Little Africa in Java
After more than five hours driving from Bali, we began to enter the area of Baluran National Park in Banyuputih village, Situbondo.
From the main gate, I could see the dry forest ecosystem, consisting of various savanna vegetation types, mangrove forest, monsoon forest, coastal forest, lower montane forest, swamp forest and evergreen forests throughout the year. However, only about forty percent of savanna vegetation types dominate Baluran National Park.
The team decided to spend the night in one of the inn provided by in this national park, and we continued exploration in the dawn of the next day. At five in the morning, I began to observe a set of large animals crossing the meadow, Baluran’s bull with a white mark on the back and its four legs looked like wearing socks.
During my observation, also seen a common buzzard and a snake eagle fly for foraging or just perched in the Pilang trees. Beautiful tailed male peacock is also seen foraging, as well as monkeys that move from one tree branch to another tree, and countless hundreds of small bird species.
We went on a safari to the pond where water buffalo bathing and drinking water. According to the staff, buffalo and bison never compete for water or food, rather they share it. The bull usually comes to wallow after a buffalo. They wait for the mud settles and the water came back clean, then Bull comes to drink the water. However, drought and shrinking water pose a threat to wildlife in the park. To save the bull and all animals in Baluran National Park, the staff provide a reservoir water tank which ready to fill the ponds where the Bull, buffalo and the deer looking for a drink.
In our cottage area, Bekol, there is a watch tower on the top of Bekol hill. From this tower, we observed different species of the wildlife in the morning. The tower is also suitable for observing the beautiful scenery around the area of Baluran in the afternoon.
Besides savanna, Baluran National Park area also includes a beautiful coastline. In the morning when the sun rises, the scenery in Bama is so compelling. Wild boars often come in the morning while we were eating, also in the afternoon and evening. Bama beach is rather flat and sandy white, has coral formations and beautiful ornamental fish. The beach is flanked by mangroves and filled with acacia plant. Despite the small size, it looks very natural.
In the final days, some members of the team decided to do the snorkeling activity, and some just swam. In Bama, Balanan, and Bilik, besides fishing, and diving, visitors can also see the attraction of animals such as buffalo, deer, elk, wild boar, and lizards. In the mating season in July to August, often seen fights between male deer.
Baluran National Park is still so beautiful, and really resemble the African landscape, so no wonder why this park is dubbed as Little Africa in Java. In addition to homes for wildlife, Baluran National Park is the best reunion place for the explorer and nature.