Kinabatangan River Wildlife Spotting, Borneo
I was excited. This was it. This was the chance to see wildlife in the wild. It was going to be great.
Note: This post contains Proboscis monkeys with no shame and due to lack of photography options, I’ve included a few photos of these monkeys that may be inappropriate viewing for small children.
Birds and Crocodiles
To start on a light tone, the birds in Borneo are pretty colourful, although sometimes very hard to photograph!
Then there’s the crocodiles… okay I wasn’t that excited about these as I’ve seen loads before, but they were big.
Then there were the ever present macaques that often tormented us as we walked to our rooms.
The rooms were pretty beautiful. They were log cabin style twin rooms with 4 posted beds. I was recently told they had rat issues prior so I’m thankful I didn’t spot any and could enjoy the bit of luxury.
The Proboscis Monkeys
These monkeys are pretty amazing to see. They were seen often and easily spotted, unlike the orangutans and pygmy elephants.
I did warn you the males have no shame…
The Kinabatangan River was quite beautiful if you could steer clear of the rubbish. It was sad seeing a bunch of macaque monkeys amongst a large pile of rubbish.
The vast amount of trees did make it very difficult to spot non-monkey wildlife.
The lack of unique wildlife that Borneo is known for
This river was the one chance to see a wide range of wildlife in the wild. We saw very little compared to what other tours saw. Granted the wide array of trees does make to tricky spotting, it definitely wasn’t the Amazon or Pampas.
However, the jungle isn’t very deep, as palm trees surround it. In fact its not even that long because we came to the end and saw the vast palm plantations.
This got me thinking about palm oil and yes there are a lot of aspects to it, but in an area that is trying to improve tourism, there seems a lack of habitat for the wild animals because of the palm trees. I was reminded of this when we visited the orangutan sanctuary and saw elephants in a small closed off area because there was nowhere to release them. I can see that the lack of areas for wildlife to live in Borneo due to the palm oil plantations is going to affect tourism in years to come if Borneo is not careful.
Speaking of lack of wildlife…On the G Adventures website it says:
“Begin the day with a river safari in search of wildlife. After breakfast, visit the nearby oxbow lake with a professional guide and seek out proboscis monkeys, pygmy elephants, macaques, and gibbons. Later, visit a nearby cave and, with some luck, spot a wild orangutan. Enjoy another boat cruise along the river to spot more wildlife before returning to the lodge for dinner.”
This really meant, go out on the water in the morning mist. Don’t see anything, the boat threatens to breakdown (again). Come back to the lodge, do nothing all day, return for a dusk boat ride and spot some more proboscis monkeys and macaques, which appear to be very commonly seen.
It would seem we had very little luck on this tour with wildlife outside of the monkeys. I’m lucky to have gotten the photographs that I did, even if some aren’t the clearest (couldn’t have a tripod on a boat and it was low light conditions).