Komodo is one of the 17,508 islands that make up Indonesia. Komodo is world famous as the home to the Komodo Dragon, the largest lizard on Earth. A type of monitor lizard, it inhabits Komodo Island and some of the smaller surrounding islands, as well as part of western Flores.
As a child I had always been fascinated by the idea of these huge dragons, as close to dinosaurs roaming the earth as you’re going to get, not to mention the fact they had been known to eat humans.
Getting to Komodo is quite an adventure travelling over ground from Bali requires a number of ferry’s and minibuses on a increasingly off the beaten track route as you travel east. It is possible to sail Bali over a number of days which I am sure would be a much better way but less character building…
To visit Komodo base yourself in Labuhanbajo, where if you’re lucky a rather nice view waits from one of the hill side guest houses.
We organised a boat with a few other travellers. As it turned out the island of Rinca, home to 1,300 Komodo Dragons is the place tourists get taken to visit. The boat there was SLOW and surprisingly uncomfortable, still the anticipation of visiting Komodo island and scenery on the root made up for it.
As we arrived we caught our first site of a dragon lounging on the pier beneath the no shot guns aloud sign, the dragon was promptly ushered away with a long forked stick that seemed to be the tool of choice for keeping Komodo’s at a safe distance.
After a safety talk we all choose our sticks, we all knew at least one story of a Komodo attack so took this task very seriously. Once armed it was time to be taken on a tour of Rinca, in search of dragons and other interesting wildlife that inhabits the island.
The walk was great if a little hot, Rinca is fairly desolate and doesn’t have a lot of shade. The fact Komodo’s can reach 20kph and could ambush us at any moment kept us all aler and on edge as we slowly followed our guide along the track, though he more worried about Water Buffalo…
As it turned out, somewhat disappointingly, we didn’t encounter any Komodo dragons on our ramble but we did have a confrontation with a Water Buffalo who blocked our path for a few anxious moments.
The best sightings of the Komodo’s came once back at the rangers camp, there were a couple pretty impressive lizards hanging out below the stilted huts (buildings need to be on stilts when you live with 2 metre dragons!).
The Komodo dragons were undoubtedly an incredible sight to behold despite not, strictly speaking, seeing them in wild. I can for one say I have fulfilled a child hood ambition to visit the great dragons of Komodo.
Trying to travel with the ethos of a backpacker, no matter of budget, whether I'm across the other side of the world or over the road.
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