INDONESIA’S eastern islands, known collectively as Nusa Tenggara, stretch from the western island of Lombok to Timor in the east. Here the region is markedly different from the rest of the country. The climate is drier and more evocative of Australia than of tropical Bali. Komodo, hilly and desolate, is sandwiched between Flores and Sumbawa islands and has only one village, Kampung Komodo, a Bugis fishing settlement on its eastern shore.
Dolphins are a common sight in the seas between Komodo and Flores and the area is also on a Whale migration route. The reefs offer good snorkelling and some of the best diving in Indonesia, especially with Manta Rays. Buffalo, Deer, Wild Pigs and Birdlife are all plentiful on land but the most remarkable attraction is its endangered monitor lizards, Varanus Komodoensis.
The Komodo Island monitors, known also as ‘Komodo Dragons’ or ‘ora’ are the largest living lizards on Earth and found only on Komodo, Rinca, and Western Flores islands. An average adult can measure up to 3 meters long and weigh 136 kilograms but despite its size can move quickly on the ground and is an agile swimmer and climber. These lizards have a dark gray, stocky body and stout, powerful legs with sharply clawed feet. Their heads are large and their long, forked tongues are used to sense the air following the scent of prey which consists of wild pigs, deer, water buffalo, goats, birds, and other monitors.