- See one of the rarest, most infamous animals in the world.
- The island hopping journey to Komodo is spectacular.
When you think of Komodo Island, it’s likely that something scaly and evil comes to mind. We’re not talking about Donald Trump, but rather the infamous Komodo Dragon.
In fact, when I was first invited to the Indonesian paradise of Flores by Skyscanner, witnessing a dragon in the wild was the very first thing that sprung to mind. I wanted to get a selfie with one to blow all other selfie’s in the history of time out of the water.
Komodo dragons are incredibly rare, and can only be found in this very small pocket of the world – on the islands of Komodo and Rinca Island to be precise. There are between 3,000 and 5,000 of the planet’s largest lizards remaining in the wild, growing to an impresisve 10 foot in length. These all-purpose killing machines will eat 80% of their own body weight in food, and when I say they eat anything, they will literally eat anything. Plonk one on a set of scales (good luck to that scientist) and the gauge clocks in at a whopping 150kg.
And just when you thought they couldn’t get anymore terrifying, turns out they also love to swim. The site of one doggy-paddling towards me in the sea would induce an immediate heart attack.
Anyway, our boat pulled up to the shores of Loh Liang on Komodo Island and we were greeted by a delightful park ranger, who was eager to share stories of death and near death experiences causing by these frisky critters. There were tales of an 8 year old boy being eaten in 2007 whilst popping behind a shed for a toilet break; of a group of divers stranded on a beach for 2 days fending of a squadron of ravenous dragons; and one poor chap called Muhamad Anwar who accidentally fell from tree whist gathering sugar apples in 2009…straight into the dribbling jaws of two flesh-eating dinosaurs.
This of course added to the tension as we followed the trail through the forest in search of one. We were told that it’s not uncommon to not see one at all, and as we neared completion of the loop track I suddenly felt a deep sense of panic. Would I be one of those suckers who travels to Komodo Island and doesn’t see a Komodo Dragon? It’s comparable to heading to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower, or to the USA and not seeing a really obese human being.
My panic was only short lived. As we returned to the beach I saw a tail protruding from behind a tree trunk; he was seeking shade from the sticky summer heat. It blended in surprisingly well to the fallen leaves and undergrowth, and could quite easily be mistaken for a fallen log if you’re overdue an eye examination.
On (slightly) closer inspection it was clear that these were not to be messed with, and unless a time machine is invented in my life time, it’s probably the closest I’ll ever get to the Jurassic era. The elusive dragon selfie will have to wait…
One final note – if you do come here and you find yourself being chased by a Komodo Dragon, your best bet is to run as fast as you can in a zig-zag motion. Whilst they are extremely quick off the mark, they find it hard switching directions. The other option is to scramble up the nearest tree as they are known to be very poor climbers. Just whatever you do, don’t do a Muhamad and fall out.
- Good walking shoes, for a sharp escape if necessary
- Mosquito repellent
How to get there
You’ll then fly to Labuan Bajo from Bali and there are two flights:
- 0935 – 1025 (Garuda)
- 1435 – 1520 (Wings Air)
Distance / Elevation Gain
There are a few option of guided walks to do on the island, which vary from 2km to 10km.
- 8 WILD EXPERIENCES IN FLORES (INDONESIA)
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