Wakatobi National Park has very high marine resource potential, in terms of both species and uniqueness, with enchanting submarine landscapes. In terms of configuration, the marine waters of the Park generally start flat and then slope seawards, with sheer precipices in some parts. The water depth varies, the deepest parts reaching 1,044 metres with sand and coral at the bottom.
This Park has 25 chains of coral reefs, and the total circumference of the coral islands is 600 km. There are more than 112 species of coral such as Acropora formosa, A. hyacinthus, Psammocora profundasafla, Pavona cactus, Leptoseris yabei, Fungia molucensis, Lobophyllia robusta, Merulina ampliata, Platygyra versifora, Euphyllia glabrescens, Tubastraea frondes, Stylophora pistillata, Sarcophyton throchelliophorum, and Sinularia spp.
There are about 93 species of ornamental and commercially valuable fish, including the napoleon wrasse (Cheilinus undulatus), peacock grouper (Cephalopholus argus), bluespine unicornfish (Naso unicornis), titan triggerfish (Balistoides viridescens), two-spot snapper (Lutjanus biguttatus), spotted rabbitfish (Siganus guttatus), tomato anemonefish (Amphiprion frenatus), ovalspot butterflyfish (Chaetodon specullum), beaked coralfish (Chelmon rostratus), longfin bannerfish (Heniochus acuminatus), one-spot snapper (Lutjanus monostigma), and gold-banded fusilier (Caesio caerularea).
Among the recorded species of sea bird are the brown booby (Sula leucogaster plotus), Malaysian plover (Charadrius peronii), common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis); while certain species of turtle can also be seen, such as the hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata), loggerhead (Caretta caretta), and Pacific ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea).
The indigenous people who live around the Park belong to the Bajau tribe. Mention is made in the writings of ancient Chinese and European explorers of these legendary sailors who had managed to reach the distant shores of Merqui, Johor, Singapore, Sulawesi and Sulu. Of all the traditional seafaring communities throughout southeast Asia, only the Bajau have held on to their way of life. Locals spear-fishing on the sea bed without the aid of diving equipment are still a common sight.
Hoga Island (Kaledupa Resort), Binongko Island (Binongko Resort), and Tamia Resort are interesting places to visit, especially for diving, snorkelling, marine tours, swimming, camping and cultural visits.
Best time of year to visit: April to June and October to December.
How to reach the Park: From Kendari to Bau-bau by speedboat (twice a day), 5 hours; or by ordinary boat, 12 hours. From Bau-bau to Lasalimu by car, 2 hours, and then by speedboat to Wanci, 2.5 hours. Wanci is the first point of entry to the Park.