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Website home>Reefs & Parks>Indonesia: Komodo National Park

The Komodo National Park

Introduction to the Park

Sandwiched between Flores and Sumbawa, the hilly and desolate Komodo National Park offers you the chance to dive some of the most awe-inspiring reefs in the world and catch a glimpse of the magnificent pre-historic dragons of Komodo before they walk this earth for the final time. It was established in 1980 and listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1986.

A Komodo dragon

The total area of the park is 1,817 km², of which a third is terrestrial land areas, including the islands of Komodo, Rinca, Gili Mota, Nusa Kode and Padar, while the remaining area consists of marine waters, including coral reefs, sea grass beds, mangrove, and semi-enclosed bays.

The park provides refuge for 277 animal species including the orange-footed scrub fowl, an endemic rat, and the Timor deer. It is also home to the iconic Komodo dragon, found nowhere else on earth. Located in the heart of the Coral Triangle, the global epicentre of marine biodiversity, Komodo's waters harbour more than 1,000 species of fish, some 260 species of reef-building coral, and 70 species of sponges. Dugongs, sharks, manta rays, at least 14 species of whales, dolphins, and sea turtles also make Komodo National Park their home.

Park Profile

Park history: Established in 1980; declared a Man and Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site in 1986
Location: Lesser Sunda Islands
Total area: 1,817 km²
Population: About 20,000 people live in and around the park
Exceptional biodiversity: 1,000 fish species, 260 reef-building coral species, 70 sponge species, 18 whale and dolphin species, sea turtles, dugongs, Komodo dragons, various species of sharks and rays, including manta rays


The very dry season is between April and December with the coolest months of July and August having an average temperature of 30°C. Rainy season is between January and March, but Komodo does not have torrential rain as in the rest of Indonesia, and is relatively dry and sunny all year round. The weather affects liveaboard diving tours only in certain areas at specific times of the year. You can dive in Komodo all year round. Please check our dive sites descriptions for more detailed information on the seasons.

We recommend a visit during high season which is between April and December.

Around Komodo Island

The only village is Kampung Komodo, a tiny fishing village. Half an hour walk north of here is Loh Liang, the tourist accommodation camp where you can stay in basic wooden cabins, buy food and arrange guided walks. There's a camp at Loh Buaya on Rinca too, but there is no food for sale here.

Things to Do

The most popular land-based activity in the park is of course completing a walking trail to see the Komodo dragons. The largest member of the monitor lizard family, dragons grow over 50 years to 100 kg and almost 3m from head to tail tip. They use burrows to maintain their body temperature during the night, and bask in the sunlight to raise their temperature at dawn. They live off wild dear, pigs, buffalo and even horses, lying in wait and employing camouflage and ambush tactics.

There are now only approximately 1,100 dragons left in the park on Komodo Island, Rinca and Gili Motang, and outside the park area in eastern Flores.

In the 1990s they numbered only 3,300 so if you want to see the dragons before they fall the way of the dinosaurs, now is a good time to come.

Apart from dragon spotting, viewpoints and game viewing with buffaloes, deer, wild pigs and birds. You can also board a glass bottom boat cruising the local waters, and there's a good chance to see large sea mammals, such as whales and dolphins.

Getting There

The island of Komodo is quite isolated, being some 400 km from Bali. We offer liveaboards which run from and return to Bali, so you do not need to be concerned with getting to Komodo.

If you choose to visit the area independently, the easiest way to reach Komodo is via Labuan Bajo on the island of Flores, and Bima on Sumbawa - there are flights almost every day from Bali. For information on how to get to Bali, please visit our Bali travel information section.


Transformion into a Responsible and Sustainable Business

Emporer shrimps can be seen at Komodo Island - photo courtesy of friends of Serge Abourjeily

After 10 years of work supporting the natural resources of Komodo National Park, The Nature Conservancy's Coral Triangle Centre (previously named South East Asia Centre for Marine Protected Areas) has successfully transferred its programme to a new eco-tourism development enterprise PT Putri Naga Komodo (PNK). This signifies the start of the Komodo Collaborative Management Initiative (KCMI), a path breaking model for saving Indonesia's national parks.

The new enterprise company is set up solely to develop eco-tourism, promote conservation activities, and to support natural resource management and park operations. Although legally organised as a private company, PNK's charter provides that all revenues will be used to support the management and development of Komodo National Park and the development of alternative livelihoods and enterprises for local residents.

PNK is working closely with the National Park Authority, the District Government of West Manggarai, local communities, the tourism sector and other stakeholders. The goal is to implement an innovative and multi-disciplinary approach to achieve long-term financial sustainability of the park through professional park and conservtion management, sustainable eco-tourism development and destination marketing.

PNK-supported conservataion activities include a comprehensive set of biological monioring programmes for both the marine and terrestrial eco-systems of the park, including continuous assessment of resource use and tourism impacts. PNK will also undertake upgrading of eco-tourism infrastructure to improve safety and enhance the experience of those visiting the park.

The new company is Putri Naga Komodo or Dragon Princess, who in local legend was said to have given birth to twins - a human boy and a dragon, symbolising the essential identity of humans and nature. PNK has acquired a 30-year license from the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry to generate park revenues through the development and management of nature tourism in Komodo National Park. The new company is staffing up its key managerial positions while most of the Conservancy's Komodo Field Office staff have moved over to work with PNK.

To kick-start the project, PNK has obtained bridging funding from the World Bank's Global Environmental Facility. The 7 year US$ 5 million grant is provided through the World Bank's private sector financing arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) with matching funds from the Conservancy. By the end of the grant period (in 2012), it is expected that the park will be generating sufficient eco-tourism revenues to sustain ongoing management and conservation work.

Collaborative Management Initiative

The collaborative management framework being put in place is designed to maximise the involvement of all stakeholders in park management. The National Park Authority (NPA) will retain final authority over the park, with the NPA and PNK sharing responsibility for daily operations and management. A new government-mandated group, the Collaborative Management Council (CMC), will provide oversight and advice to the NPA and PNK. In turn, the CMC will include representatives from and receives input from a new broad community-based entity, the Community Consultative Council, established under the aegis of the West Manggarai District Government, which will comprise representatives from fishermen groups, local communities, NGOs, the Komodo tourism industry, and other stakeholders.

Conservation Fund

Cuttlefish, Komodo National Park - photo courtesy of friends of Pindito

This UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site and Man and Biosphere Reserve is among the most spectacular natural areas, not only in Indonesia but the world. Only by visitors contributing to a fund, can the park's unique marine and terrestrial biodiversity be protected and preserved for future generations.

A new Conservation Fund will help meet important conservation, community development and ecotourism objectives and provide added value for all visitors to the park. From 1st May 2006, all visitors to Komodo National Park will pay a Contribution to Conservation Fund.

Revenue generated will directly support and benefit conservation (monitoring, rehabilitation, research and facilitating surveillance), community development (alternative livelihoods, training and capacity building, micro-financing, improvement of public services and a broad range of health and education initiatives), eco-tourism (reconstruction of jetties, information centres, restaurants, observation points and mooring buoys) and international destination marketing and promotion.

Naturally, the park plays an important role in drawing tourists to the West Manggarai area and, in turn, creates valuable jobs for local communities. As such, your contribution is an investment not only in the future of the park but in the lives of the communities who stay there.

The amount of Contribution to Conservation Fund depends on the length of stay in Komodo National Park. For the period May 2006 - December 2006, contributions per visitor are as follows:

Length of stay Foreign visitor Indonesia national
/KITAS Holder
East Nusa Tenggara
 1 - 3 days 15 75,000 10,000 1,000
 4 - 8 days 25 125,000
 9 - 15 days 35 175,000
 16 days or more 45 225,000

A 50 percent discount will be granted for foreign visitors aged below 16 years. Contributions are payable in US$ but the Indonesia rupiah is equivalent at the prevailing rate (in 2006, this is around US$ 1 : IRp 11,000). Visitors will receive an entrance ticket that remains valid for 1 visit.

The Contribution to Conservation Fund was launched in Labuan Bajo, West Manggarai and Denpasar, Bali on 20 April and 21 April, respectively. The events were officiated and approved by The Head of West Manggarai Regency Drs. Fidelis Pranda and The Head of Komodo National Park Authority Ir. Indra Arinal.

In addition to the Contribution to Conservation Fund, visitors to the Park must also pay a National Park Entrance Fee and a West Manggarai Retribution Fee (for Tourism Objects in West Manggarai Regency).

Length of stay Foreign visitor Indonesian national
/KITAS Holder
 Komodo National Park Entrance Fee - 1 - 3 days 20,000 2,000
 West Manggarai Retribution Fee - 1 - 3 days 20,000 10,000

For further information, please contact: The Nature Conservancy, Coral Triangle Centre, Jalan Pengembak No. 2, Sanur, Bali, 80228, Indonesia
Tel +62.361.287.272; Fax +62.361.270.737
email info@coraltrianglecenter.org
www.coraltrianglecenter.org | www.nature.org

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