It's a Jungle Out There...
Trip Start Feb 18, 2010
93Trip End Ongoing
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Well it's been over 6 months of travelling and we finally made it into the jungle! We signed up for our first 3D/2N packaged deal stay at an awesome little Nature Lodge along the Kinabatangan River in the rainforest.
Up early (5:45am!) for days of river cruising, hikes through the jungle, a visit to a local village, and night treks!
Along with a group of about 6 other people and our trusty guide Nelly, we were rewarded over and over again by all the wildlife and biodiversity in this ever shrinking paradise.
Ok it's not your typical beach paradise. This place is hot, humid, and buggy. But these are things you forget about when you are glimpsing through the trees at a wild orangutan, or peering over the tall grass to see grazing elephants. A simple trip downriver brought us close to proboscis monkeys, long tailed macaques, a freshwater crocodile, and a swimming cobra! Overhead flew magnificent and majestic hornbills, storks and eagles.
We almost completely forgot about the outside world...only to be reminded by the presence at the egde of the river of an enormous palm oil plantation, or the explosions of bamboo guns at night to scare the elephants away from the villages.
At night we saw colorful sleeping birds, tiny frogs living on leaves, and bats swooping around the lights to eat the insects. The peacefulness was only added to by the soundtrack of crickets and frogs. Being that it was surprisingly cool at night, we turned off the fan in our teeny tiny bungalow and fell asleep to the sounds of the forest.
It was truly a memorable experience, one that has changed us forever. Unfortnuately because of the plantations and illegal logging, this place may not have long to live. We spoke to a local man who showed us how the village is collecting seeds from the forest and growing them in a little nursery until they are strong enough to survive in the forest on their own. He showed us a few orangutan nests from the road. Hopefully these efforts will bear fruit (literally) and help the forest grow. Now if only the world didn't need palm oil for cooking, feul, and cosmetics.
Interesting facts about the big red ape:
-Orang utan comes from the Malay words for "man" and "forest".
-They build from 4 to 6 nests a day and rarely come down from the treetops.
-As mainly vegetarians, they are the jungle's best friend as primary seed spreaders. Without them the jungle can not survive.
-They are expected to be extinct in the wild in 10 years.
-There is only a 4% difference between the DNA of an orangutan and a human.