24 March 2009

Uncle Tan's Wildlife Adventures

We've just spent and excellent 3 days at Uncle Tan's Wildlife Camp in the heart of the Kinabatangan rainforest.

The Kinabatangan is Borneo's longest river (over 500km long) and is flanked on either side by a 100 million year old forest, or it was until the logging and palm oil plantations started. The 20,000 hectares of the remaining wetland forest are now a WWF (not the wrestler dudes in spandex) wildlife sanctuary.

The wildlife we've seen has been quite amazing; white-bellied fish eagle, long tailed macaque, stork-billed king fisher, orang-utan, silvered leaf monkey and the greater horn bill. And all that was just on the boat ride up river to the camp on the first day.

The camp itself is very back to basics and consists of about a dozen or so huts built on a walkway over a mangrove swamp. The website warns that it's not a 5 star resort with bungalows and they're not joking . . . you don't even get a door on your open sided hut. You have to wash with the brown silty river water and flush the loo with a bucket. Very rough and ready but it's all part of the fun.

The only thing we weren't too keen on was that fact that the huts were shared by up to 6 people. We prefer to have a bit of our own space, particularly when you've had to spend all day with a group of people.

We were sharing our hut with a mother and daughter from Oregon and a sulky girl from the Netherlands. The Americans were actually quite good company, very entertaining and completely crackers. They lived in some kind of communal compound which made them sound a bit like cultists!

Unlike the miserable lot at Sepikok Jungle Resort, the staff at Uncle Tan's were great. A really friendly bunch who seemed delighted to share their knowledge about the animals and plants of the jungle.

As part of the stay you get to go on 5 different jungle safaris, three by boat and two on foot. The safaris take place at different times of the day and night so you can see the whole range of animals that inhabit the area. They even managed to get Liz out of bed at 6 in the morning!

All of the jungle safaris were really good but the two night safaris really stand out. The ability of the guides to spot the wildlife in the pitch black jungle was amazing.

The food was also excellent too with fresh fish and prawns hoiked straight out the river and on to the BBQ.

Here's some pictures of a few of the critters that we saw.

This last little fella is a tractor millipede and when you rub his back he smells of almonds!

No comments:

Post a Comment