We stayed at the Satwa Elephant EcoLodge on a recent adventure trip through Indonesia. At the time, my travel compadre and I were the only two guests. A group of fifteen was to arrive a day or two after we departed. The cottages are clean and comfortable with warm showers. The food is excellent and we ate very well there. The staff was friendly and attentive but gave plenty of privacy as we used our three days there for total relaxation in between activities. We were able to visit the elephant center which seems to be the big draw of the park for Indonesians. From a "western" perspective it was a little depressing. A large tether field full of elephants surrounded by burning piles of dung...the elephants seemed well cared for and well fed but it goes against perhaps a more progressive view of animal welfare. Some of the elephants are used to assist in keeping the wild elephant population from destroying crops and minimizing conflict with the local people but I would be curious if some of these are being sold off to zoos and circuses. At any rate, the experience was made better by playing with a baby elephant just 20 days old. The baby we come over for a pet and a scratch before running and bumbling back to its mother (again and again). A lot of fun.
Other activities included a visit to the rhino breeding center. This is a well-run, professional facility with international support. They've recently successfully bred a Sumatran rhino and have hopes to breed more in this critically endangered species. I thought a visit here was very worthwhile. we also were treated to a Siamang sighting on the way to the center.
Other activities included a drive to Way Kanan ranger station and short boat ride to hike in tiger territory. Hari was our guide throughout our stay and he was outstanding with an excellent eye for wildlife and birds. We found fresh tiger tracks (Hari smelled fresh urine where the tiger had sprayed!) the shed skin of a king cobra, claw marking on trees from tiger and sun bears and saw many beautiful birds and various monkeys. The walk was for several hours but I'm sure could be shortened if desired. The likelihood of seeing a tiger is small but it's still quite interesting to see the fresh signs of tiger activity.
One of the most enjoyable activities was a boat trip down the Way Kanan River in the afternoon looking for wildlife. We were the only boat on the jungle river and again saw many monkeys (three species: pig tailed and long tailed macaques, and silvered langurs), several pythons balled up in the trees, birds of all kinds, sambar deer---we finally saw an estuarine or salt water croc which I thought perhaps are but as daylight ave way to night and we began spot lighting for wildlife we saw crocs all over---not a place to go swimming! The sighting of the night was a sun bear high in a tree --- he climbed down when we spotted another in a tree breaking open a beehive! It was a bi like Jungle Book! The night sky was sparkling with stars which is a thrill for so many of us that rarely go somewhere without significant light pollution.
The last activity was walking around the edge of the village at night spotlighting for slow loris's. In this particular night the little bugger made us work for it but we eventually found one. We also saw an owl and bats aplenty!
We found the EcoLodge an excellent base in Way Kambas (close to the park entrance) comfortable, friendly, excellent staff, very good food. I can highly recommend it. Ask for Hari as your guide if he's available. He's enthusiastic and really wants you to see the wildlife that he's spotted with his trained, keen eyes! There's no AC but we were plenty comfortable with the fans on...
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Satwa Elephant Eco Lodge opened in 2007 as the fourth eco lodge in the Ecolodgesindonesia group of lodges. Situated on the edge of The Way Kambas National Park, we aim to work with the park authorities to improve guest expereiences in this unique park with many endangered speicies (eg Sumatran Tiger, Rhino and Elephant). With 8 double or triple rooms, it is serviced entirely by staff from the local village in line with the companies policy of using local job creation as a Conservation measure. By coming to this lodge, you are supporting the thrust to show that fauna and flora can produce productive livehoods. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Satwa Elephant Eco Lodge Lampung/Bandar Lampung