Borneo Jungle Camp *Video*

My next adventure was in Borneo! I headed to the eastern Malaysian province of Sabah, lured by the chance to see organutans in the wild and dive Sipadan, reportedly one of the best dive spots in the world.

The Jungle

I booked myself into a jungle camp called Uncle Tan’s, which was situated on the Kinabatangan River. The Kinabatangan is Sabah’s longest river covering 350 miles (563 kilometers) and flowing northeast towards the Sulu Sea.

The Kinabatangan is one of only 2 places on earth where 10 primate species can be found, including orangutan, proboscis monkey, macaques, maroon langur and Bornean gibbon (all of which are endemic to Borneo). In addition, all 8 of Borneo’s hornbill bird species are seen regularly.

The Camp

I stayed in one of the open huts (roof, wood walls, no doors) with my new travel mate Teruko. We each slept on a flea and bed bug-infested mattress (Oh No Not Again!) placed on a raised wooden floor and covered with a mosquito net for protection.

The entire camp was built on stilts as the river frequently flooded the banks. In fact, a day before we arrived, the wooden walkways were all under water. There were long-drop toilets on separate wooden platforms and a chance to take river-water bucket showers (I was not tempted).

The camp was a bit wild. In fact, a Dutch girl couldn’t hack it and left a day early. Teruko and I toughed it out though. It didn’t even bother us that rats had chewed a hole in Teruko’s backpack during the night.

(Note: There was no food in the backpack. We placed all edible items in a sealed plastic bucket. The rats were attracted to the dirty clothes bag = yuck!).

A brood of young guys ran the camp and were good fun. They sang and played the guitar at night, gave us cooking lessons, and in the late morning, they would host a soccer game against the local fisherman, call “Orang Sungei” or “River People.” This friendly game of camp staff and tourists against locals was intense. The players wore real football uniforms and plastic cleats and was obviously the highlight of everyone’s day.

The Safari

The camp outing was only 3 days and 2 nights – but we packed a lot in! Here’re our ungle outings:

  • Sunset River Safari: A boat ride at sunset to see monkeys, bats, and loads of birds.
  • Sunrise River Safari: This time we saw our first wild organ utan – exciting!
  • Morning Jungle Walk: An informative nature walk through the jungle, looking at the unique flora and fauna of the area.
  • Sunset River Safari #2: Out again to see the wildlife that comes out at dark. Saw loads of proboscis monkeys – a new favorite of mine, especially when you get to see them in profile!
  • Night-time Jungle Walk: This one had me a bit out of sorts. Didn’t really enjoy wading through the knee-high swamp waters searching for pythons. Luckily we didn’t see again – but we did see some beautiful birds sleeping with their heads tucked under their wings.
  • Sunrise River Safari #2: Again rewarded with organ utan sightings! This time we saw 3 building their nests and climbing in the shoreline trees.

Here I am with my friends Pedro and Teruko during one of the boat safaris:

Can’t see this video? Click on the link: Jungle Camp

What do you think — Want to visit a jungle camp too? Go — I highly recommend it!

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This entry was posted on Friday, June 15th, 2012 and is filed under Asia Pacific.

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