A 25,000 ha of preserved forest – the Baluran National Park is situated in the northern coast of East Java. It’s a typical savannah you normally see in Africa – but this National Park offers wonderful and unique sceneries of the wildlife in Indonesia.
Once a hunting ground, Baluran officially became a National Park in 1984. It is part of the effort to protect wild animals and preserve plant species that’s becoming rare these days. As a family-friendly destination, Baluran offers Africa-like safari adventure in Asia.
The vegetation is a home to thousands of tropical plant species including Tamarind, Pecan nut trees, Maja and many more. 15 km from the park entrance, there is a white sandy beach offering mangrove and coral reef views, the Bama Beach.
Once you enter the forest, you can get the opportunity to observe hundreds of bird species from Peacock to Hornbills that fly above you. The park becomes a habitat for wild pigs, peacocks, and wild chickens. If you are lucky, you can witness water buffalos bathing in the mud!
Baluran lies on the slope of Mount Baluran. It’s a rare thing to have a savannah in a tropical island like Java. Many rare species such as Black Panther and Java Leopard are supposed to inhabit this area but somehow, visitors don’t spot them much.
The area of Baluran National Park is divided into 3 parts
Gua Jepang literally means Japan Cave. The cave got its name after it became the silent witness of the conflict between Indonesian army against the Japanese. There were many Indonesians died in the battlefield. The cave stretches 12 km long with 2 chambers consisting of the south chamber for fissure and the northern part for armory storage.
The savannah takes the largest part of the whole national park. Savana Bekol has the taste of African desert. The dry climate makes this grassland a huge field with the feel of laid-back atmosphere. From here, you can view Mount Baluran on the backdrop – making it a unique national park.
Some of the animals to spot are Javanese wild ox and deers, Asiatic wild dogs, wild pigs, squirrels, water buffalos, peacocks and more. There is an observation deck where you can view the whole savannah in an elevated ground.
Once you pass the huge savannah, you will finally reach the fantastic beach, Bama Beach. Near the shoreline, there is a mangrove forest where you explore further to see long tail monkeys (Macaque) hanging on the trees. There are lodges and camp equipments available in the area.
People come to Bama Beach for sightseeing and snorkeling. It’s a great place to view the beautiful marine life with the depth of reefs up to 40 m below. Snorkeling equipments can be rent on the spot.
As the easiest national park to be accessed in Indonesia, Baluran National Park is a vast land that it’s recommended to use car when visiting the area. At the entrance, there are some locals rent their cars and motorbike that can take you inside with negotiated price. Situated in Situbondo Regency, the dry-climate park is fairly close to Bali and Madura islands. Baluran National Park lies between Madura Strait on the north and Bali strait on the east.
The trip to Baluran National Park takes around 6 hours by car, from Surabaya city. Or, if you are coming from Banyuwangi, it takes 1 hour drive to reach the place. The streets are well paved so it’s fairly easy to find this national park as there are many signboards along the way.
Once you arrive, you will pass a big gate of the National Park and you can purchase the entrance tickets at the tourist information center on your left.
The best time to visit
It is recommended to visit Baluran in dry season (April – October). The land gets extremely dry so there is no muddy area and the grasses are cut short. It’s pretty much comfortable to walk around. You will more likely to spot mammals during the dry season. To visit the whole area, you can spend your half day exploring the national park.
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