Kalimantan offers an insight into Borneo that few people experience. Whilst headhunting traditions and mysterious jungle creatures still entice adventurous travellers, this trip takes you out onto Kalimantan’s rivers to witness the conservation efforts of the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation. The chance to see rescued and rehabilitated orangutans is an emotionally uplifting yet sobering experience.
We start our journey in Tumbang Malahoi, where we are welcomed into the home of a Dayak Ngaju tribe, and look out for hornbills and wild orangutans. Cruising on the river allows us to see the forest from a different perspective as we float by small villages, keeping our eyes peeled for proboscis monkeys and Brahminy kites.
Heading upstream along the Rungan River, we leave our beautiful cruise boat for motorised canoes, which transport us to the orangutan pre-release islands managed by the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation. We learn about their vital work and spend some time watching the orangutans. Next we cruise to the tiny riverside village of Kanarakan, home to the Dayak Ngaju tribe.
Lake Tahai is the perfect spot for canoeing and early morning bird watching. Sei Gohong is the next village on our route, where our exploration of the traditional cultures of Kalimantan continues and we meet the local medicine expert. Our last few days are packed full of activities as we visit Samboja Lestari, the site of the first BOSF orangutan introduction programme.
Whether you want leisurely nature walks, a hike deep into the rainforest or a trip with a local fisherman, there is plenty on offer for everyone. The real highlights at Samboja though are our visit to the orangutan island, a natural, semi-wild home for orangutans that cannot be released. The visit to the sun bear sanctuary is also a highpoint.
Rugged Kalimantan translates to ‘River of Diamonds’, so what better way to explore this tropical wonderland, than via the river.