The Komodo National Park is located between the islands of Sumbawa and Flores and is part of West Manggarai Regency in the Indonesian Province East Nusa Tenggara.
The Regency has a population of 220’000 with only a little over 2’000 residing in the capital Labuan Bajo. The former fishing village has grown into a bustling tourist hub and is the gateway for trips to the Komodo National Park.
The park consists of the three larger islands Komodo, Padar and Rinca and 26 smaller ones. It covers a total area of 1733 km2. It is also home to the fiercest dragons outside of Westeros.
Official protection began in March 1980 when an area of 72’000 ha was declared a National Park. This area was subsequently extended to 219,322 ha in 1984 to include an expanded marine area and the section of mainland Flores.
Comprised of Komodo Game Reserve (33,987 ha), Rinca Island Nature Reserve (19,625 ha), Padar Island Nature Reserve (1,533 ha), Mbeliling and Nggorang Protection Forest (31,000 ha), Wae Wuul and Mburak Game Reserve (3,000 ha) and surrounding marine areas (130,177 ha) the Komodo Biosphere Reserve was accepted under the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Programme in January 1977. In 1990 a national law, elevating the legislative mandate for conservation to the parliamentary and presidential level significantly empowered the legal basis for protection and management.
Komodo National Park is managed by the central government of Indonesia through the Directorate General of Forest Protection and Natural Conservation of the Ministry of Forestry. (Source: whc.unesco.org/en/list/609)
The climate here is tropical. In winter, there is much less rainfall than in summer. The average annual air temperature is 25.4 °C in Labuan Bajo. The rainfall averages 1425 mm.
The average water temperature ranges from 27 °C (81 °F) between July and September, to 29 °C (84 °F) between November and May.
The south of the park features generally cooler water temperatures than the north and can get as cold as 22 °C.
Our climate is one of the driest in Indonesia. Komodo National Park has little or no rainfall for approximately 8 months of the year but is strongly impacted by monsoonal rains.
Rainy season usually runs from November to March. During this time of the year the northern part of the Park experiences lower visibility and it can be more difficult to get to due to larger waves. But don’t despair – the calm conditions in the southern part let you experience visibility up to 40m.
The dry season runs from May to October. With the change in wind directions the southern part of the Park now becomes more difficult to access. In exchange the sites in the northern and central parts clear up.
Komodo National Park includes one of the richest marine environments including coral reefs, mangroves, seagrass beds, seamounts, and semi-enclosed bays.
These habitats harbour 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 the Park their home.
The Park lies in the path of the Indonesian Throughflow, one of the strongest currents of the planet. It channels a gigantic volume of water from the Pacific Ocean to the Indian Ocean through the straits that separate the landmasses of Indonesia. The currents exchange phytoplankton-rich, greenish waters upwelled from the depth of the Indian Ocean in the south with clear, nutrient-rich tropical water from the north.
The mix of these two great oceans has created a unique marine environment that is as equally spectacular as the islands they surround.
An incredible array of rich marine life is waiting for all types of divers. From brilliantly coloured reefs teeming with fishes and invertebrates to roaming shoals of fishes scattered by giant trevallies, white and black tip reef sharks as well as the occasional turtle paddling by.
Pygmy seahorses, nudibranchs, ornate ghost pipefish, blue ringed octopus and flamboyant cuttlefish make the macro diver’s heart beat faster.
The marine area constitutes 67% of the Park. The open waters in the Park are between 100 and 200 meters deep. The straits between Rinca and Flores and between Padar and Rinca, are relatively shallow (30m to 70m), with strong tidal currents.
The speed of the current in the Lintah Strait is determined by the lunar cycles, with new moon and full moon increasing the speed up to fifty percent.
Komodo is well known for its currents, but we make sure that we choose dive sites that are appropriate for our divers based on their certification level, experience, and comfort. We check weather, tides and currents when we plan and check the currents upon arriving at the dive sites.
Diving is possible throughout the year. Depending on the season conditions of dive sites change. While some of them experience lower visibility, others open up to a spectacular 40m+. But no matter where you dive, visibility rarely falls below 20m with the low being around 10m.
There are several ways to explore the numerous reefs of Komodo with Scuba Republic. Whether you like to spend a week on one of our charismatic liveaboards, prefer day trips or even create your own schedule on our charter boat, we have an option for all tastes.
Initially the main purpose of the Komodo National Park was to conserve the world’s largest and heaviest lizard, the 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.
Komodo National Park is a landscape of contrasts between starkly rugged hillsides of dry savanna, pockets of thorny green vegetation, brilliant white sandy beaches and blue waters surging over coral, unquestionably one of the most dramatic landscapes in all of Indonesia.
The main attraction of the Park is undoubtedly the Komodo dragon. With its ability to effectively prey on large animals, and a tolerance of extremely harsh condition it is equal in fearsomeness to the last remaining dragon of Westeros. The population, estimated at around 5,700 individuals is distributed across the islands of Komodo, Rinca, Gili Motong and some coastal regions of western and northern Flores. These giant lizards exist no-where else in the world.
Other species found in the Park are an endemic rat (Rattus rintjanus) and the crab-eating macaque (Macaca fascicularis) and 72 species of birds, such as the lesser sulphur-crested cockatoo (Cacatua sulphurea), the orange-footed scrub fowl (Megapodius reinwardt), and noisy friarbird (Philemon buceroides). (Source: whc.unesco.org/en/list/609)