I got in touch with my inner NatGeo explorer when I traveled to Baluran National Park in Java Island, Indonesia. I took this photo while stalking a herd of Java Rusa Deer (Cervus timorensis russa). You could tell from their scared beady stares and guarded stance that they were aware of my presence. As I came closer (to get better pictures) a few male stags with intimidating yet beautiful antlers came out of the tall bush and led the herd deep into the forest, where no NatGeo explorer-wannabees could pester them.

The 25,000-hectare expanse of Baluran National Park was situated at the northern shores of West Java province in Indonesia. The park offered organised safari activities in addition to picturesque landscapes dominated by 1,247meter high Mount Baluran, a dormant volcano. I didn’t get to join the organised safari tours. Instead, I explored Baluran National Park on my own.

When I visited the park in March, during the rainy season, the Bekol Savannah was lushly covered with tall grasses and littered with rainwater ponds. I did not see the arid Africa-esque scenery that I’ve seen in pictures, but the rainy season was supposed to be the best time for wildlife sightings at Baluran National Park.

Aside from deers, I also saw Black Monkeys, Green Peafowls, Malabar Hornbills, small birds (that I couldn’t identify), colorful butterflies, interesting trees, and a LOT of Long Tail Macaca monkeys.

I thought it was amazing that I was able to encounter that much wildlife just by walking around (without a guide) on my two-day visit.