Friday, January 28, 2011

On the Kinabatangan River: Part 3

While staying on the river a night safari is a must-do. A night river safari is very different than a night walk, which I talked about doing back at Sepilok. The river safari is out on the same small boats you go out on during the day and you can view nocturnal animals like crocodiles, snakes and sleeping kingfishers. If you are interested in seeing some of the nocturnal mammals like the big-eyed Western Tarsier you have to go on a walk at a place like Sepilok, but on the river you get to see the crocs. The guides will spot the crocs by spotting just the red glint in their eye reflecting off the flashlight beam. It reminded me of being back in South Africa when I would walk down to my hut at African Dawn at night with only my flashlight illuminating my path and I would sometimes see hundreds of eyes from zebras and antelopes staring at me, but nothing else because it was too dark. I’m glad I was in the boat this time- I don’t think I would want to walk around knowing those red spots are crocodile eyes!
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Another activity that I recommend doing sometime during a trip to Borneo is a jungle walk. I was afraid of doing the jungle walk because I had heard horror stories of spiders the size of my dog and spitting cobras and leeches, but it wasn’t so bad- it was actually pretty fun. We were actually a little disappointed on our walk because we didn’t see any leeches or snakes. We were very prepared with our leech socks and rubber boots, but we didn’t need them. Correction- we didn’t need the leech socks, the rubber boots (which you can borrow from the lodge) were a MUST! On our jungle walk we waded through mud up past our knees at some points. We trekked through the jungle from the river to an ox-bow lake in the jungle, which sometimes can be great spots for wildlife, but all we saw were a few birds. But like I often say it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey and the journey was a ton of muddy fun!
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