Uncle Tan's cabin
Sandakan Travel Blog› entry 11 of 14 › view all entries
This morning we
got up early to fly from Kota Kinabalu to
We went to
Sepilok with Mick and Kate, a couple from
The young orang-utan was obviously still in the early stages of rehabilitation, as it constantly tried to get attention from the older female, crying and throwing itself to the ground when it was ignored. It got even worse when a large male macaque came to the platform to feed as the baby was terrified of it, and kept on trying to sneak up to get food, chickening out at the last minute and throwing a tantrum. A couple of times the macaque hit the large female for food, but was ignored.
When feeding was
finished we watched a short video about the rehabilitation process, and then
went for a walk with Mick and Kate into the park (out of the fifty other people
at the feeding, none other took a walk) for half an hour.
We had lunch at
Uncle Tan’s then started the trip to the Jungle Camp. It was an hour’s drive to
the Sungi Kinabatangan, then we had to pile into boats (very crowded with 20
people in two small powerboats) for the two hour boast ride up river. The trip
to the Jungle Camp was one of the best safaris I’ve ever been on. We saw
silver-leaf monkeys, long-tailed macaques, short-tailed macaques, proboscis
monkeys and a wild orang-utan. We also saw some small salt-water crocodiles,
large water monitors, several flocks of hornbills (white-crowned hornbill,
black hornbill, oriental pied hornbill in flocks of a dozen), herons, egrets,
white-bellied sea-eagles, swifts, kingfishers (lots of common kingfishers and
several of the magnificent stork-billed kingfishers with amazing colours and
large bright beaks) as well as many waterbirds.
As soon as we reached the jungle camp it started to pour down with rain, so we had to trek for fifteen minutes through ankle deep mud to get to the camp (twisting my ankle on the way).
The camp was
really basic, with a few walkways between the five huts and the main area, but
was pretty much just a couple of verandas. We had a couple of beers with
dinner, and spoke to Mick and Kate, Malcolm and Kill (environmental consultants
moving from England to New Zealand) and Angharad and Adam (who have both been
travelling in SE Asia for several years) mostly, although there were a few
others I can’t remember (two doctors from Norway, and a couple of Danish
At 9pm we went for a night cruise down the river. The night cruise was very different to anything I’ve done before. We saw several troops of macaques, and we saw medium sized (1-2 metre) crocodiles in the river, but the amazing thing was seeing the birds. We saw the Buffy Sea Owl from close up, but it was the Kingfishers that were the most amazing. During the day we only got to see glimpses as they flew past, but at night we got really close up to them. They sleep on a perch overhanging the river with their beak under a wing, and while they wake up before we get close, they can’t fly due to their terrible night vision so we could come to within a couple of metres and really get a good look at them. We saw several stork-billed kingfishers and a blue-eared kingfisher. Our guide also spotted for us a flying lemur (for only the second time in his life) which looked no different from a monkey at that distance, until it jumped from its tree, spread its legs and glided down to another tree. It was a really great find.
That night there were not enough spots in the cabins, so Jo and I stayed in the staff cabin.