The full-day’s walk from the PHPA camp to the top of Gunung Ara, the highest point on the island, doesn’t promise dragon sightings, but it is absolutely extraordinary. It’s an arduous, excruciatingly hot march, but you’ll see scores of unusual plants, animals and birdlife, such as sulphur-crested cockatoos, brush turkeys and the megapode bird, which builds huge ground nests where its eggs are incubated in warm dung. Bring water and wear decent boots.
There are also regular guided walks from the PHPA camp to the Banunggulung river bed and to Sebita, one of the mangrove forests that are vital for providing shelter and food for the island’s populations of bats, birds, crabs and fish.
The seas around Komodo, though home to spectacular coral reefs and an abundance of fish, are laced with riptides, whirlpools, sea snakes, sea-wasp jellyfish and a healthy shark population, so stick to recommended snorkelling locations such as the excellent Pantai Merah. Many boat operators will include at least one snorkelling stop on visits to the island. If you visit between October and January, you may be lucky enough to catch sight of migrating whales.