Komodo National Park – Home of Giant Komodo Dragons

Komodo National Park, the last remaining habitat of the world’s largest lizard, isone of the most unique and beautiful places on the planet. Consisting of island groups and their surrounding waters, the Park is widely recognized as an outstanding storehouse of globally significant terrestrial and marine biodiversity and, in acknowledgment of its immense value, was designated a Man and Biosphere Reserve in 1986 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991.

The Park was established in 1980, originally to protect the Komodo dragon, which occupies a unique position in the Park’s terrestrial ecosystem and has a high tourism value. This charismatic species has naturally become the flagship species for the Park. Today, the Park’s conservation goals have expanded to include the entire ecosystem, both marine and terrestrial.

However, there is much more to Komodo National Park than the dragons. The Park lies at the heart of the Wallacea bio-region, a transitional zone between the terrestrial flora and fauna of the Asian and Australasian regions. This overlap between two distinct evolutionary eco-regions results in high levels of species richness, and the area is of immense importance for terrestrial conservation.

The oceans of Komodo National Park are equally important, and lie within an area known to scientists and conservationists as the Coral Triangle. This area, where the great Pacific and Indian Oceans converge, is the only equatorial region in the world where there is an exchange of flora and fauna between oceans. It is the heart of the world’s marine biodiversity, containing the richest coral diversity in the world and is home to many highly diverse and threatened marine habitats including fringing and patch coral reefs, mangrove forests, sea grass beds, sea mounts semi-enclosed bays and deep-water habitats.

Considered one of the world’s best dive destinations, the Park boundary encloses 1214 km² of coral reefs and coastal marine waters, which are home to more than 800 species of fish, and 385 species of reef-building coral from 70 genera. To put this diversity in perspective, the entire Caribbean Sea, which covers an area of 2,754,000 km² and encompasses the range of habitats from coastal shallows to deep oceanic habitats, is home to only about 1500 species of fish and 30 coral genera. The Park also provides an important habitat and migratory corridor for a diverse assemblage of whales and dolphins, green and hawksbill turtles, dugongs and numerous species of shark and ray. Other spectacular features of Komodo National Park are the resident spawning aggregations of grouper and populations of manta ray, which feed in the strong currents.

From some of the most vivid coral gardens in the world to surreal savannah dotted with Lontar palms to monsoon forest, the Park presents a uniquely primordial environment. The presence of the world’s largest lizard on these islands, together with a rich marine fauna, present opportunities for wildlife viewing that are not possible anywhere else on earth.

FACILITIES
LOH LIANG – KOMODO NATIONAL PARK

Loh Liang on Komodo Island is one of two official terrestrial gateways to Komodo National Park. In 2007, new visitor facilities were constructed here, comprising an arrival area with a visitor reception building, visitor toilets and visitor orientation space; combined restaurant and retail shop with adjacent visitor toilets; and local souvenir pavilion. Buildings are low impact, with minimal foundations.

Arrival Area
Located about 20 metres back from the beach, past the 3m-high stone-faced wall that supports the ‘Komodo National Park World Heritage Site’ sign is the arrival area. A low, stone-faced wall runs alongside the path that leads to the area. Here you will find a large wooden pavilion that houses the visitor reception, a smaller one that is the visitor orientation space and visitor toilets. At the visitor reception, you or your tour leader will pay park entry fees if they have not been paid in advance and procure the services of a naturalist guide for the trek. A representative from PNK and the Park Authority are stationed here to serve you. The guide will escort you to the visitor orientation pavilion, where information panels and a large map of the Loh Liang walking trails will help you decide which of the several available treks to take. After orientation, you are then guided on one of the trails, of various lengths, inland.

Restaurant
All trails at Loh Liang return to the beach area via a single-storey building incorporating an open-sided restaurant with sea glimpses through the trees and a retail shop. The restaurant serves a variety of Asian and international dishes as well as snacks and hot & cold drinks.

Opening Hours 8am – 6pm
Food Asian & International
Seating Capacity 60
Payment Cash only, no credit cards

Retail Outlet
The Loh Liang retail outlet is on the right-hand side of the building that incorporates the restaurant. The shop sells a range of high-quality, attractive GOKOMODO merchandise and selected additional items relating to Komodo National Park and the region it occupies. T-shirts, polo shirts, linen shirts, caps, stuffed toys, bags, key rings, mugs, postcards, books, silver jewellery and textiles are all sold in the shop. As with all PNK revenue-generating activities, 100% of the profits will be used to help improve the visitor experience, support conservation and local people and other park management-related activities

Local Souvenir Stalls
Local souvenir sellers’ stalls are situated beneath a specially erected shelter. These sellers are all from Komodo Village, a few kilometres further down the coast. A variety of traditional arts and crafts can be purchased here, including unique and beautifully carved likenesses of Komodo Dragons – some a few inches long, others up to a metre and more in length. Be prepared to bargain – it’s a part of the culture!

Best Time to Visit the Park
Komodo National Park lies in one of the driest regions of Indonesia with an average rainfall of 800–1000mm a year. There are only two defined seasons in the Park, dry and wet. Most rainfall occurs between December and March during which time the arid, yellow and umber landscape of the Park’s islands and atolls burst into startling green. Between April and November, there is virtually no rainfall whatsoever. High average temperatures and low humidity mean that land based activities like trekking are best confined to mornings and afternoons.

The mating season for Komodo Dragons is generally between July & August – female dragons then nest between September & November. Whilst these periods offer excellent opportunities to view unique behaviours, it should be noted that Komodo dragon sightings during mating season are slightly more rare than at other times during the year.
Between November and March, winds from the west cause large waves to break along Komodo Island’s western coast. For the rest of the year, winds are dry and come from the south. Tide driven currents can be treacherous throughout the year however, reaching speeds of up to eight knots in places. The reason why water travels so fast within the Park is because Komodo and Rinca form a bottleneck passage between two large deep bodies of water, namely the Pacific Ocean to the north and the Indian Ocean to the south. This also gives the Park its incredibly rich and diverse marine eco-system.

TOURISM FEE FOR CONSERVATION
PARK ENTRANCE FEE
WEST MANGGARAI RETRIBUTION FEE

All visitors entering the boundaries of Komodo National Park are expected to pay a ‘Tourism Fee for Conservation.’

This revenue directly supports and benefits conservation (monitoring, rehabilitation, research and facilitating surveillance and enforcement), community development (alternative livelihoods, training and capacity building, micro-financing, and improvement of public services), and nature-based tourism development (construction, maintenance and operation of visitor facilities, including jetties, interpretation/information centers, restaurants, toilets, mooring buoys, and development of new tourism products).

Only by visitors contributing financially to sustainable Park revenues, can the Park’s unique marine and terrestrial biodiversity be protected and preserved for future generations.
The amount of the fee depends on the length of stay in Komodo National Park. Currently, fee amounts per visitor are as follows:

OF STAY
Foreign
Visitor
Indonesian Nationality/
KITAS Holder
East Nusa Tenggara Resident
Indonesian Student
1-3 days
US$15
Rp. 75,000
Rp. 10,000
Rp. 1,000
4-8 days
US$25
Rp. 125,000
9-15 days
US$35
Rp. 175,000
+ 16 days
US$45
Rp. 225,000

A 50 percent discount is granted for foreign visitors aged below 16 years. The fee is payable in US dollars or equivalent Indonesia rupiah.

Visitors receive a receipt for the fee amount, which is stapled to an entrance ticket made from recycled paper, and entitles the holder to a short, guided trek at either Loh Liang, Komodo Island or Loh Buaya, Rinca Island. Each trekking group is limited to a maximum of ten people. For longer trekking activities, an extra charge applies.

In addition to the Tourism Fee for Conservation, visitors to the Park must also pay a National Park Entrance Fee (Ministry of Forestry Decree No. 363/Kpts-II/1997 and No. 0878/Kpts-II/1992) and a West Manggarai Retribution Fee (West Manggarai Decree No. 22 Year 2005 concerning Entrance Fee Compensation for Tourism Objects in West Manggarai Regency).

FEE
Length of Stay
Foreign/ KITAS
Domestic
KNP Entrance Fee
1-3 days
Rp. 20,000
Rp. 20,000
West Manggarai Retribution Fee
1-3 days
Rp. 20,000
Rp. 10,000

Source: www.gokomodo.org

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