Our next stop after Banyuwangi was Baluran National Park in eastern Java. At the station in Banyuwangi we found a driver who drove us for a few rupiah directly to the Bama beach in National Park. Baluran is the only place in Indonesia which looks like an African savanna. Therefore it is called Africa in Indonesia. You can watch wildlife there and see deers, large Javanese water buffalo, small Java mice, peacocks, eagles and macaques and much more wild animals. Baluran National Park is named after an extinct volcano Baluran.
Baluran has two main stations. Bekol is located in the middle of the national park where you can observe animals from the tower. Bama is a place on the beach where you will find simple accommodation. From Bama you can walk to Bekol and observe the animals there and then go back to Bama. We decided to stay the next two nights in Bama beach.
Entrance fee to the Baluran National Park is only 10 000 INR. At the entrance to Baluran we had to register in ranger station. Rangers need to know who is in the park. This is mainly due to tourist safety.
When we moved we really had the feeling that we are in Africa. This was mainly due to a completely different climate what I was accustomed in Indonesia. The moist warm air was changed to hot and dry. Everything around us was parched. This view in Indonesia was truly outstanding. We passed the first stop Bekol and had only about 5 km to Bama.
In Bama ranger offered us the cottage at the beach with two rooms and a common living room. We shared it with one guy from Spain who was alone in Baluran. For all three days we were only tourists there.
In Baluran you will be never bored because the whole neighborhood is full of monkeys. But these monkeys are rude and aggressive. Monkey guarded our house and wanted food. When we didn’t give them a food they wanted to attack us. So each of us had stick for protection. Rangers taught us that when the monkeys are too aggressive we must lift the stick and monkeys will run away. It worked perfectly.
Late afternoon we went for a walk to explore the area and observe animals in Bekol. On the way we saw many species of the trees in Baluran that you will not find anywhere else in Indonesia.
In Bekol you can climb the tower from where you can watch the whole region. The animals weren’t visible at that time. The best time to observe them is during the rainy season when they drink water from the lakes that are mainly situated around Bekol.
The sunset approached so we decided to go back. But the darkness started about halfway through the journey. It was too dark, because moon was below horizon. We had only poor light from our phones. We were in the middle of nowhere; we tried not to deviate from the path. We heard only the sounds of animals around us.
And suddenly we heard shooting. At that moment I realized that we are in danger. Because there is prohibition of shooting in the Baluran National park, shooting probably came from poachers. There weren’t another people at savanna that time. And generally it is not normal go deep to the national park without escort of rangers with strong light. So suddenly we realized that if poachers will see our movement, they can think we are animals andcan shoot us. So we tried to show them with our poor lights we are human beings . Luckily they stopped shooting.
In about half an hour we fortunately saw the light from the beach and we got to safety. We told the ranger about shooting, he immediately called others rangers and altogether went explore the area. Rangers were angry and wanted to find poachers. But sadly they didn’t find them.
In the evening we talked with rangers about their life in Baluran. After dinner the workers who built the cottages invited us to fish with them at sunrise. I really looked forward to that experience and another day in Baluran National park.