Baluran National Park, East Java

Baluran National Park is unique in many ways. It has a rich wildlife and maybe there are no other national parks that are so easy to visit and where it is so easy to see wild animals. You don’t even have to walk, unless you want to.

Efforts to get legal protection for Baluran started already in 1928 and in 1937 the area finally got its first kind of protection. Before that the area had been a hunting ground. Finally in 1984 Baluran got its status as a National Park.

The park covers an area of 25.000 hectares including 40 km of attractive coastline. Forty percent of the park consists of savanna, teeming with wildlife. A part of the park is overgrown by Acacia trees that once were brought in as fire walls, but then spread out of control.

The coast line consists of mangroves, beaches and some coral reefs. The reefs are on a depth of 0,5m to 40m and nice for snorkeling and diving. The beaches are beautiful and family friendly and the only other visitors are occasional fishermen.

The slopes of Gunung (mountain) Baluran are covered by secondary monsoon forest, which is very rare on Java. It is inhabited by many mammals and birds. Even the very rare Javan leopard or Black Panther are supposed to still live here, but do not expect to see them. The Leopard (Panthera pardus) is also present. The 1.246m high non-active volcano dominates the scenery of the whole park.

The park is relatively small, but has ten types of ecosystems and hosts a wide variety and big numbers of animals and plants. At the last count 140 bird species were spotted.

The main attractions are the Javanese wild ox (Banteng), Rusa deer, Barking deer, Feral water buffalo, Asiatic wild dog, and other species.

Other common sightings are Leaf monkeys, Monitor lizards, Squirrels, Fruit bats, Javan warty pig, Common palm civet, and many interesting bird species. The Green jungle fowl, the Red jungle fowl, and the Javanese peacock are common sights for most visitors. The park was once also inhabited by the Javan tiger.

The park has an observation tower on a hill at Bekol and some waterholes where animals easily can be seen from a distance. The best way to see the animals is from a safari-car, especially at night.

The Park is managed by a government body called PHPA. A permit is needed to enter the park. It can be obtained at the main gate. It is also included in the tours arranged by Rosa’s Ecolodge.

ACCOMMODATION & ACTIVITY AT BALURAN

ACCOMMODATION

Rosa’s Ecolodge is located next to the Baluran National Park in the traditional Madura village of Sumberwaru (often called Karangtekok) in the Situbondo Regency, East Java. The area, with the Baluran mountain as a back-drop, has a nice and romantic atmosphere with rice paddies, clusters of waving bamboo, coconut trees, cows and goats. Traditional cow carts move slowly through the landscape.

Rosa’s Ecolodge was built in 2001. It has a main building with reception and restaurant, and several comfortable and very clean bungalows built in Madura style, complete with air conditioning, spring beds, western style toilets, and hot water. Between 2010 And 2013 the owner Rosa Tambayong had to focus her attention to the deteriorating health condition of her husband Rene Tambayong. During these years she could not be available at the Ecolodge. Since the beginning of 2014 Mrs. Rosa Tambayong is back and has begun to revitalize and improve the Ecolodge.

At the moment there are six bungalows / rooms available, all newly renovated. They all have a private veranda facing a colorful garden. The style and atmosphere of Rosa’s Ecolodge is traditional and reminds of past times. This style is in Indonesia called “Tempo Doeloe”.

The restaurant has been improved with a more eco-friendly menu. We try to avoid factory produced food stuff and try to use as much locally produced raw materials as we can, and as far as possible organically farmed. We serve both local and international cuisine and have made a special effort on the breakfast. We consider all our guests personal friends.

Rosa’s Ecolodge also has a small hideaway in the rice fields. Here we often spend lazy afternoons drinking tea and rest tired legs after excursions in the national park.

SAFARIS, TREK AND TOURS

Rosa’s Ecolodge has developed a number of popular activities in- and outside Baluran National Park. These adventures have all different degree of comfort, length and need of fitness. From very easy to tough trekking, whether you are old or young, lazy or not, everyone can see the savannah and the animals.

We use several means of transportation: by foot, bicycles, safari cars and traditional fishing boats. Our popular safari cars have 4-wheel-drive and with seats on the roof for better view and observation possibilities. It is normally easier to get closer to the animals with a car. The animals are more shy if you walk and especially if you are a group of people. For visits to the beaches we use a Madura traditional fishing boat.

The Best Time

The rainy season is less attractive for trekking. The season after the rain are less suitable in some areas as the grass is meter high and very hard to trek through. The grass also makes animal sightings more difficult. However, this time the park is very beautiful with lush vegetation. The following period when the grass dries is the most ideal for wildlife watching. For this reason we change routes and programs in each safari in order to maximize the experience.

The best time to visit Baluran National Park is between July and November, however it can vary from year to year and vary for type of safari. June to November is the dry period when animals are easy to see and most of the land is dry enough for us to go everywhere. The rainy season is from December to May of which January and February are the wettest with frequent torrential rain. However, even January and February have still enough sunny days to make a visit worthwhile. The other months of the rainy season have occasional rains, just enough to keep the vegetation lush and green.

How To Prepare

Below we have compiled a few tips that can be useful. Remember that walking on the savannah with its thorny trees, being on the beach, and walking in villages can be very different. Use your common sense and don’t underestimate the sun. Do not forget to charge the batteries to your cameras and video recorders. Bring enough of memory capacity.

The local community is Muslim. They very much appreciate “decent” dressing in the village. Ask us if you feel you would need advice.

What always to bring:

  • Sun lotion.
  • Sunglasses.
  • A jungle hat or straw hat against the sun and the thorny branches.
  • Camera and / or Video Recorder.
  • Binocular, especially if you want to watch birds.
  • A backpack with your personal belongings.

What to bring on safaris into the park:

  • Good walking shoes and socks.
  • Long sleeve shirt and trousers, preferably with a large content of cotton. Camouflage shirt and trousers will give the photographer an added advantage to get closer to the animals.
  • A flashlight is recommended for overnight-stays.
  • Available tents, sleeping mats, and water for the safari participants when appropriated and a First Aid kit.

What to bring on rural village tours:

  • Walking shoes.
  • Light but culturally acceptable clothing.

What to bring on boat trips:

  • Swimming gear.
  • Snorkeling gear will be provided for the tour participants.

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