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He only went out for some milk A blurb of monstrous proportions - it was only supposed to be a couple of lines and the odd photo.

Gomantong Cave and Kinabatangan River

MALAYSIA | Saturday, 28 July 2007 | Views [4345] | Comments [1]



Wild pygmy elephants that only 3m away, snakes coiled up in branches, proboscis monkeys looking fat, an orangutan mother and her baby swinging in the trees above our heads, a huge monitor lizard swimming in the water by the boat, bats, birds of prey, lots of hornbills, kingfishers, tiger leaches...

I sign up for a 2 day, 1 night Kinabatangan river package, with a visit to the Gomantong caves on the way.  It's a bit expensive and i don't do package trips - this trip is I believe a must do.  The cave is one in which they harvest the swiftlet nests for birds nest soup in an allegedly environmental, and considerate way.  The walk to it is through a short stretch of jungle - our group in incredibly lucky: long tail macaques, monkeys i don't know the name of, and an orangutan mother and her little baby.  It's an amazing sighting - much better than the Sepilok centre.  Effortlessly she swings in the trees above our heads, before settling on a branch at a safe distance. The baby defines cuteness, and peers at us with eyes that seems to show more emotion than a humans ever can.  I've fallen in love.

The bat cave doesn't contain any cool cars or gadgets - just lots of poo, bats, birds and creepy crawlies.  The smell is truly awful and you have to walk through the guano, passing million of cockroaches, incredibly long legged and huge centipedes (that are poisonous).  It's a writhing, smelly, horrific mass as far as the eye can see - which isn't far as it's dark and we need torches.  The cave is huge and the ladders up to the roof are very long and very fragile looking.  This is one job i could never do.  Birds and bats flutter above our heads, while we shuffle and slip our way around a path. I of course get poo'd on.  The tally so far: birds 2, bats 2 - and always on the head.  I can't decide whether this visit is awesomely awful or awfully awesome.

How can i top that?

This is a package trip alright, included is all transport, all food, i have an air-conditioned wooden hut overlooking the river, there's families and even a couple on their honeymoon, and did i mention it included all food (and cake) you can eat.  Don't they know how much that is?  The afternoon boat ride is our highlight.  There's only 3 of us in my boat and the captain gets a call that pygmy elephants have been spotted downriver - of course we'll pay the extra 40rm ($12) for the fuel and the off-itinerary travel, of course we suspect they do this everyday. We don't care about the cost - these were wild elephants just a few feet away!  Most of the boat ride is on a small river joining the Kinabatangan, the water is cool, dark and fairly slow flowing. The jungle is lush, green and full of life, including proboscis monkeys - our main reason for coming here, the rest is just icing.  Later we go on a night trek, it's a muddy, hear lots - see little slug fest.  We were lucky enough to see a snake and 2 birds roosting (not for long when someone took a flash photo - doh!).  We have to end the walk early - too much mud and too little light.  It's another cruise in the morning, some nice sightings and another trek in the mud to a lake.  There's little chance of seeing any animals, everyone is avoiding the leaches, and trying to stay upright in the mud.  These are tiger leaches, they hang off leaves just ready to drop onto you an into your nether regions - or at least onto everyone but me :)  Kids are crying and having leaches flicked off their bellies, girls are squealing, I'm laughing...we turn back before we reach the lake.  We are the very adventurous types, but we don't want to get mud on our shoes...

A great couple of days, i should have done it for longer, i should have done it when i was feeling 100% and i should have done it closer to nature - i really didn't need or want that pampering, and i ate far too much cake.

Tags: wildlife




Maybe it was the bird/bat poo that kept the leeches off? :)

  Kamariah (Malaysia) Feb 23, 2009 3:19 PM

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one ruined t-shirt and one ruined pair of trousers.  cool.

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