Selamat datang di Wakatobi - Welcome to Wakatobi

Located at the heart of the Coral Triangle, one of the most diverse marine ecosystems on the planet, Wakatobi boasts an abundance of marine wealth and perhaps the clearest water in the world. Besides world-class diving, many lonely islands, unspoiled by tourism, await your arrival.

Welcome to Wakatobi - Photo by Guntur

Amazing Landscape

Be ready for the mesmerizing aerial view of Wakatobi before landing, with emerald-like atolls stretching over the turquoise-blue sea, bathed in brilliant sunshine. The wooden stilt houses of the Bajo people seem to float above the pristine water, close to the white sand beaches.


Underwater Paradise

Wakatobi offers more than 50 spectacular dive sites, which are easily accessible from the main islands. Its high visibility promises excellent diving year-round, regardless of the weather conditions. The underwater paradise can be enjoyed through a range of different dive types—from wall dives, slopes and seamounts to drift diving, pinnacles and channel diving.


Marine Diversity

The reefs in the area are home to over 396 identified coral species and a lavish array of marine life. Previously known as the Blacksmith Archipelago, its marine and cultural diversity has seen Wakatobi listed as a UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve. In addition to offering the perfect playground for divers, the diverse island cultures also complement the area’s underwater world.


Culture and Nature

From the mysterious seafaring Bajos, to the transcendental dances from kingdoms past and the heritage of ruins hidden in the forests, there is so much waiting to be discovered. The bountiful flora and fauna, with lush forests, endless mangroves, ancient springs, endemic birds and the famous flying foxes are bound to awaken your wild spirit.


General Information

The chain islands of Wakatobi lie south east of the orchid shaped island of Sulawesi and separated by the deep Banda Sea to its north and east and the Flores Sea to its south. Just as diverse as the acclaimed underwater life is the culture of the various people who mainly are of Buton, Bajo and Bugis. Only 7 of the 143 total islands belonging to Wakatobi are inhabited.

Most of the total population of approximately 120.000 inhabitants live on one of the four major islands. The name Wakatobi is in fact an acronym of these four islands: Wangi-Wangi (WA), Kaledupa (KA), Tomia (TO) and Binongko (BI). Before being called Wakatobi it was known as Kepulauan Tukang Besi, the Blacksmith Archipelago.

Seasons

Dry Season: May to August
Rainy Season: December to April

The best time to visit is from October to December or March to May. In these months the wind is relatively calm, making it easier to travel the sea.

Temperature

Wakatobi is drier than the rest of the country and the most main islands are protected by the surrounding islands and reef. The temperature ranges between 26 - 30 degrees Celsius all year round. Air humidity is mostly only about 75-85%.

Wind

Usually between 2 and 5 knots maximum.

December to April: from the West
June to October: from the East
November and May: changing

Due to the effects of climate change these seasons have been becoming less relia-ble in the past years.


Wakatobi National Park

Wakatobi National Park is located in Sulawesi Tenggara Province with an area of 1,39 million hectares. Geographically, the islands of Wakatobi are located between Longitude 123.15’00’’ 124.45’00’’ and latitude 05.15’00’’ 06.10’00.’’

Sea Turtle - Photo by Wakatobi Regency

The national park began as marine conversation reserve following recommendations from a survey conducted in 1989 by the General Directorate of Forestry and Nature Conservation in collaboration with World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). The survey results indicated that Wakatobi possessed abundant marine natural resources such as extensive coral reefs, fish and habitat diversity resulting in a wonderful underwater panorama.

Wakatobi Islands therefore became a national park based on a decision from the Ministry of Forestry in July 1996. According to the decision the area of the national park includes 1.39 million hectares containing 5 different zones: core zone, rehabilitation zone, protection zone, exploitation zone and traditional exploitation zone.

The types of reef include barrier, fringing, patch, and atoll reefs. The four main oce-anic islands are generally speaking dry, hilly and covered by dry tropical forest. The smaller islands are low lying with elevations of just a few meters. Wakatobi National Park has a rich coral diversity, some 400 types of hard and soft corals have been identified so far, with many more remaining undiscovered.

There is a vast and very diverse range of maritime creatures living in the waters around Wakatobi National Park. Each marine animal in their own way plays an important role in the complex web of life sustaining the rich environment. Because a collapse can easily occur, all species have to receive a special protection ensuring that the national park’s coral reefs continue to thrive.


Flora and Fauna

From the arid island of Binongko, with its moon-like landscape full of jagged volcanic rocks, to the humid swamps of Kapota and the lush green forests of Kaledupa; the natural diversity of Wakatobi is representative of the beauty that characterizes Indonesia. The natural environments vary from island to island, each with their own unique charm, capturing the diversity that many travelers find the beauty of Indonesian archipelago.

Flying Fox - Photo by Putri Kirana

In addition to the coral reefs of Wakatobi National Park, six types of vegetation can be found on the islands: Mangrove forest, coastal forest, lowland swamp forest, riverbank vegetation, lowland rainforest and mountain rainforest. Beyond these vivid displays of flora, many arid areas, where few plants can survive in the rocky ground, hint at the volcanic origins of the islands.

Mangrove forests play a vital role in the ecological balance of the islands and the surrounding ocean. The Indomalayan biogeographic realm (in which Wakatobi is located) is home to a diverse range of mangroves. Not only do they provide protection for the shoreline from storms and tsunamis, they form a substantial part of the ecosystem of the surrounding waters.

In Wakatobi, mangroves are closely associated with extensive sea-grass beds and reefs. Fish use the mangroves as safe high tide feeding grounds and nursery areas. But it is not just the lives of the fish that are intertwined with the mangroves; scrubfowls build huge nests in the mangroves that can reach over 2m high, while white-bellied sea eagles nest in mature trees that offer just the kind of niche these birds require. Mudskippers, amphibious crabs and monitor lizards all inhabit the ground below the mangroves, while colorful butterflies play overhead. The mangroves also feed the surrounding ocean with essential organic carbon and nutrients. These fascinating ecosystems can be found throughout Wakatobi, and can be explored either by boat, on foot or even with a motorbike.

Birds

With over 85 species, the most astonishing diversity among the above water species of Wakatobi can be found among its birds. From the prolific mangrove forests, which are protected by local law and NGOs, to the small islands around Limbo Langge, to the unexplored reaches of Binongko and the many areas yet to be discovered, numerous rare species of bird can be found.

Indonesia itself has the highest number of endemic birds of any country on the planet —some 383 species. The country is also a transit route for many birds that migrate between Australia and the islands of the Pacific Ocean. With so many islands and so many isolated habitats, speciation (the formation of new and distinct species in the course of evolution) is also common.

Recent studies on the bird populations of the Wakatobi archipelago have revealed that many smaller bird species are morphologically and genetically distinct from their mainland relatives. The outcome of this work could earn Wakatobi international recognition as an Important Bird Area.

A recently discovered species is the Wakatobi flowerpecker (Dicaeum kuehni). Re-search conducted by Trinity College Dublin has shown that these birds are distinct from the grey-sided flowerpecker (Dicaeum celebicum), which is endemic to Indone-sia. Wakatobi flowerpeckers do not cross the ocean to the mainland and thus do not mix or interbreed with their mainland relatives. They are also significantly larger. But this one particular evolutionary divergence is really just the tip of the iceberg.

The best places for bird watching in Wakatobi include the mangrove forests and small islands that surround Limbo Langge on Kaledupa Island, Sombano Lake and the mangrove forests of Tomia Island, Lentea Island and Sowa Mangrove Forest on Binongko Island.

 

• Common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)
• Moluccan king parrot (Alisterus amboinensis)
• White-browed crake (Amaurornis cinerea)
• White-breasted woodswallow (Artamus leucorhynchus)
• Ivory-backed woodswallow (Artamus monachus)
• Striated heron (Butorides striatus)
• Plaintive cuckoo (Cacomantis merulinus)
• Yellow-crested cockatoo (Cacatua sulphurea)
• Malaysian plover (Charadrius peronii)
• Grey-sided flowerpecker (Dicaeum celebicum)
• Sulawesi drongo (Dicrurus montanus)
• Hair-crested drongo (Dicrurus hottentuttus)
• Pied imperial pigeon (Ducula bicolor)
• Elegant imperial pigeon (Ducula concinna)
• Little egret (Ergretta garzetta)
• Pacific reef heron (Egretta sacra)
• Rufous-throated flycatcher (Ficedula rufigula)
• Barred dove (Geopelia maugei)
• Collared kingfisher (Halcyon chloris)
• Orange-footed scrubfowl (Megapodius reinwardt)
• Island monarch (Monarcha cinerascens)
• Olive-backed sunbird (Nectarinia jugularis)
• Nankeen night heron (Nycticorax caledonicus)
• Black-naped oriole (Oriolus chinensis)
• Australian golden whistler (Pachycephala pectoralis)
• Osprey, sea hawk (Pandion haliaetus)
• Great cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)
• Glossy ibis (Plegadis falcinellus)
• White-browed Crake (Poliolimnas cinerea)
• Rusty-bellied Fantail (Rhidipura teysmanni)
• Spotted dove (Streptopelia chinensis/Spilopelia chinensis)
• Great-billed parrot (Tangynathus megalorynchos)

Diving in Wakatobi

Due to its magnificent underwater life, Wakatobi is fast gaining worldwide attention for its quality dives that suits all levels. Beginners to divers with uncountable logged divers, nobody is disappointed by the abundance of Wakatobi underwater world.

Located right in the heart of the Asia-Pacific Coral Triangle, in the province of South East Sulawesi, the islands of Wakatobi offer crystal clear pristine waters and a rich bio-diverse underwater life. A true paradise for Divers, this is one of 3 hearts in the World Coral Triangle that stretches from the Solomon Islands in the Pacific to Wakatobi, and further North to the Philippines.

Underwater visibility is mostly between 20 m and 50 m, with an average of 35 m. There are no rivers or lakes bringing sediments, therefore visibility is not affected by rain. Visibility stays perfectly fine throughout the year.
In Wakatobi you can dive the whole year. However the best time to dive is from March to May and September to November because this are usually periods of relative calm weather conditions in the Banda Sea- in which the islands are located. The climate in Wakatobi National Park is drier than the rest of the country and most main islands are protected by smaller islands and reefs. Due to climate change this has been changing in recent years and becoming less reliable.
From December to February and from June to August. This also means high waves. This has also become less steady in the recent years.
25-30°C. A 3mm shorty should be sufficient. If you feel the cold easily a 5mm shorty is advisable.
5 -> 50m.
Are generally gentle. Some spots may vary and it is advised to check the currents for every spot.
Usually calm. From December to February and from June to August is rainy season. This also means higher waves.
Beginner – Intermediate – Advanced. Wakatobi offers all.
So far around 70 dive sites have been mapped. Since the reef around Binongko is nowhere near being fully explored, this number will surely increase in the future.

Marine Diversity

While diving in Wakatobi, you won’t be able to shake the feeling that everything seems somehow unreal. The sheer abundance and diversity of underwater life gives the impression you are swimming through an aquarium. To understand this sensation, some hard facts about the national park’s marine diversity are required.

The total area of coral reefs in Wakatobi is around 54,500 hectares and includes fringing reefs, barriers and atolls. The area is also home to 396 coral reef species such as fungi coral, hard coral (non-scleractinian or ahermatipic), soft coral and scleractinian hermatipic coral.

Approximately 590 fish species from 52 families, in-cluding wrasse, damsel, grouper, cardinal, snapper and angelfish, can be found froicking in and traversing around the waters of Wakatobi National Park. The macro-world is especially vivid with 31 species of foraminifera and 34 species of stomtopoda inhabiting the reef flats, inner lagoons and sloping reef areas. 

Wakatobi is also blessed with 11 of the 12 known sea grass species in Indonesia. Plenty of sea mammals can also be spotted gathering around the islands. Scientists have recorded five species of whale in the area, namely beaked whales, pilot whales, sperm whales, Bryde’s whales and melon-headed whales. There are also five kinds of dolphin including bottlenose dolphins, risso dolphins, spinner dolphins and spotted dolphins.

Furthermore, you will also find many turtle inhabitants in Wakatobi, with Binongko home to the largest population. The turtles are from two species, namely hawksbill turtles and green turtles.

The national park also contains 11 fish spawning monitoring sites, known as Spawning Aggregation Sites (SPAG), at Kapota Coral, Hoga Channel, Otiolo Coral, Coral of Table City, Tomia Coral, Runduma, Kentiole, Binongko, Koko Coral and Moromaho.


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