“A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.” – Tim Cahill
I still remember when we planned to go to Lampung. This time was our second road trip together. With few days only, it’s a bit difficult to decide where to go for our road trip. Indonesia is a huge country, Java itself is so big! It will need months or years to travel around Indonesia. Since we all don’t have such long days off, we finally decided to visit new places we haven’t been yet that not really that far from Jakarta. Lampung was our choice and visiting Camp Rhino is one of our main destination.
The way to go to Lampung.
What is Camp Rhino? It’s a place built in cause to save the endangered of Sumatran Rhinos. The beginning of establishing Camp Rhino started by being a observation post for a Sumatran Rhino called “Rossa”. Sumatran Rhino counted as endangered species in Indonesia. When they see a Sumatran Rhino around the forest, they named it Rossa and later on they decided to keep it and observe her so she can feel safe living in the forest. She first appeared in KM. 50 or now called as “Camp Rhino.”
Started by “Rossa” they continued to finding and protect endangered animals around Taman Nasional Bukit Barisan Selatan (TNBBS) near Camp Rhino’s area. Not only Sumatran Rhinos, they also found another endangered species such as Raflessia Arnoldi flower (a huge flower that smell so bad like a corpse body), Monkey Cups flower (a flower that having a cup fill with water and make insect comes to the flower and died there) and endangered animals as Tarsius Bancanus and Sumatran Rabbits. The nice fact to see Raflessia Arnoldi that we don’t need to walk that far. We only walked few meters from the Camp Rhino and we will find the flower. Only the problem when we were there, it’s not yet the blossom season. Usually, this rare flower only blossom 1-2 times a year. In the next month (February), Ujang told me that the flower might be blossomed. The funny thing is that flies can bring the pollen to the highest tree, that’s why some flowers can be seen up in the trees. When the flower is not blossom and still in the process, it will look so black and ugly. Just like a rubbish, but actually it’s a living flora.
Explaining about Monkey Cup flowers.
It is very interesting when we had opportunity to meet with Ujang and Uga, two faithful crew of Camp Rhino that care a lot with the continuance of the community to help protect the endangered animals. By their kindness, we can stayed in their base camp for a night and during that night, we talked a lot about the cause of Camp Rhino and what they did all this time. It was fascinating me to seeing the movie about Sumatran Rhinos. I thought they are big animals, but they’re not. They look so small and cute.
When we learned about “Rossa” the adorable rhino and how they bring her to gather with another Sumatran Rhinos in another part of National Park in TNBBS, it was really need lots of effort. They spent more than 1 month to trans location Rosa by walking in the forest. Days and nights. It was so much stuff to do for one animal, but it’s needed to protect them and make them able to still alive. Rhinos become endangered because some irresponsible hunters try to haunt them and sell their horn to illegal market.
If you have time, you can see this movie of how they guiding Rosa from Camp Rhino to TNBBS. By nature, Rhinos are shy animals. Rossa is very kind and friendly to human. In this movie, you can see how Rosa wants to keep close with people and nicely following her guide .
We were trekking for a while and I still remember exactly there are so many leeches in the forest, hahaha. I got lots of leeches bites here as well. But it’s also a proof that the forest still virgin and not so touristic. You will enjoy the atmosphere here. Our trekking ended when we finally see the monkey cups living wildly in the forest. It was so funny, after I visited Camp Rhino – I went to Penang Hill, there, we need to pay 15 RM to see monkey cups in a human’s made park. I was glad that I can see the flowers live wildly in forest rather than in a park. Even to see it, I need to lose my dirty blood to feeding the leeches 😛
Actually, we can stay over in Camp Rhino since they have a simple wooden house for guest. But you need to asked permit in advance – can not come there accidentally and ask to stay over in the house. The view is nice and you will like the feeling of blending with the nature. In this forest, even some tigers still sometimes pass by, so just be careful enough while trekking here, ok.
Facilities in Camp Rhino.
Once Uga, our friend, asked our opinions how to promote Camp Rhino. I said, writing about it is a way to promote the place. So many people outside which don’t know the existence about Camp Rhino, inviting travel bloggers also a way to promote the area. This place is still natural and has lots of good potential to be sold to tourist. With such a thoughtful organization, I believe it will be as famous as Way Kambas National Park or others destination in Lampung. First, Camp Rhino is not far from main road also it’s only few meters to see the endangered flower as Raflessia Arnoldi.
If you are interest to visit Camp Rhino, you can contact Balai Besar Taman Nasional Bukit Barisan Selatan. Jl. Ir.H.Juanda No.19 Kotaagung – Tanggamus 35751. Telp/Fax 0722 – 21064 e-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com web www.tnbbs.net or contact directly Ujang Suryadi, the nice guy who welcomed us in their place and explain us a lot about their activities ; firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, Phone : 081272888464 or Blackberry Pin 2A58F828. I hope more people give their attention and effort to protect endangered animals like them.
In another side, if you wanna come to Taman Nasional Bukit Barisan Selatan, this movie might give you a glimpse what will you encounter there :
Endangered species are our friends. – Yao Ming