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. Rosa’s Ecolodge has snorkeling equipment available. 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. The official price for foreign citizens is today (May 2014) approx. US$ 20. There is a Japanese bunker at the main gate dating from WW II.
Rosa’s Ecolodge actively help conservation in Baluran. For example: financing a water hole in Bekol for animals and by cooperating with the ranger community of the National Park.