After days at sea on our Komodo Island boat trip, we finally arrived in the Komodo dragon heartland of Komodo Island. We awoke to find ourselves surrounded by beautiful humpback islands that reminded me of the hills of New Zealand’s North Island.
After a breakfast of banana pancakes and thick Lombok coffee, we finally set eyes on Komodo Island.
Komodo Island is actually one of many islands that make up Komodo National Park. Padar Island and Rinca Island are the two other big islands, along with more than 20 small and tiny ones. The national park was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991.
A long wooden jetty greeted jutted out from the beach to meet us. We jumped on to it and made our way to the entrance that reminded me of Jurassic Park.
We passed some stalls selling souvenirs as we made our way through the little clusters of older tourists dressed in high waisted khaki shorts.
We sat at a stone table as we waited for our guide.
A tall skinny man dressed in a green uniform arrived to tell us some facts about the dragons before leading us into the wild, armed with only a thin wooden stick.
The long stick didn’t look like it would be a match for a mighty dragon, but we followed him into the bush.
Komodo dragons are the largest living species of lizard, and can grow to as long as 10 feet and can weigh 150 kg!
Not only do Komodo dragons attack and swallow their prey, a Komodo dragon bite can kill you. Its saliva contains toxic proteins that can paralyse and prevent blood from clotting.
Komodo dragons can also eat up to 80 percent of their body weight in one go, too.
As we headed through the bush, our guide pointed to a baby Komodo dragon up in a tree. I couldn’t see it, but was a little unnerved at its impressive camouflage.
When they’re young, Komodo dragons climb trees to keep themselves safe from predators. Sometimes they can even be eaten by their fellow Komodo dragons.
Moments later, a wild pig rustled by as we passed lemon basil bushes, which filled the air with a beautiful scent. We spotted a deer and water buffalo through the trees as we continued on our mission.
Before long, our guide told us to stop.
There, mere feet away was a long Komodo dragon in our path. I was shocked at its size. Its belly hung down with the weight of a deer it had just eaten, our guide explained.
We stood back and watched the big beast waddle around. Our guide got between us and the Komodo dragon and took some photos of us standing nervously in the background.
After simply staring at the scaly creature for a while, we continued on our hike.
Our guide brought us through the lush jungle past streams and up onto long grassed hills. The entire time I felt a little nervous that there could be other Komodo dragons lurking in the grass.
When we reached the peak of our climb, we paused in the humid air to take photographs of the pretty view.
We didn’t see any other dragons on Komodo Island, at least not any real ones. We were glad to have seen such a big one up colose so early into our adventure.
Soon it was time to get back on the boat to do some more exploring of Komodo National Park.
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