from the sea nomads. This was the first time for my foreign friends to see lots of timber boats berthing. Not less than 200 boats from various kinds moored, started from small rowing boats, speedboats, fishing charts up to the freighters. Not to mention the floating yachts in various sizes.

Nonetheless, the houses of the immigrants still characterize the regions of their origins. I left Kampung Air to find a hotel and to take off the fatigue. Apparently, it was quite simple to get a hotel in low season. Yet, I have already been recommended on a certain hotel owned by my friend’s grandfather in Bali. Hence, with confidence steps, I entered the hotel and showed the text message from the owner and immediately we were given a room and free extra beds for a week. Super!

This condition might not happen if I came to this city in peak season. Finding a hotel in Labuan Bajo at peak season will be as similar as in Gili Trawangan at its peak season. It’s hard! Perhaps it is still feasible to get, yet the price would have been at its peak as well. First day in the city, we took rest in the hotel, charging our energy up. Nevertheless, for the rest of the following days, the hotel room was nothing but a place to put things and take rest only. We used most of the time to do diving, trekking and other activities that will be regrettable to be missed out.

Getting there

Labung Bajo is an entrance gate to reach Komodo National Park. Merpati Nusantara are in fact serving the flight to Labuhan Bajo, however they do not have a fixed schedule yet. Another available airlines are Batavia Air (1.010.000 IDR to 2.014.000 IDR), TransNusa (1.274.000 IDR to 2.000.000 IDR) and Lion Air (1.200.000 IDR to 2.500.000 IDR) which take the flight from Denpasar to Labuan Bajo – all prices are for commuted flight. The alternative for flight would be by ferryboat from Lombok. If you are wild about scuba diving, want to see great spots and haven’t tried yet, I recommend you to pick a liveaboard.

Explore Komodo National Park & Happy Green Travels!