Where is the BEST place to spot Borneo wildlife? I would say it is the Lower Kinabatangan area, Sabah’s “Gift to the Earth”. Kinabatangan River, with a length of 560KM, is the longest river of Sabah and also the home of many wildlife such as Borneo pygmy elephants, proboscis monkeys, orang utans, hornbills and probably thousands of flora and fauna yet to be named. It is a paradise for nature lovers.
Uncle Tan’s Wildlife Camp, situated in Lower Kinabatangan Flood Plains, provides budget and basic accommodation for those (especially backpackers) who love to experience the wilderness of Borneo. Officially, the Camp area is called “Danau Girang”, which means “Happy Lake” in local language. Many just call it Uncle Tan’s place. To get there, check out Uncle’s Tan web site for more info. In early Sep, I joined this 3-day-2-night trip with a group of press and environmental NGOs. We took a bus to Sandakan and stopped at Kampung Batu Putih, where we took a 1-hour boat ride to Uncle Tan’s Wildlife Camp.
The cruise to the camp is in itself a afternoon river safari. We were impressed by number of long-nosed Proboscis monkeys, hornbills and birds that we spotted along the river. According to a birdwatcher on the same boat, some of the birds we saw are rare species. Hundreds of macaque monkeys were found gathering along the river bank, hmmm… having a picnic?
Proboscis monkeys are so common here. They are very shy and timid. When our boat came nearer, they would run away or hide behind leaves and branches. The guide told us that Proboscis monkey cannot eat banana coz their digestion system is different. We also discovered a few young crocodiles resting on the muddy river bank.
The weather was good, and we arrived the jetty of Uncle Tan’s place at 5:10 PM. Once landed, we were led by their friendly staffs for a 10-minute walk on the jungle trail to the camp. Later what we saw in front of us was not chalets or lodges, but some wooden raised huts. I think they really mean it when they say they only provide very basic accommodation.
Our “bedroom” has no window, no door, no fan. Haha… It looks more like a big chicken cage to me. What we got is a light mattress and mosquito net. Power supply is only available from 6PM to 12AM, mainly for lighting. It was warm and humid in the afternoon, but quite cooling at night. The first night I really couldn’t sleep well, as I heard all sort of noise such as animal’s cry, stuff crawling on the roof, something scratching the wall… But all my roomates slept soundly…
Later there are more fun surprises awaiting me. You will hear more in my next blog. Since there are quite a lot of experience to be shared, I divide the blog into 9 parts. But all the photos are posted first. To speed up page loading, all the photos in my blog are in low quality, to see the high quality photos, please check out the photo gallery.
Photos taken in Lower Kinabatangan, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo