Tendering from the ship, you'll arrive at the Komodo Jetty where your exploration of Komodo National Park commences. The world-renowned great wildlife island of Komodo is the desolate domain of a fierce and very rare species of reptile that bears the looks of a prehistoric dinosaur and is appropriately called a Komodo Dragon. A clear indication of Komodo National Park's biological importance is its ranking with UNESCO as both a World Heritage Site and a Man and Biosphere Reserve.
The Komodo Dragon is thought to be the remnant of a once widespread ancient order of monitor lizards. Today, fewer than 300 of this protected species remains and its continuing existence hangs in the balance. Often measuring up to 11 feet in length and weighing in at over 300 pounds, this ominous looking creature, with its sharp, saw-like teeth and menacing eyes, leaves a lasting impression on all who have had the opportunity to see it up close. Living on deer and wild pigs that inhabit the island, it is surprisingly agile when covering short distances and a good swimmer.
Once you are ashore, you will be met by your local tour guide to begin your walking expedition of the island. Traveling in small groups with your guide and a park ranger, you'll make your way down footpaths that lead through pockets of thorny vegetation and dry tropical grasslands, senses heightened with anticipation that the dragons will make an appearance. This first-hand look at Komodo will also serve to acquaint you with the other notable species that inhabit the island, as well as the rich surrounding marine environment. Informative commentary will be provided by your expert guides as you navigate this utterly unique locale. Following your guided tour, you'll return to the jetty for your tender transfer back to the ship.
Please note: Total tour duration can vary, dependent on the location of the Komodo Dragons and the pace of the participants. The tour may include up to 1 1/2 hours of walking, dependent upon the trail to be followed that day which is determined by the Rangers who have scouted out potential sites where the Komodo Dragons may be found. Furthermore, the tour may travel over dirt paths that can become muddy and strenuous if there have been recent rains; therefore, it is not suitable for wheelchair guests or those with mobility concerns. Caps, sun-protective clothing, sunscreen and comfortable, easily cleaned walking shoes are highly recommended. It is also suggested that a plastic bag be brought along for items you do not wish to get wet in the event of a sudden tropical downpour, which can be a common occurrence. As the Komodo Dragons are not artificially fed and roam the island freely in search of their own food, there is a possibility you may not see any during the course of your tour. The park charges a fee for cameras and video equipment that ranges from $8.00 - $18.00 which must be paid in cash at the park entrance.