Situated in the border of three regions, Jember, Situbondo and Banyuwangi, Meru Betiri National Park has very vast areas. Each region may have different flora and fauna due to their landscapes. Among those regions, Situbondo has unique landscape which makes you feel as if you were in Africa. No wonder if this place is often called Africa van Java.
Being accustomed with the wood or even a jungle, the savanna view of Baluran really caught my eyes. After escaping from the evergreen wood, the grassy plain with few trees was totally appealed me. It was my first time to see savanna. It felt so spacious.Then, there is a huge tree stands alone in the middle of the savanna. In front of that tree, there is a huge sign written “Bekol” which is the name of the spot of that area. That tree and that sign are the landmark of Baluran I think. Most Indonesian tourists, teenagers especially, take picture with the lonely tree or “Bekol” sign along with them in order to show they have been there before. Forget not, they upload their photos on Instagram along with this kind of mainstream caption,
“This tree expresses my true feeling. . . .alone. . . and. . . lonely. . .”
The good thing to visit Baluran in the afternoon is that animals are likely to show up in these hours. We were lucky enough to see many kinds of animals such as monkeys, buffalos, lutung or langur, many kinds of birds, sea cucumbers (we found them in Bama beach, when it was low tide), etc. About a kilometer from Bekol, there are some homestays which cost started from Rp 150k – 600k, whether it is per room or per homestay. The price varies. It depends on the facilities offered. So my tip, if you want to book a homestay, it would be much cheaper if you go there with a group consists of 4-5 people at least.
We continued visiting Bama beach. It was the last spot we visited because it was going to be sunset soon. We did not want to spend sunset in the beach because of two reasons. First, we, the four girls, did not want to enter the evergreen wood in the dark. Second, Bama beach lies in the east side of Java, so sunset cannot be seen from this beach, so what’s the point? The result, we watched the exotic sunset in the savanna. It was sweeter and warmer to see. We were chasing the sunset! Yay!
However, we did not explore all areas of Baluran. We were rushed by time. Actually there were some spots left to visit such as the tower, where you can see this savanna from above, the mangrove wood, etc. Too bad actually, yet I was satisfied enough with this trip. Enough talk. See you later!
How to get there
Go ahead to the North from Ketapang harbor. Just follow the road until you find the sign of Baluran, Meru Betiri National Park. Use Google Map. It does help you!
For domestic tourists, it costs Rp 15k per person including Bama beach.