Banyuwangi also boasts a number of national parks such as Baluran National Park, Meru Betiri National Park and Alas Purwo National Park. These are not the usual national parks you would see around South East Asia. These are the national parks which will give you a little sensation of African safari because of the vast savannah grasslands likened to those in Africa. After the worthwhile night trekking to Ijen Crater to watch the blue flame, our #tripofwonders entourage went on a bus ride to Baluran National Park.
The road crossing the savannah.
I remember the bus drove at 20km/h until we arrived at Bekol, an area famous for its savannah and animals roaming around. Bekol is located 12km inside the Baluran National Park. It serves as the main viewing point for the herds of animal to drink at the water hole and graze across the dry savannah. At Bekol, you would not miss the towering dormant volcano, Mount Baluran standing at 1,247m height.
I did not know who spotted the deers and barking deers (muntiacus muntjak) first, but he led the whole entourage across the savannah to meet the eyes with curious deers. Instead of scurrying away, the deers and barking deers craned their necks to have a better view of us, harmless visitors. Of course, we maintained a buffer zone to avoid scaring the deers and barking deers. Those with good tele-photo camera were able to capture pictures of the herd of deers. There were also huge feral water buffalos, which we saw quite plenty during the two hours we were in Baluran National Park.
Isolated Ziziphus nummularia plant surrounded by a herd of deers at Baluran National Park.
Messy horns you have there!
Spot me if you can.
I love how photogenic the animals are at Baluran National Park.
Being there in Bekol Savannah, seeing the herds of deers grazing the grass and the feral water buffalos took a dip at the puddles of water spread out across the savannah made me feel as though I was in African safari.
Because of the Baluran National Park safari short stint, I did not get to see the Javanese ox known as “banteng”, peacocks and the Javanese dhole or wild dogs. The easiest way to distinguih the banteng is the white legs of the banteng as though they are wearing white socks. To maximize your sighting, you need to consider staying for longer time and making early morning nature trekking and late evening nature trekking. Half a day trip is not enough.
Baluran National Park is still under radar for birding spot. Trust me it has huge potential as main player for birding activity. They have recorded 196 different species around Baluran National Park.
Another animals that you should be on the look-out are long tail macaques or monkeys.
At Bekol, there is a tower where you can see the aerial view of the savannah. Do you known savannah is also the habitat for cobra? Stay away from the savannah at all costs.
Enter the savannah at your own cost.
The other main attraction in Baluran National Park is Bama, a beach front savannah with a swamp. You can stay at Bama by pitching a tent or booking a basic hotel. You need to have atleast 2D1N or a full day to venture Baluran National Park.