Baluran National Park
This park is a forest preservation area that covers about 25,000 hectares of the north coast of East Java. The park offers some great scenery and has organised safari activities. Safari is a much misused term in Asian travel circles but in this case it is very appropriate - there is something very African about the savannah grasslands of Baluran. Of the three large national parks in East Java, this is the easiest reached and by far the easiest to travel around.
The value and unique nature of Baluran was first recorded in 1928 by Dutch botanist AH Loedeboer. Official national park status was granted in 1984 since which time the tourism potential o the park has slowly developed.
The dominant feature of the park is 1,247 m high Mount Baluran, a dormant volcano. The forest is mostly lowland savannah inland and monsoon forest with mangroves on the coast. 15 km from the main entrance there is beautiful white sand beach called Bama Beach with fringing mangroves and a healthy offshore coral reef. Some 40 km of the north coast of Java are within the boundaries of the park and include some areas with excellent, healthy coral reefs close to shore.
Flora and fauna
The center of area is the habitat of many exotic animals and birds such as wild pigs, deer, peafowl, indian jungefowl, some species of monkeys and the endangered java banten (buffalo).
Aside from Madura this is the driest corner of Java and from April to October it is very dry, dusty and hot. Outside of the dry season, the weather is very much like the rest of Java.
This is a large area with a lot of access roads leading through the park. Therefore if you are travelling independently, a hire car is a good idea. Visitors arrive here having driven from Surabaya, Malang and Bali - all very feasible.
Bemos and ojeks will take you from the main park entrance to Bama Beach.