The charms of Komodo National Park
Paper Edition | Page: 21
Different: A purple queen swims among a group of basslet fish at the Shotgun dive site in Komodo National Park, East Nusa Tenggara. In 1991, the park was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
“Marvelous! The underwater panorama is wonderful!” exclaimed Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Mari Elka Pangestu after diving at several sites in the Komodo National Park, East Nusa Tenggara.
“We just watched manta rays, sharks, turtles, cuttlefish and other sealife,” she said. Her best experience was a close encounter with a turtle only about 30 centimeters away in Sebayur. “It was like a movie. We were gazing at each other!” she added laughingly.
Ocean kite: A manta ray swims at Karang Makasar dive site. The dive locations in this park are indeed among the most beautiful in the world.The dive locations in this park are indeed among the most beautiful in the world. In 1991, the park was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The Komodo National Park’s main attraction is naturally the giant komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis). “The number of giant lizards is now put at 4,648, scattered across four islands,” said head of the park, Sustyo Triyono, who accompanied Mari in her tour.
Don’t disturb: A White Tip shark lurks at Shotgun dive site.“They can be found on Komodo, Rinca, Gili Motang and Nusa Kode Islands,” he indicated. The national park has a total land and sea area of 173,300 hectares with three main islands, Komodo, Padar, Rinca and 26 others, big and small.
The island group was declared a national park to protect the endangered komodo dragons and their habitat, as well as biological diversity in the entire zone.
The marine park, among the richest in the globe, was built to guard the marine life around the islands. It has attracted divers all over the world to its challenging sites, with their strong currents.
Eat, prey: Three komodo dragons chase their prey at the Komodo National Park, East Nusa Tenggara.
On land, the park’s dry, barren conditions, its vast savanna and high temperature invite tourists who are fond of adventure. While trekking the hilly grassland, tourists can watch wild buffalo, deer, monkeys and other animals.
Exploring the Komodo National Park, now one of The New 7 Wonders of Nature, will be an unforgettable experience. “This is the best part of Indonesia! I felt like I was in the other world!” said Anna, a tourist from the US who visited Komodo for the first time after touring other regions in Indonesia.
— Photos by JP/Arief Suhardiman