Komodo National Park lies in the Wallacea Region of Indonesia, identified by WWF and Conservation International as a global conservation priority area. The island of Padar and part of Rinca were established as nature reserves in 1938. Komodo Island was declared a nature reserve in 1965, and in 1977 an UNESCO biosphere reserve.
The Park is located between the islands of Sumbawa and Flores at the border of the Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT) and Nusa Tenggara Barat (NTP) provinces. It includes three major islands, Komodo, Rinca and Padar, and numerous smaller islands together totaling 603 km2 of land. The total size of Komodo National Park is presently 1,817 km2. Proposed extensions of 25 km2 of land (Banta Island) and 479 km2 of marine waters would bring the total surface area up to 2,321 km2.
There are several cultural sites within the Park, particularly on Komodo Island. These sites are not well documented, however, and there are many questions concerning the history of human inhabitance on the island. Outside the Park, in Warloka village on Flores, there is a Chinese trading post remnant of some interest. Archaeological finds from this site have been looted in the recent past. Most communities in and around the Park can speak Indonesian. Bajo language is the language used for daily communication in most communities.
Flora and Fauna
The terrestrial fauna is of rather poor diversity in comparison to the marine fauna. The number of terrestrial animal species found in the Park is not high, but the area is important from a conservation perspective as some species are endemic. Many of the mammals are Asiatic in origin Including the Timor deer, wild boar, water buffalo, crab eating macaques and civet. Several of the reptiles and birds are Australian in origin. These include the Orange-footed Scrubfowl, the Lesser Sulpher Crested Cockatoo, and the Helmeted Friarbird. The most famous of Komodo National Park’s reptiles is the Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis). It is the world’s largest lizard and is among the world’s largest reptiles and can reach 3 meters or more in length and weigh over 70 kg.
One of the main bird species is the Orange-footed Scrubfowl, a ground dwelling bird. In areas of savanna, 27 species were observed.
Cloud forests appear only in few areas above 500 metres but they provide habitat to several endemic flora. Coastal vegetaion includes mangrove forest, which generally appear in the sheltered bays of the three larger islands. Fringing and patch coral reefs are extensive and best developed on the north-east coast of Komodo. The park is rich in marine life, including whale sharks, ocean sunfish, manta rays, eagle rays, pygmy seahorse, false pipefish, clown frogfish, nudibranchs, blue-ringed octopus, sponges, tunicates, and coral.
While most visitors enter Komodo National Park (KNP) through the gateway cities of Labuan Bajo in the west of Flores or Bima in eastern Sumbawa, the departure point for your trip is actually Denpasar, Bali.