Rangas in the Wild!

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January 17th 2016
Published: June 16th 2017
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01 Rubbish!01 Rubbish!01 Rubbish!

Rubbish floating towards land.
Geo: 5.4957, 118.206

Rach and I had a sleep in this morning. When we got up I opened the curtains and looked out at the town. I could see fishing boats, a cloudy dark sky and a trail of rubbish in the water. I hadn't noticed the rubbish yesterday, it was a bit gross, luckily we wouldn't be swimming in it.

Later this morning we were going to be transferred to our lodge in the jungle and we didn't want to be in a vehicle on an empty tummy, we needed a big breakfast. So we decided to go to McDonald's for breakfast. We got there just before 9am. We were very surprised to discover that it wasn't yet open. This was a first for us, waiting outside a Macca's for it to open. I enjoyed hot cakes, hash browns and tea and Rach was very happy with her Chicken McMuffin. It was very quiet in here, obviously not the local's first choice for breakfast.

After breakfast we went back to our hotel room and finalised our packing. It was now nearly 11am and time to check out. We then wheeled our suitcases a few blocks through town to the meeting spot outside a
02 Sandakan02 Sandakan02 Sandakan

The view of the town from our hotel room.
bank. I spotted the transfer vehicle as we approached. It was a van with the words 'Its a Jungle out There' painted on the side. We were a bit early as departure time was 11:30. The driver was kind enough to let us sit inside with the air conditioner on while we waited. At 11:30 he got in and we were off. I was surprised that there were no other people joining us.

About half an hour later he stopped the van at a roadside eatery and supermarket. We were not aware that a lunch stop was included and that is why we had a huge breakfast at McDonald's earlier on. After a little while the driver realised that we were not eating and asked if we were ready to leave and we were. So now we were back on the road again. It was a nice drive through the countryside and the driver was more than happy to answer our questions. We drove past quite a few palm oil plantations.

It was about 2pm when we drove through a tiny village by a river and then the driver stopped. We were nearly there. After we said goodbye to him we
03 Fishing Boats03 Fishing Boats03 Fishing Boats

Two fishing boats.
had to walk down a very dodgy, unsafe looking ramp to the tiny jetty. Here there was a boat waiting to take us across the river to our lodge. We were pretty excited to be in the middle of the jungle. In less than a minute we had crossed the Kinabatangan River and were met by the lodge staff. Here there was someone to wheel our bag up the ramp.

We then sat in the reception for our check-in. They had a delicious, refreshing cold drink for us. The staff informed us of the daily routine, do's and don'ts, meal times and then showed us to our deluxe cabin. It was cosy and very basic, but the important thing is that we had air-con unlike the other accommodation options here!

There was about an hour until afternoon tea, which is served at 3:30 and then the afternoon jungle safari cruise leaves at 4pm. We used this time to explore the area around the lodge. It was nice and warm here. There were many butterflies fluttering and many unique looking flowers and plants. There were also massive spider webs with huge spiders on them. It seemed very quiet here and so
04 River04 River04 River

The Kinabatangan River, where we are staying for the next two nights.
far we have only saw a few other people.

It was now time to go and get ready for our jungle cruise. We packed all the essentials, sprayed ourselves with mosquito repellent and went to afternoon tea. Here we met the rest of the guests – a German lady, an Aussie couple and three British guys. For afternoon tea there were banana fritters and they were delicious! We followed the others to the boat, on the way to the boat we had to go and pick up a life vest.

We choose our seats and were ready to go. There was a guide as well as another staff member driving the boat. It wasn't long before wildlife was spotted. The first creature was a crocodile that slipped into the water as soon as it noticed us approach it. The next animal was the back of a Long-Tailed Macaque. A few branches away there was a Proboscis Monkey and some more macaques that were busy grooming each other. The sky was blue and clear and so far we have been very lucky with the weather, having only experienced torrential rain once in Kuala Lumpur – even though it is now wet season.

05 Us05 Us05 Us

Rach and I on the boat transferring us to the lodge.
continued slowly cruising along the river and stopping a few minutes later. Here there were many Proboscis Monkeys to watch. We watched them as they hung from branches, jumped between trees and sat on branches. They are quite a large monkey, with a long tail and beautiful coloured orange and grey fur, although they have an unattractive pointy noise. While we were watching these monkeys, the guide pointed out a unique looking bird flying above, it was an Oriental Pied Hornbill.

The guide continued on – he was on a mission to find orangutans, which is the main reason visitors come to this part of Borneo. All the other guests were leaving tomorrow morning and they had not yet seen orangutans on their river cruises. We now stopped near a medium sized crocodile that was sunning itself.

I was really enjoying this jungle safari cruise. Once again our attention was drawn up to a bird above us, it was a Rhinoceros Hornbill. We watched it fly above us and then perch on a nearby branch. We turned into a small river. Next stop was to watch a couple of Long-Tailed Macaques and Silver Langurs. They weren't doing much, just sitting about.
06 Hibiscus06 Hibiscus06 Hibiscus

A brightly coloured hibiscus flower.
A few minutes later there was an active troop of macaques, they were foraging for food. Then we came to palm oil plantations, they were just a few metres from the river. It was sad to see, as the native, endangered animals can't live among those palms and their habitat and population is shrinking.

The driver turned the boat around and back on the main river we continued at a fast speed – the guide must be onto something. He then pointed as we slowly and quietly approached the river's edge. It was a pair of orangutans! At first they were hiding among the foliage, then the visibility improved. The guide told us that they would soon start to build their nest for the night. At the moment they were hanging onto the branches, picking fruit and eating. When the sun shone through the leaves, their fur was an amazing shade of dark orange. We were mesmerised as we watched them, just a few metres above us. It was then time to say goodbye to them, as we had to return to the lodge by 6pm. We were quite lucky to have seen them.

On the way back to the
07 Butterfly07 Butterfly07 Butterfly

One of the many butterflies flying around the garden.
lodge we stopped to watch a large troop of Proboscis Monkeys settling into a tree for the night. We saw just a few other boats during our cruise. We got back at a bit after 6, dinner wasn't served until 7. Back in our cabin, we covered up and sprayed ourselves with repellent again as there is malaria in this part of Malaysia, then went to the reception and bought some cold beers.

Later on at dinner, we enjoyed a delicious meal and ate way too much. There was the option of doing a guided night walk. Rach and I decided that maybe tomorrow night we would do it. Instead we sat in the reception area and had a few more cold beers and chatted to some of the other guests.

In the end it was a pretty early night, but it was okay as tomorrow there was an early start to the day.

Additional photos below
Photos: 81, Displayed: 27


08 Tropical Flower08 Tropical Flower
08 Tropical Flower

A unique shaped flower.
09 Tropical Flower09 Tropical Flower
09 Tropical Flower

A pretty pink flower.
10 Meal Times10 Meal Times
10 Meal Times

Very important information on this board outside the cafe.
11 Massive11 Massive
11 Massive

A massive spider - we saw too many of these as we walked around the lodge.
12 Tropical Flower12 Tropical Flower
12 Tropical Flower

Another unique flower growing in the jungle.
13 Other Side13 Other Side
13 Other Side

A few buildings on the other side of the river.
14 Crocodile14 Crocodile
14 Crocodile

A crocodile's head poking out of the water.
15 Happy15 Happy
15 Happy

I am very happy and excited to be on the jungle safari.
16 Macaque16 Macaque
16 Macaque

A Long-Tailed Macaque in the tree with its back to us.
17 Monkey17 Monkey
17 Monkey

A Proboscis Monkey sitting on a branch.
18 Grooming 18 Grooming
18 Grooming

A pair of Long-Tailed Macaques grooming each other.
19 River19 River
19 River

The Kinabatangan River as we cruised along.
20 River20 River
20 River

The Kinabatangan River as we cruised along.
21 Spotted21 Spotted
21 Spotted

Rach spotted something in the tree.

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