Kalong Island – or commonly known as Koaba Island by the locals, meaning big bats or flying foxes – is a beautiful island tucked away from the northern part of Rinca Island. The island is covered in mangrove plantations, hosting thousands of flying foxes that live in the trees during the daytime to protect them from the heat of Komodo’s sun. As the day passes, these creatures can be heard waking up and communicating at around six in the evening. And moments later, be ready to watch in awe as they take off, fanning out in an endless black line over the delicate sunsets of Komodo National Park.
This nightly occurrence as dusk approaches is where the bats take the skies to hunt on the nearby Flores Island, returning only in the early morning. Don’t expect a sudden burst of the bat. Instead, they appear in waves, making it possible to track these flying mammals individually across the orange-streaked sky. If you’re lucky, you also might glimpse dolphins frolicking in the waters while you’re waiting for the aerial show to start. Not surprisingly, Kalong Island became a popular tourist stop when going on a Rinca Island tour. It is common to anchor next to Kalong Island on the way back to Labuan Bajo around 6 PM. It makes for a spectacular sight to see bats flying above dense mangrove forests, in the backdrop of the sunlight.