Wednesday, 6 February 2013

The hills are Borneo

Room with a view!
So for one who's not that keen on creepy crawlies, I thought it was pretty brave to book a wooden hut in the rainforest canopy so that we could experience it to the fullest. The view from our bed/balcony overlooked a river meandering through the forest and our bathroom was open air. Perfect for wandering around in the nude with only the lizards and giant ants to catch a look.

The forest is literally alive with sounds - during the day, the cricketing, clicking and chirruping of insects, birds, squirrels and other unseen creatures is continuous. But at night the volume and variety of tunes scales up a notch to provide a symphony of nature. It seems everything comes awake at night and the call of the lizards, frogs and bugs is arresting. The scuttling and scratching of a mouse in our room at night has been an added extra so the fan has been welcome to blanket the noise.

Lizard enjoying our dinner.
Wildlife here is super sized; from the giant green leaves and the four inch butterflies and moths to the five inch bright green, flying grasshoppers. So it is surprising that the lizards don't seem to get any bigger than the span of my hand.

Our other reason to being in Sepilok, Borneo, is to see orangutans in one of the two places in the world that they live wild. Unfortunately more than 50% of Borneo's rainforest area has been destroyed, with the majority of its replacement being huge palm oil plantations. Deceptively it looks like the island is still covered with trees but these palm plantations have eradicated habitat for millions of creatures including the infamous orangutan.

Swinging in for a spot of lunch.
We went to a rehabilitation centre where they spend years reintroducing orphaned, sick and starving orangutans back into the wild. In the final stages of rehabilitation the monkeys live wild in the forest but can come to feeding stations twice a day if they need to. Mostly pregnant, nursing or younger ones come as the forest provides enough food for the majority. Whilst we were allowed watch from a distance as they came to feast on fruit and milk, no human interaction occurred so we felt like we were observing them in the wild. It was so odd to see such human-like movements such as peeling the bananas or standing on tiptoe to see in the basket.

Is it bananas or mangoes today?
The afternoon session proved to be even more exciting as a whole family of Macaque monkeys turned up to share to spoils as well as a very close encounter with an orangutan along the walk way on our way out. Slightly scared, as he was only a metre or so away and looking us straight in the eye, Rob failed to get the "money shot" so you'll have to take our word for it.

Flexible and gymnastic!
The one that got away.


  1. The creepy crawlies are not for me. I can feel myself itching as I write this! Marlene

  2. Me and Connor just reading the blog as we wait for Neil who is on the phone, Conor waiting to un pause sky! Lisa x lovely pics by the way.