As we alluded to in an earlier post… We had signed up for a 3 Day 2 Night Jungle Safari with a local photographer named Mr Aji.
At first glance he is just a normal guy with a jeep,but as the trip progressed he turned into a veritable Dr. Doolittle type, and was the best guide ever.
He collected us in his jeep and we started the trip with lunch!! We think this was a bit of filler time as his regular guesthouse by the river was shut. In the end the issue sorted itself out but it wasn’t the best start to the trip.
Our first activity was a river cruise along the Kintabangan river section known as lot 10. We were joined by a Spanish guy called Miquel, with his two boys, Vitor and Daniel. Vitor was about 13 and reminded me of my brother Cameron in so far as he got bored very quickly, until John shared his binoculars with him.
The Kinabatangan River is 560km long and is estimated to have the largest concentration of wildlife in all of Borneo
Within 20 minutes we had seen a crocodile, three types of Hornbill Birds (Black, White Crowned and Rhinoceros),Ekrits and a few monkeys. But that wasn’t all, on the return leg we managed to spot some wild Orangutans hanging in nearby trees. Wow! Wild sightings of Orangutans are very rare so we were very lucky. We also saw some large monitor lizards.
All the while these animals were coerced into making appearances by Mr Aji’s birdsong and grunts. He literally talks and waves to the animals.
The next day we had another cruise in section 4 of the river which was a tiny tributary surrounded by overhanging trees. It was just Karen and I this time.
We saw plenty of kingfishers, some tree snakes and an Oriental Darter, or snake bird – so called because it’s neck moves like that of a snake as it appears above the water. We also saw the odd monkey.
As we made our way downriver Mr. Aji and the driver began an excited conversation. The cause, freshly made elephant tracks on the riverbank. Within seconds the two of them had jumped off the boat and made into the jungle to see if they could find the elephant, one of a couple of dozen Bornean Pygmy Elephants that live nearby.
Alas there was no sign of it but it was all very exciting. As we turned around for home our engine failed!!! This should have been worrying but due to the silent running of the boat now gliding down the river we got to sneak up on about 4 different troops of monkeys and got some great photos. Especially of wild Proboscis Monkeys!!
After an hour of being engine-less we were told help was on the way. Soon enough two young boys came paddling up the river in another boat. Our rescue party had run out of fuel!!In exchange for fixing our engine we gave them fuel and soon we were both off back to our lodge.
We had only 2 cruises but had been on the river for over 8 hours, as opposed to 3-5 hours on other tours so we got to see much more!