There’s no doubt that these man-eating Komodo monitor lizards, with their slimy mouths and stealthy habits, are scary as hell.
So why did I want to meet one? Well, it wasn’t shaking hands and exchange friendly greetings that I was planning, but rather observation from a safe distance. The lizards, however, had other things in mind.
What happens when you go dragon hunting
I’m going dragon hunting but my only armour is sunscreen and insect repellent. I’ve no intention of catching a dragon, my goal is to make sure a dragon doesn’t catch me because they eat people you know – it’s pretty simple really. Just call me Kaleesi, I mutter to myself as we walk in steaming heat down a tree-lined bath with crushed white coral crunching under our feet. (The current Kaleesi is Daenerys Targaryen, known as Mother of Dragons, for non Game of Thrones tragics.)
They like their meat rare
We are looking for Komodo monitors, known as Komodo dragons. This is largest living species of lizard growing up to three metres in length and weighing up to 70kg. They are a member of the monitor lizard family and once lived all across Indonesia and Australia. Their bite is reputed to be vicious and their mouth full of foul bacteria and an anticoagulant. Did I mention they like their meat rare and preferably moving?
Rules for dragon hunting
- No smoking – that’s the cigarette kind
- Stick together- they might just pick off the stragglers, just sayin’!
- Be quiet – we don’t want to let the dragons know we are coming.
- Make sure you have no blood on you.
- If chased by a dragon run in a zig zag pattern because they can’t.
- Stay close to the man with the forked stick because that’s the best protection you have (an Ed+bK original tip).
We are taking the short walk, about 40 minutes, because of the heat and we are hoping to see dragons at the first water hole. Although there’s a daily queue of visitors here, there is some danger as about four years ago a seven-year-old local boy was eaten by a dragon. He made the sad mistake of forgetting to wash his hands after gutting fish. Luck is on our side and at the muddy water hole we see one dragon and then another and then another. In the end the grand total is seven dragons.
This was a long day. The trip started at 4 am from Labuan Bajo and it took at least four hours sailing time to reach the island. The day continued after the dragon experience with snorkelling amongst coral and a quick visit to a pink coral beach. I didn’t know that dragon hunting was on my bucket list until I did it. It was one of my most memorable travel experiences and definitely worth the effort of travelling to the island. Recommended.
How do you get there?
Fly from Denpasar in Bali to Labuan Bajo in Flores and take the boat from there. We sailed from Labuan Bajo to Komodo Island and back with Plantaran Komodo Phinisi Vessels For more information on the area visit Flores Tourism Disclaimer: Ed+bK travelled as a guest of Garuda.