Sunday, March 17, 2013

Great outdoors

Dragons, volcanoes, and the garden of eden are more than mere myths at these national parks.

Komodo National Park, Indonesia

Executive summary by darmansjah

Dragons are not entirely mythical, In Komodo National Park, they really exist. Named after the fearsome giant lizard it shelters, Komodo National Park was founded in 1980. The park is a collective of 29 islands-the three largest being Komodo, Padar and Rincah-and stretches over an area of 1,733 square kilometers. In 1991, the park was inscribed as a Unesco World Heritage Site.

At least 2,500 Komodo Dragons roam the islands. Many grow to about three meters in length and weight up to 90 kilograms. Because of their size, Komodos are powerful predators and dominate the eco-system in which they live and feed on various prey including invertebrates, mammals and birds.

The park is not all just about the legendary komodos though. With about two thirds of its area comprising water, the park is absolutely thriving with marine live. White beaches, clear blue water and beautiful corals provide excellent diving spots. The nutrient rich waters contribute to the fantastic underwater scenery and high species diversity-over 1,000 different species of fish swim in these waters. Other notable marine wildlife include turtles, dugongs, sharks, stingrays, and blue and sperm whales.

The gateway to Komodo is the popular tourist destination Bali. From Bali’s Denpasar International Airport, a 90 minutes flight brings you to Komodo Airport near the city of Labuan Bajo on the island of Flores. An information centre and travel agents where transportation to and from the park can be arranged are also found in Labuan bajo.

The Bajo Komodo Eco Lodge offers beachside accommodation in Flores, though you are advised against swimming and snorkeling there. Tours to Komodo National Park can be arranged through the hotel (from US$60;

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