The small Sonde Islands, a completely new look of Indonesia.
Arid landscapes relieved by active volcanoes and thick forests, sunny beaches with one of the best sea bed in the world, modern world’s forgotten people, and home of the famous giant lizards of Komodo, taking you back in time, 30 million years ago.
In the heart of the Indonesian archipelago…
It is in the heart of the Indonesian archipelago, which lies between two continents of Asia and Oceania that the Komodo National Park is situated: more precisely between the Sumbawa and Flores islands. An impressive and unforgettable landscape opens on turquoise sea and white sand which will delight the underwater exploration enthusiasts along with the adventurer’s soul.
The Labuan Bajo bay is just superbly magnificent with an offshore multitude of isles fringed with white, uncrowded beaches among the richest in Indonesia. Moreover, the Komodo National Park nearby is trully a quasi essential destination for those who want to encounter the giant lizards !
The Komodo National Park is unique in the world, set up in 1980 and was declared a UNESCO heritage site.
This part of Indonesia is subject to strong climatic contrasts. The Sumbawa and Komodo islands are among the driest in Indonesia while in the areas where the relief is more imposing, Annual precipitations are 4 times greater. Temperature are high on the shoreline, can easily reach 35°C while an appreciable freshness can be felt in the mountain.
While their isolation meant that the Sonde small islands are relatively poor. Though tourism tends to develop for the last few years in Flores particularly, fishing, farming or even handicrafts remain the main sources of income. The Sonde small islands are the home of disparate people and are multireligious. Sumbawa is almost muslim entirely while Flores is 85% christians, though animism remains very high. Sumba, is 70% animist with extraordinary funerary rites. This part of Indonesia is situated between the Malay in the west and the Melanesian of papouans in the east. A multitude of ethnics in this islands are the ngada, lio or manggarai in Flores or the Dou Donggo in Sumbawa.
Flores is by far the sightseers’ most visited island. It has a lot to offer. In the west, the Labuanbajo bay is just magnificent with a wide range of isles fringed with white uncrowded sand and sea floor which is one of the richest in Indonesia. Moreover, the Komodo National Park which is at short distance is a quasi essential passage for those who want to encounter giant lizards! Not far from the town of Ende, in Lio, the Kelimutu volcano remains the most visited site in Flores with its changing color three lakes… an impressive and unforgettable landscape. You will discover in the Ngada country, in the heart of the island, exciting traditionnal villages and population in the heart of green valleys and thick forests. An area ideal for trekking. Finally, further north near Riung, the Pulau Tujuhbelas site is an archipelago of 23 uncrowded isles on a turquoise sea bed and white sand delighting the underwater exploration enthusiasts with a very much preserved seafloor.
The Komodo National Park, between Sumbawa and Flores, is unique in the world, set up in 1980 and declared UNESCO world heritage site. Its highest peak is the Gunung Satalibo having 735 metres of altitude. There is no volcano activity in the park.
In 1928, 30 people only lived in the Komodo village, and approximately 250 people in the Rinca island in 1930. Now, there are almost 4,000 inhabitants living in the park in the different islands.
Today, the inhabitants of the Komodo island are concentrated in one spot, the Komodo village which accounts for 1,169 souls divided into en 281 households.
We started having problems when separating the island residents from the Komodo dragons who were numerous in the island. To preserve the prehistoric monitors on the path of extinction, the government took actions to limit the indigeneous population movement. In fact, the komodo (Varanus komodoensis) discovered in 1911 by the scientist J.K.H. Van Steyn, only live in the Komodo, Rinca, and Padar islands, and in the surrounding isles, which are part of the Komodo National Park. Formerly hunters, the Komodo inhabitants turned gradually to the sea and became fishermen; actually they were told not to hunt fallow deers and water buffaloes of the island as they are the monitors’ predominant prey. In 2001, a decree forbids them to cut down trees, to grow vegetables or to rear up livestock, again for the conservation of the monitors’ habitat. Moreover, this bill also enforces all inhabitants who get marrried with a stranger to leave Komodo… The villagers feel more and more isolated. For 5 years, ferries have not called on the Komodo.village. The inhabitants can no longer move whenever they want, they have to wait for the visit of outside merchants for their basic needs like construction wood for boat, salt to salt their fish or just simply rice to eat.
Furthermore, these merchants charge high prices. Finally, the government allocated limited fishing areas to the villagers, so as to avoid the problems of local overfishing and to decrease the risks of illegal fishing activities by means of explosive devices in the park, which are generally done by outside fishermen. To fish in this area, the Komodo inhabitants are under control similarly to outside foreign fishermen of the island, and each time they have to get a fishing licence issued from the park rangers. Today, their vital space is more and more restricted, the Komodo villagers feel threatened and sooner or later think to move to another island. Lastly, one day, they are afraid above all to be drifted apart from « their dragons’ brothers».
Situated between the Sumbawa and Flores islands, this park stretches to 18,170 km2, a little less than the Jakarta area; the surrounded territorial waters cover 2,321 km2. Inaugurated in 1980, the Komodo National Park have been registered as World heritage sites in 1991 and designated in 1986 as the humans protection and environment areas.
The original inhabitants, the komodos, belong to the reptile family and have thousands of peculiarities. At first glance, their silhouette look like those of lizards, but much bigger : most of males are 3 m long and weigh nearly 80 kg (176 lb). Some of them weigh more than 150 kg (331lb) and 5 m long. The Komodo is stocky, similar to a Japanese sumo fighter. Its skin is hard and thick like the Roman soldier’s armor. Although its claws are short, it can run faster than a dog, at about 20 km/h (12.4mph). His claws are sharp, similar to a dragon. They are used to climb trees and go up on the slope of the hill. This giant lizard inhabit hot and rather arid meadows. Though, he does not really like aquatic spaces, he can swim when pushed to the wall. He makes use of his powerful tail as a weapon to hit his enemies. Generally speaking, an adult komodo eat deer, goat, horse or wild boar. Walter Auffenberg, a Florida University researcher, studied the behavior of the monitors in 1969. He namely reported the case of a female of 50 kg swallowing a wild boar of 30 kg only in seventeen minutes. The komodo also have fatal secret weapon: its saliva, which contains a venomous bacteria. Once bitten, its prey dies slowly but surely.
komodo diving cruise
Immersing in the Komodo national park (biosphere reserve and world heritage), it is the luxury of appreciating one of the most beautiful corals in the ocean bottom of the world. More than 1,000 fish species, 14 cetaceans, some 260 corals and 70 sponges are concentrated in this reserve. Obviously, the variety of fauna is extraordinary for the big and for the infinitely small (pigmy hippocampus for instance).the variety of reliefs, the number of diving spots, its biodiversity, make this site an exceptional venue.
Immersing in this environment is magic and unforgettable, with its fantastic corals, extraordinary colors, and schooling of countless fish.
From the very big (whaleshark if lucky), to big (tunas, mantas, humphead wrasse, dugons, groupers, sharks, bumphead Parrot fish, barracuda) to middle (fusiliers, rays, stonefish, jacks, lionfish, mantis shrimps), to small (clownfish, pigmy hippocampus, shrimps, orang utangs crabs, porcelain crabs, nudibranchs, ghost pipe fishes, sea fleas, gobies, blennies, star gazer, octopus ) with the black corals, immense gorgonians, soft corals, table corals, walls covered with crinoids of all colours. Impossible to describe everything…
Our most beautiful diving spots
Gili Lawa Darat
South Darat passage: Dive in this nice coral reef, with turtles, anchovies, coral trouts, small tunas, and trevallies come in to feed. You can even see whitetip reef sharks sleeping on sandy seabeds.
Stunning snorkelling to Gili Lawa Laut and sunbathing on the magnificent white sandy beaches of the island.
North Darat, island of Gili Lawa Darat: the reef is very rich and marine life is highly vibrant. You can watch turtles, some groups of giant sweet lips, some sharks and batfish.
Kareng Makasar is an ideal site to see the manta rays (cleaning station) some divers had seen more than forty big specimens wandering in a ten-meter water. Diving or snorkeling preferably on the falling tide (unforgettable!)
Batu Bolong, meaning “a rock which has hole”, very nice reef covered with color corals, invertebrates and reef fish. We can also see Napoleon Wrasse, dogtooth tunas, rainbow runners, whitetip reef sharks…
Pantai Merah/Pink Beach: One of the most reputed spots of the park both for diving and snorkeling (Indeed, the sand is pink) you will come across a variety of fish, leaf scorpion fish, blue ribbon eels, trevallies, turtles, crocodile fish and nudibranchs, cleaner shrimps… Excellent site for a macro photography.
Crystal Rock: Superb dive, with several soft corals. You will come across a group of anthias, frogfish, scorpion fish, moray eels and turtles.
Castle Rock: It is a submarine mound (top at 7m) several barracuda, some trevallies some will see strange batfish and parrotfish, small gorgonians. Some Manta rays from time to time.
Tatawa Kecil: Immerse yourself in the rocks, caves, and beautiful corals increases the beauty of the east coast of the island.
Dive with a mask and a scuba possible with the Manta rays.
In the middle of the park
Padar is a smaller island located between Komodo and Rinca. The two diving sites are located in the south west of Padar. Wonderful bays with white sandy beaches and a superb trekking.
Pillaarsteen: A strange reef having a headland shape. A large group of fusiliers swim along the reef slope, with a wonderful variety of soft corals, sharks, and turtles! The submarine topography includes chimney rocks and kind valleys, and other canyons and crevasses. There are some caves at about 40 to 16 metres. Everything is admirably covered with color soft corals, gorgonians, hydroids, sponges and also with sea apple.
Tiga Dara “The 3 sisters”: an almost virgin reef with an excellent coral coverage and rich aquatic life.
They are three great rocks which lay on a 20-30m sand and 3 m surface, covered with corals. With about 30m, two smaller rocks are in particular sympathetic. Several species of nudibranchs, small sea cucumbers and sea stars. You dive in the nuance of the current and will end up the dive on the ridges which respectively complete the bottom up to 7 to 8 metres.
In the South of the park
Tanjung Lelok Sera: This diving site is situated on the Komodo meridional part next to the sea open to Sumba. Here, the water is colder than in the north. You can dive along the coast toward the eastern board, but the nicest spots are several huge rocks submerged with gorges between themselves. Very nice snorkelling. The currents are powerful but there are a great deal of fish! Napoleon wrasses, sweetlips, cordelettes, morays, sweet lips, Mandarin fish and admirable coral gardens, group of yellowish oriental sweetlips, nice staghorn corals and still much more…
Payung Island: It is a singular spot. This unique submarine landscape with its enormous rocks, canyons, and holes to be explored, will give you unreal diving illusions. Fish and invertebrates are abundant and diverse, group of surgeons, yellow snappers, rocky reefs covered with soft corals, bumphead parrot fish, morays, pigmy hippocampus, gorgonians and feather stars.
Indihiang: is the drift-dive paradise. Big fish and nice diversity of corals can be admired along the sheer walls. The main attractions are potato cod, big Napoleon Wrasse and groups of Giant trevallies and red tunas.
Manta Valley (Manta point): true to its name, it is the manta rays passage
Cannibal rock: A submarine mound covered with soft corals, sponges and hard corals. On each available surface, there is sea star, sea cucumbers or sea apple (violaceus de Pseudocolochirus). The sea cucumber is of luminous purple red color with white or yellow rays. We can seldom see them but they are often seen here in the Komodo island. In each dive, you will encounter several of rare nudibranchs, special crabs, urchins, frogfishes and scorpion fish, tazars, red snappers, blue triggerfish. Below the reefs, there are many anemones with their anemone fish. Superb night dive.
HOW TO COME
Daily flights serve Labuan Bajo, Flores from Denpasar, Bali.
You may contact the airline companies below.
Ready for unforgettable holidays?