Komodo National Park – East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia - Atlas Obscura

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Komodo National Park

A sprawling nature preserve harbors the world's only living dragons. 


Historically, dragons have been feared and hunted, but the Komodo National Park was created to protect the only known “dragon” in the world. 

The Komodo dragon is the largest lizard in the world and can grow up to 2-3 meters in length which would be scary enough if it weren’t for the monster’s poison bite. Despite the beast’s hideous visage and carnivorous reputation this Indonesian wildlife reserve was created to make sure that it does not go extinct. Komodo Island is the only place in the world where the huge lizards live and their relatively small population puts them at extreme risk.  Covering a number of small islands including the largest islands of Komodo, Padar, and Rinca, the national park keeps the delicate natural balance from disappearing. A number of other protected lizards, rats, and snakes also inhabit the islands along with a collection of large mammals that were introduced by man such as buffalo, deer, and monkeys. Unlike many wildlife parks, Komodo covers four human settlements as well, all of which existed when the park was designated. The people living in the park are mainly fishermen and tradesmen.   

Visitors are welcome to the islands. In order to keep tourists safe from the huge lizards, locals feed the Komodo dragons in the morning so that they are less inclined to look for visiting prey.

The protection offered by the reserve has expanded over the years and now includes a marine biome which is preserved along with the other exotic flora and fauna in the Komodo National Park. Despite the increasingly diverse environments in the park, it is unlikely to be known for anything more than the dragons that stalk its shores. 

Know Before You Go

You can arrange for group tours to the various islands of Komodo or even hire your own personal ride to visit Flores Islands. The Komodo National Park is open daily from 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM, and there is even an adventure trek in Komodo Island that takes around 4-5h (4.9 miles). Visitors are advised to bring sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, hike shoes and plenty of water.

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