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Diving in Komodo

The land of the dragons promises adventure and excitement. Whether you decide on a shore based stay or a liveaboard, you’ll be blown away by the scenery and the dive sites. The sheer abundance of marine life combined with kaleidoscopic coral reefs, pelagics, including reef sharks, manta rays and passing eagle rays will leave you wishing for more dives.

Diving in Komodo

Quick facts

Rugged, wild and packed with the promise of adventure – Komodo is one of Indonesia’s most famous diving destinations. Manta rays, sharks, immense schools of fish and colourful reefs are just few of the stars of Komodo. While Komodo is a popular liveaboard destination, staying on land in Labuan Bajo offers amazing sunsets night after night and increasing facilities for visitors. The area is well known for its strong currents and is often recommended for divers with experience. Komodo is relatively remote but if you want an adventure and incredible diving it should be at the top of your bucket list. Expect to find an array of dive sits perfectly suited for drift diving. Water temperature can be chilly, sometimes dipping below 77°F (25°C), so bring extra layers of neoprene or a hood on top of a basic 3mm suit to stay warm. It is possible to dive year round due to the dry weather. The north area of Komodo National Park is a good place for shark spotting at underwater seamounts. Visibility is usually quite good at 66-100ft (20-30m) and if the current is strong enough, a reef hook will come in handy, allowing you to relax and take in the action. This is also an area for exhilarating drift dives as there are several channels in-between the many islands with swift currents. One of the most interesting dive sites is Makassar Reef. This is a 1.2mile (2km) channel with a unique seascape featuring craters and dunes of small rocks which have been shaped by currents. It is often said that it looks like the surface of the moon. For macro lovers, Komodo National Park has plenty to offer as well. Sheltered dive sites boast a myriad critters hiding amongst slopes and walls of healthy hard and soft corals.

When to go

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USD 2,031Per person for 7 nights for 2 divers
USD 1,280Per trip
USD 1,704Per trip
USD 1,024Per trip
Tatawa Kecil – The small island of Tatawa Kecil has a big reputation with divers. In fact, this underwater playground is a Komodo classic. There’s a mix of swim throughs, small caves, bommies and valleys which harbour huge numbers, and a huge diversity, of fish including reef sharks, jacks, batfish, snappers, groupers, sweetlips and occasionally a passing ray. Cannibal Rock – A firm favourite with macro photographers and those wanting to see some of Komodo’s more unusual marine life, Cannibal Rock is home to frogfish, pygmy sea horses, nudibranchs and coleman shrimp. This seamount dive site is famous for invertebrate species and colourful soft corals and, being quite sheltered, it’s a good site if you want a break from drift diving. The Cauldron – True to its name, The Cauldron looks like the top of a boiling pot and the crater offers many nooks and crannies to explore. Explore the macro life down one side, then be prepared for the contrast when you reach the bottom and find yourself surrounded by big fish. You’ll leave The Cauldron via the channel where dense schools of small to medium sized fish congregate. Only after you’ve dived here will you truly understand why it’s so iconic. Batu Bolong – Marine life gathers here as though the huge rock pinnacle is a magnet drawing them in. In the blue, you’ll see sharks and tuna hunting while schools of smaller fish dart around in synchrony. On the pinnacle itself the colours will astound you along with the sheer number of small reef fish swimming in and out of corals trying to keep up with the action. Pillarsteen – Pillarsteen boasts incredible topography including a number of caves and swim throughs. Peering into many of the crevices don’t be surprised to find something looking back at you! Marine life highlights here include a range of crustaceans, moray eels, often a passing shark or turtle, and plenty of reef fish. If macro is more your thing, take a close look at the soft corals and you won’t be disappointed – this site has something for everyone.

What to see

Komodo might be most famous for its larger inhabitants – think manta rays, sharks, eagle rays, tuna, jacks, trevallies, bumphead parrotfish and Napoleon wrasse - but the abundance of smaller fish is phenomenal – prepare to be amazed.

Calendar

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Most likely sightingsPossible sightings

Area

The Komodo National Park consists of 26 small islands and 3 large islands which are Komodo Island, Rinca Island and Padar Island. The park is located between the provinces of East Nusa Tenggara and West Nusa Tenggara in Indonesia.

Discovered by scientists in 1912, the park was founded in 1980 with the objective of creating a conservation area for the Komodo dragon, the world’s largest lizard which is endemic to this area. The park was then declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1991.

Komodo National Park is one of the driest places in Indonesia and it gets extremely hot during May to October with a daily average temperature of 104°F (40°C). The dry climate suits the Komodo dragon, and also gives the park an interesting landscape of rugged islands and savannah type vegetation.

Nutrient rich currents from the South Pacific Ocean flow through Komodo National Park from the north, spilling into the Indian Ocean in the south. This has encouraged a great marine biodiversity to develop, making the park one of the top places to scuba dive in Indonesia. Liveaboard diving is the best way to experience the many dive sites which span over a very large area of 669mi² (1,773km²). Manta rays and sharks are frequently sighted, and the coral reefs are healthy and teeming with marine life.

Other attractions

Take a land excursion to see the Komodo dragons on Komodo Island or Rinca Island. Choose a guided tour lasting an hour or trek for several hours to spot Komodo dragons and other wildlife on the islands. Kayaking and snorkeling trips are also available from Labuan Bajo.

Getting there

Labuan Bajo is the nearest airport and is serviced by flights from Bali and Jakarta. Alternatively, there are several ferries and speedboats which depart from Sape and also tourist boats which travel from other islands in Indonesia like Lombok. Liveaboards depart from Labuan Bajo Harbour and accommodation and shore based operators are in the same area. Ask for an airport pick up to avoid been hassled when you arrive at the airport.

UTC+08:00

Time zone

IDR

Currency

+62

Calling code

220 V

Electric volt

C, 

F

Plug type

DPS

Main airport
Note - Travel to any destination may be adversely affected by conditions including (but not limited) to security, entry and exit requirements, health conditions, local laws and culture, natural disasters and climate. Regardless of your destination, check your local travel advisory board or department for travel advice about that location when planning your trip and again shortly before you leave.