Exploring the Kinabatangan River in Borneo

Exploring the Kinabatangan River in Borneo


After a number of days roaming round Borneo’s cities, seashores and parks with Stray, it was time to go even additional off the overwhelmed monitor and discover the Borneo jungle. Our vacation spot was the Kinabatangan River, the second largest river in Malaysia. With dense jungle both facet, the Bornean wildlife thrives right here, and that’s simply what we had been hoping to see.

Entering the Kinabatangan River

Gliding on the murky floor of the Kinabatangan waters, it was just like the pre-ride of a white water rafting expedition. The water was nonetheless and calm, the banks teeming with overgrown crops, timber and bushes. In the space, an Oriental Darter fowl swooped off earlier than we acquired shut. The backdrop of the Kinabatangan stored increasing, like a unending path of the unknown, simply ready to be explored.

Jungle Camp

kinabatangan river

We disembarked onto a small picket pier, earlier than strolling up the slim stairs. The camp itself consisted of an open eating and lounge-like space, our cabins and restrooms. Apart from that, the jungle was as it’s purported to be – wild.

Hammocks hung beneath our cabins, gently rocking within the wind and offering a cool place to calm down. Taking a bathe meant a chilly bucket of water over the top. At first, the concept wasn’t one thing I’d warmed to, however I quickly found it was extra addictive than I might think about throughout the suppressing warmth of the day.

With jungle trails behind us and the Oxbow Lake in entrance of us, the one time we had our telephones out was for taking pictures. Wifi wasn’t out there and even mandatory. Staying current within the second, in some ways, we had been completely free.

Wildlife, At Lunch!

kinabatangan river

It didn’t take lengthy for us to come across among the well-known wildlife that the Kinabatangan River is house to. Lunch was nearly prepared after we arrived, however that didn’t cease a curious Monitor Lizard from licking his lips under us, hoping to get a style of the motion. As we completed our regionally ready feast, one in all our guides noticed an Estuarine Crocodile dragging its prey onto the riverbank down river. We all crowded spherical for peeks by his binoculars. By that time, I believe all of us then knew there a lot extra wonderful wildlife to return.

Day River Cruises

Our hopes had been fulfilled, as our total day was crammed with sightings of distinctive wildlife that we had by no means seen earlier than. To see such wildlife, you’d usually need to hedge your bets in many alternative locations and even go to a zoo. But within the Kinabatangan River, all the pieces simply got here to life.

As we continued up and down river, I noticed a big determine floating half on the floor. It turned out to be one other Estuarine Crocodile, the largest one round! With one thing so dominating, it was a aid to be within the boat.

Short and Long Tail Macaques Monkeys pranced round by the timber on the riverbanks, while households of Proboscis Monkeys – famend for his or her unusually giant noses – casually sat on tree branches with their legs and tails dangling. The Red Leaf Langurs had been my final favorite, such a wealthy maroon color, cute to have a look at but additionally very antsy of their method. They had been all the time on the transfer! Orangtuan nests the place noticed from afar, excessive up into the roof of the timber. We additionally noticed an array of fowl species, from Oriental Pied Hornbills, Crested Serpent Eagles and Blue Eared Kingfishers.

Night River Cruises

Night cruises had been distinctly totally different to our daytime excursions. Many inhabitants of the jungle went to sleep, so it was a a lot much less noisy expertise. In the space we noticed one or two peeking crocodile eyes, watching our actions from the riverbanks. There was a splash as we approached, because the crocodiles slithered beneath us into the watery abyss.

We approached the outreaching branches on both sides of the riverbank to identify quite a lot of Kingfishers; nearly like statues, not realizing we lurked behind them. Some had been on their own, while others had been huddled collectively in a row.

Once we had completed exploring for the night, the engine was turned off as we planted ourselves in the course of the river. This was a zen-like second, to embrace the peaceable pure surroundings.

 Replanting The World 

In collaboration with the Tanjung Bulat Jungle Camp, all of us had the possibility to plant our personal timber, with our very personal names planted beside. Borneo has been focused for palm oil exploitation in recent times. Going by among the sights we noticed prior, it has develop into a large downside. Planting timber and contributing to reforestation was a proud second for all of us. In 25 years time, we’ll have the ability to see our very personal timber standing tall. I’m certain I’ll be again earlier than then!

Jungle Walk Into The Night

After a tiring day, we regathered our vitality and ventured on foot into the jungle at night time. With swarms of mosquitos and aggressive bugs throughout us, I took the chance to cowl up. Although I used to be sweating from the get-go, sporting pants, lengthy sleeves and a hat protected me from the unique bugs. We managed to identify quite a lot of sleeping birds such because the Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher. For me, the true journey was roaming by the uncooked jungle and looking for one thing new. To enterprise into the darkish and unknown like that’s so exhilarating. I felt a robust sense of reference to the jungle throughout this night time stroll. It was humbling to understand how linked nature is, and that each creature within the jungle is a part of a fragile ecosystem that we should work onerous to guard.

With our telephones stuffed with blurry pictures of unbelievable wildlife, and our minds stuffed with the exhilaration of all we had seen and realized, it was time to go away the jungle. My journey to Borneo with Stray exceeded my expectations. The quantity of wildlife we noticed, the data and care of the guides, and the gorgeous surroundings, all contributed to a extremely memorable journey.


Want extra? Read 6 causes you should go to Borneo right here.


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