During your MSC World Cruise in Indonesia, you will visit a land inhabited by dragons. Seriously! Off the eastern coast of the island of Sumbawa there is the Komodo National Park, a series of desolate yet incredibly beautiful islands which are the natural habitat of the Komodo Dragon.
Varanus komodoensis is the largest living lizard in the world; the largest specimen ever recorded was over 10 feet long and weighed 330 lbs., although typically adult males grow up to 6.5 feet in length and weigh 130 lbs. The Komodo Dragon hunts its prey by using its powerful tail or sharp claws to stun them before eating them. You should seek assistance if you are bitten by one, because its saliva is highly toxic.
As you will see during an MSC day trip, Komodo Island is characterised by its southern coast dotted with hills, mostly dormant volcanoes, while the northern side is flat with rice fields surrounding the main inhabited settlements. During your tour inside the National Park you will see deer, pigs and wild horses; always remember to wear comfortable shoes and bring along plenty of water.
Your cruise ship will land at Loh Liang, the main entrance to the Park, where you will find everything you need to prepare for your journey back in time. The hikes are challenging, but they are worth it, as you will have the opportunity to see unique plants and animals that look as if they have stepped out of a prehistoric world.
A visit to the riverbed of the Banunggulung River is a must, with its monitor lizards and Sebita mangrove forest. The waters around Komodo Island are full of corals and fish, although due to the presence of sea snakes, jellyfish and, above all, sharks, it is advisable to stay on the shore.
Between October and January, keep your eyes peeled for migrating whales.