Location and topography
Wakatobi National Park is located south-east of Sulawesi, between 05°12’-06°10’S and 123°20’-124°39’E, between the Banda Sea to the north-east and the Flores Sea to the south-west.
It consists of four larger islands: Wangi-Wangi, Kaledupa, Tomia and Binongko, as well as many small islands such as Tokobao, North Lintea, South Lintea, Kampenaune, Hoga and Tolandono. The highest elevation is 274 metres (899 ft) on Wangi-Wangi, followed by Lagole Hill (271m) on Tomia, Terpadu Hill (222 m) on Binongko and Mount Sampuagiwolo (203 m) on Kadelupa. The water depth varies, with the deepest parts reaching 1,044 metres (3,425 ft).
It is the third largest marine park in Indonesia. Jacques Cousteau is said to have called the Wakatobi islands – then known as the Tukangbesi islands: an “Underwater Nirwana”. Now a national marine park covering the entire Waktobi District, it comprises 1.4 million hectares, of which 900,000 host tropical coral reefs. Wakatobi has the highest number of reef and fish species in the world. The islands are form the largest barrier reef in Indonesia, second only to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. It is the habitat of large and small fish species, dolphins, turtles and whales. The island group comprises 143 islands of which 7 are inhabited, counting a total population of around 100,000. Most notable are the Bajo communities, seafaring nomads who inhabit many of Indonesia’s remote islands.