By: Paul Edmundus
In a travel brochure of East Nusa Tenggara Timur Province or East Lesser Sunda Islands where Komodo is located that we published recently, I wrote that if there are 8 World Wonders on our earth, the eighth must be Komodo, one of the great wild life areas in the world, a National park, 59,000 hectares that occupied more than 3000 Komodo Dragons or Varanus Komodoensis or the giant lizards which are considered the last of their kind remaining in the world today and the largest on earth. I can understand if you will NOT believe this as many of my listeners when I told this story most of them interrupted me with questions:" is that really Paul?, is that true Paul, wow…….".
The locals name this animal: "Ora" or Grand Pa or Grand Ma, as they believe that it was changed or formed from human and they are the grand children and always appeal not to attack them. These giant lizards are growing 3-4 meters in length, 1 meter high (when stands), 150-300 kg weight, can run swiftly, dig holes, swim, dive and the young dragons can climb trees. I saw this myself in 1975 when the first time I visited Komodo island, unfortunately I had no camera YET to take pictures. I and my group accompanied by 5 police man who brought their guns, ready to shoot, we picked up them in Labuanbajo - Flores, no rangers, no tickets, no camera fee. Why did the young dragons climb? Because I hung a bait, a dead goat on the tree to enable the dragons to smell from far distance and come close to the tree on the beach where I and my colleagues have made a very good camouflage for our Italian journalists and tourists of 21 persons can make pictures. But about 10 years ago the local Authority has forbidden visitors to feed the dragon in order to live naturally.
The National park consists of 3 main islands: Komodo, Rinca and Padar and other small islands surroundings. Komodo Dragons are carnivore; they can kill goats, deer, horse, buffalo and wild boars. Komodo dragons are NOT only live in the above islands, but also in Flores Island, they are scattered from the west part to the central of Flores about 200 km away to the east. Since 1975 I have visited this island and witnessed the activity of the dragons for more than 300 times and I have no boring at all.
Are they dangerous? The answer is YES and NO. No for the locals, but their goats and roosters some times gone. There was sadly story about a Swisstzerland tourist who disappeared on this island in 1974. There was a big rescue, 4 days police, armies, locals have searched the whole island, but unfortunately no sign that he was still there a live. They found his camera 8 km away from the spot that he should be with his tour group and his tour Guide, no sign that he was attacked, no blood, no evident, nothing. Finally, the local authority and his Swisstzerland family concluded that he lost in Komodo Island.
What you have to do if you wish to visit Komodo island to see the dragons?
1. Never, never and never walk in the jungle without a Ranger or more.
2. Always follow the instruction from the Rangers and your Tour Guide.
3. DO not wear red shirt, red hat or red pants. Red is the color of blood.
4. Ladies who are in "period" do not visit the island, the dragon has very sharp smell and will run after you.
How to get there?
There are 4 ways to reach Komodo island.
1. By fly from BALI to Labuanbajo-Flores. There are 4 flights in a week (1, 3,4,5). Then cruise to Komodo 3 hours.
2. By fly from BALI to Bima on Sumbawa island. There are daily flights. Drive to Sape harbor for 1 hour then cruise to Komodo 4-5 hours.
3. By fly to Maumere on Flores island, have an overland to experience the people, culture, nature and wild life and as the high light is the Three Colored Lakes Kelimutu. Then reach Labuan Bajo, cruise to Komodo.
4. By cruise from BALI which will take 5-7 days program, combine air, land and sea.
In May 2004 a lady wrote me in 4 days to question all information to visit Komodo, which I guessed she just want to find out information, probably she would like to visit by her own. I gave all the answers because she came to the right person. I have been very patient to answer all her needs. Here are the questions:
* How many kilometers is it from Bima to Komodo island?
* How many kilometers is it from Komodo to Rinca island?
* How many kilometers is it from Rinca island to Bima?
* How many kilometers from Sape to Bima?
* What are the road condition?
* Are there any other ports that I could sail to islands from or is Sape is the only one?
* Are there gate to the island? Is there a time to open and close the park?
* What are the sea condition? Are there water somewhat rough?
* Would I want to bring sea sickness pill? Or are they mostly calm?
* How many km is it from the Flores airport to the Labuanbajo port?
* How long and how much distance from Labuanbajo port to Rinca? Are there differences in the sea conditions and currents?
Source : http://www.floressatours.com/komodo-dragon/komodo.html