Kinabatangan River, Mangrove Swamps and Sabah Tea Plantation

Sunday afternoon we went to the Kota Kinabalu Wetlands. Wooden walkways thread through the Mangrove swamps where there are lots of birds and other creatures. The Mangrove trees are extraordinary, primeval structures with strange visible roots like spiders’ legs with bulbous knees. The swamps are tidal and as you walk around, it was absolutely deserted; strange cracking sounds come from all directions making it very eerie. They are noises made by the crabs. The time of day meant that the birds were quiet but we did see three different sorts of white egret. The heat was searing and it was very humid.


We spent Monday at Lok Kawi wildlife park. I am not a fan of zoos but this is rescue centre rather than a display of animals and many of the creatures like Sun Bears, who were very unhappy and Orangutans which were very happy, are there because their habitat is being destroyed and they are an endangered species.They are rescued and then relocated. We watched a beautiful Kingfisher for a long time in the trees teetering on the edge of a branch as if about to dive. In the end it didn’t. It was bright orange and blue.





Drove back into the mountains but past Mount Kinabalu which was looking amazing. Sharp jagged edges of of rock emerging from the clouds reaching upwards. We finally reached the Sabah Tea Plantation, driving up a pitted unmade road whoch shook every bone in my body. The restaurant looked out over the most phenomenal view of Mount Kinabalu and its foothills. I passed up the chance of sleeping in a traditional longhouse, a traditional long bamboo dwelling with rooms to one side and a long communal corridor on the other, in favour of a cottage. – very unadventurous. What with the noise of the fan and the air condioner and an in house gecko chicking its tapping sound all night I didn’t sleep very well, but the view in the morning was breathtaking. The clouds hiding the mountain disappeared for a short time and you could see all the jaggedness of the range.


Friday we drove towards Sandarkan, atrocious roads, atrocious driving and mile after mile of palm oil plantations which are destroying the habitats of orangutangs, sun bears, and birds and insects of all descriptions. Torrential rain hit the car like a wall of water, carpeting the road and disappearing into the deep storm drains at the sides of the road. We finally arrived at Myne Resort on the Kinabatangan River, a wide flat muddy brown expanse of water meandering through the heart of the jungle. Late afternoon we went out on the river in a small launch and headed down river. We stopped frequently to watch monkeys. The first were very pretty Silver Leaf Monkeys and then Long Tailed Macaques and Pig Tailed Macaques. There were lots of baby ones leaping about in the trees and playing like kittens. There were family groups of proboscis monkeys too with their huge noses especially the dominant male. One baby grabbed hold of the long white tail of an adult to steady itself!

Borneo Proboscis monkey

Proboscis Monkeys

Borneo male Proboscis monkey

borneo sunset on the river

Coming back up the Kinabatangan river at sunset.


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