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Closer Magazine Winter 2013-14

INDONESIA www.fredolsencruises.com 25 In the east of Indonesia lies Komodo Island, which gives visitors a very different experience to Semarang. The island is best known for its spectacular nature, including a flourishing marine environment home to coral reefs, sea turtles, multi-coloured fish, manta rays and sharks. The most famous inhabitant is the Komodo Dragon. A truly exceptional prehistoric creature, it’s the largest living species of lizard on earth, reaching up to three metres in length and weighing over 70 kilograms. The dragons are dinosaur-like in appearance, with rugged, armoured scales, a long, forked tongue and up to 60 serrated teeth. They are fierce predators that feed on birds and mammals – it’s not unusual for the larger dragons to eat deer too – and their great sense of smell can help to locate dead or dying prey from over five miles away. With the assistance of a park ranger you can seek out these fascinating reptiles, observing them in their natural habitat. To protect the dragons the Komodo National Park was set up in 1980. An area encompassing the islands of Komodo, Rinca and Padar, it has since been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Between 3,000 and 5,000 Komodo Dragons exist on these islands today, however due to a scarceness of egg-laying females the species are still classed as endangered. One of Indonesia’s top beaches, the Pink Beach, is within the Komodo National Park. It is claimed to be one the world’s most impressive beaches. Covered with pink-white sand tinted by tiny fragments of red coral, it is excellent for swimming and snorkelling. Also in eastern Indonesia is the bustling city of Makassar (formerly known as Ujung Pandang), capital of south Sulawesi. The unique landmarks include the Trans Studio, one of the world’s largest indoor theme parks, and Masjid Amirul Mukminin, Indonesia’s first floating mosque. Be sure to visit historic Fort Rotterdam – a Dutch fort constructed during the 1670s – and the Balla Lompoa Museum. Its collections include the resplendent treasure and regalia of the former Sultan of Gowa, among which you’ll find the Gowa gold crown, bracelets with precious stones, royal swords and gold jewellery. Don’t miss the INDONESIA FACTS CAPITAL Jakarta AVERAGE TEMPERATURE HIGH 30˚C (Jakarta in Feb) CURRENCY Rupiah (Rp) The dragons are dinosaur-like in appearance, with rugged, armoured scales, a long, forked tongue and up to 60 serrated teeth


Closer Magazine Winter 2013-14
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