Rinca

Rinca

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Rinca is slightly smaller than Komodo, close to Labuanbajo and easily done in a day trip. Boats arrive at the sheltered dock of Loh Kima, from where it’s a five-minute walk through the mangroves, home to long-tail macaques and wild water buffalo, to the PHKA station camp at Loh Buaya. Pay your fee here, and keep the entrance ticket if you’re heading to Komodo. Two types of guided walks are offered. An hour’s loop trail is included with your admission, or you could pay an extra 50,000Rp for a two-hour hike. As temperatures will inevitably be furnace-hot, most people opt for an hour’s walk close to camp.

There are supposedly no set dragon-feeding places on Rinca, but there are often a half-dozen massive beasts near the camp kitchen at Loh Buaya, so you do the math. As a result, finding dragons in the bush is not so easy, but the guides know spots where Komodo dragons sun themselves, and they’ll show you dragon nests (the females dig huge burrows to lay their eggs). Wildlife is much more abundant than on Komodo; in addition to the monkeys and buffalo you may find Timor deer, horses or even wild boar. Bird life includes spangled drongos, fish eagles, megapodes and orange-footed scrub fowl.

– Komodo & Rinca Islands

Komodo & Rinca Islands

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Nestled between Sumbawa and Flores, the islands of Komodo and Rinca, their jagged hills carpeted with savannah and fringed with mangroves, are home to the legendary Komodo dragon. The world’s largest lizard, known locally as ora, it can reach over 3m in length and weigh up to 100kg. It hunts alone and feeds on animals as large as deer and buffalo, both of which are found here. The males also try to eat the females’ eggs, inevitably sparking a vicious battle of the sexes.

These isolated islands are surrounded by some of the most tempestuous waters in Indonesia. The convergence of warm and cold currents breeds nutritious thermal climes, rip tides and whirlpools that attract large schools of pelagics, from dolphins and sharks to manta rays and blue whales. The coral here is mostly pristine. Add it all up and you have some of the best diving in the world, which is why nearly 50 liveaboards ply these waters between April and September when the crossing is smooth and the diving at its finest.

There are numerous hiking trails, but it’s not permitted to explore without an armed guide, a forked staff his only weapon, as dragons have very occasionally attacked (and killed) humans. Two villagers have died in the last 20 years, and in June 2012 a ranger was once again attacked on Rinca in his office. He survived. Dragons are generally a docile bunch, but they can snap your leg as fast as they’ll cut a goat’s throat. Respect the beasts.

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/indonesia/komodo-rinca-islands

Komodo

Komodo

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Spectacular Komodo, its steep hillsides jade in the short wet season, frazzled by the sun and winds to a deep rusty red for most of the year, is the largest island in the national park. A succession of eastern peninsulas spread out like so many fingers, fringed in pink sand, thanks to the abundance of red coral offshore. The main camp of Loh Liang and the PHKA office, where you can organise treks, is on the east coast. There are also rumblings of a new privately owned resort being built on the island, which would be a first.

The fishing village of Kampung Komodo is an hour-long walk south of Loh Liang. It’s a friendly stilted Bugis village that’s full of goats, chickens and children. The inhabitants are said to be descendants of convicts exiled to the island in the 19th century by one of the sultans in Sumbawa.

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/indonesia/nusa-tenggara/komodo-and-rinca