A small island of 280 square km, Komodo is located
between Sumbawa and Flores islands. It is famous for its giant lizards,
considered the last of their kind remaining in the world today,
the Komodo dragon. Called "ora" by the local people, Komodo
"Dragon" (Varanus Komodoensis) is actually a giant monitor
lizard. Growing up to 3 to 4 meters in length, its ancestors roamed
the earth up to about half a million years ago. Komodo live on goats,
deer, and even the carcasses of its own kind. The only human population
on the island is at the fishing village called Komodo who supplement
their income-breeding goats, which are used to feed the lizards.
The Komodo had protected by the law and although they are considered
harmless, it is advisable to keep them at a distance. Komodo Island
is now a nature reserve, home to a number of rare bird species,
deer, and wild pigs, which are prey to the lizards as well.
To see the lizards in the daytime, baits have to
be set in the hinterland where local guides are necessary. The sea
surrounding the island offers vistas of sea life, crystal clear
waters, and white sandy beaches. The only accommodation available
is in simple guesthouses in the fishing village. It is advisable
to carry food supplies. The best time to visit the island is between
March and June, and between October and December. Komodo is accessible
from the sea only. Fly to Labuan Bajo, from where it is about 3-4
hours by boat to the island.