There has been a lot of news recently about the possibility of Indonesia’s Komodo National Park closing for one year starting January 2020. Through a series of misleading headlines, the news has brought about a lot of confusion. Unfortunately, sensationalist headlines are leading to many potential visitors to the park to question their plans. In our opinion, misleading and sensationalist headlines can and will have serious effects on the lives and jobs of many thousands of people who work and live in the Komodo area.
We would like to take a moment to address some of the confusion and answer some Frequently Asked Questions.
1. Is it true that the closure is 100% confirmed for January 2020?
At this point in time nothing has been confirmed, the closure and possible timetable is still in process and has not been approved.
2. Will the entire park be closed?
No. It is not a shutdown of the whole park, just one island. The possible closure will only affect Komodo Island itself, it will not affect the islands of Rinca, Padar, Gili Moutang, Gili Lawa Laut and numerous other islands within the park.
The potential shutdown will not affect divers and snorkelers. All marine based activity will still be allowed.
3. If I can still go to Komodo to dive, will I also be able to visit the Ranger Station and see Dragons?
Trekking and dragon watching with ranger officials will still be possible on the island of Rinca. In fact, the island of Rinca is where many dive and boat operators have always taken their guests in the past.
For liveaboard and cruise boat operators, they will also still be able to see the dragons in Horseshoe Bay, which is located at the southern end of Rinca.
4. Isn’t Manta Alley at Komodo Island? Will I be able to dive there?
Diving will still be available at Manta Alley at the southern end of Komodo Island.
5. Will I be able to walk to the panoramic viewpoints on Gili Lawa and Padar?
Walks will still be available to the lookout point atop Padar Island. At the moment the viewpoint on Gili Lawa is closed.
In short, a closure of Komodo Island itself is positive news. It will take some of the pressure off of the dragons who make this island their home. The closure will have very little effect on anyone visiting the area on a boat and all normal activities will still be available.
Please keep in mind that the answers to these FAQs are from the information that is currently available to the public. Plans can change in the future so please stay tuned for further updates.
This information was kindly shared with us by members of the Indonesian Liveaboard Association, Jangkar, which Coralia Liveaboard is also part of.