Posts Tagged ‘monkeys’

4th January
written by Justin

After our really great diving trip out of Mabul Island, we moved on to the last part of my Malaysian adventure: the Kinabatangan river and the jungle areas near it.  This river is a really special place for seeing wildlife – there are several species of monkeys, orangutans, crocodiles, elephants, hornbills, eagles, and many more to be seen.  The reason it’s so special, though, is rather depressing – since so much of Borneo has been converted into palm oil plantations, the once-vast jungle around the Kinabatangan has been reduced over time to its current size – just 1 km to either side of the river.  There is simply nowhere else for the wildlife to go, so you can easily see it from the comfort of your riverboat.

Nevertheless, it is a place that still manages to feel like it’s out in the middle of nowhere.  We stayed at Nature Lodge Kinabatangan, one of many outfits that offers lodging and daily trips out on the river.  I picked this particular place because of both the good reviews it got on the Web and because of the price – which was far lower for the basic Kinabatangan adventure than many of the other spots.  In addition, the staff were responsive to my emails and informative in their replies – something that is rare in Borneo.  Our accommodation was sufficient – it was rather basic and small, but comfortable – and all the on-site staff were super friendly.

To get there, we took a rather nice coach from Semporna to a random “coffeeshop” – just a strip of restaurants on the side of the road – where we were supposed to meet up with the tour bus.  Of course (being Malaysia) the bus was late, but we met a few other couples on their way to the same place and that gave us confidence that we’d actually be arriving to our destination!  The tour bus that did eventually come was a massive 4×4 setup, and we ended up needing it to get past the potholes and puddles and other things that we found on the way to the lodge.  A short boat ride across the river took us the last leg, where we were greeted with a short introduction, welcome juice and a few forms to fill out.  Before long we left on our first boat ride of the 3 day / 2 night trip, and we weren’t disappointed!  There were 4 boat trips all together – two afternoon and two morning.  We saw tons of wildlife! I’ll start with the birds:

Hornbills Abound

Hornbills Abound