I never thought it is possible to do a safari in Southeast Asia with real Asian big animals, well, other than the one in Calauit in Palawan which are actually imported African wildlife, until we visited Baluran National Park with its extensive lowland forest and savannah which covers around 40% of its total land area. Although I know of big Asian mammals, I was with the impression that these are all forest species. But I was wrong! There is actually a real savannah in East Java, Indonesia and it has several animals that are worth seeing.
Baluran National Park is located in Situbondo Regency, East Java and covers a wide area, 25,000 hectares with Gunung Baluran, an extinct volcano it’s highest point. The national park has an extensive number of species of both flora and fauna and among the big mammals are the banteng, an Asian species of buffalo, the Indian muntjac, a kind of deer, the lutung, beautiful type of arboreal monkey, the mouse deer, a fishing cat, the Javan leopard and even a Sumatran dhole, a kind of wild dog.
We were a bit tired from the Kawah Ijen climb but after a brief lunch, we proceeded to the national park. From the main entrance, it’s still several kilometers to the main savannah observation area thus, along the way, along a rough road, one can already see interesting birds and several species of butterflies. There was a jungle fowl, a beautiful peacock with its fascinating tail but I just saw these two briefly as our bus passed.
There were several big animals in the savannah but because of the far distance from our observation point to where these mammals were actually grazing, it was difficult to tell other species but I think we just saw two: a herd of bantengs and Indian muntjacs. Good thing that I brought with me my supertelephoto lens but even with the around 300mm+ focal length, I was only able to take photographs enough to have a closer image. Other than that, a band of macaques were roaming near the park buildings, some were raiding the garbage cans while others, enticed with the bread the bus drivers gave, came closer.
I think to better appreciate the park and not just the savannah, exploring the low land as well as the mangrove forest should be done.
Baluran National Park
Situbondo Regency, East Java
This trip made possible through the Wonderful Indonesia program of the Ministry of Tourism. Check out the official website, or follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. But don’t forget to Like my Langyaw Media Facebook page for updates.
For stories during my WONDERFUL INDONESIA trip, click on the TRIP OF WONDERS tag.