Sabah’s Sensational Sukau

After waiting about ten minutes at the jetty in Sukau our boat arrived. We loaded our cases and bags and were soon off down the Kinabatangan River. Along the way we saw a number of local’s houses and lodges for tourists. At one point we sped up as we came through a bend and my cap went flying off. Amazingly it hit our driver at the back of the boat and he caught it!  Once we had arrived at the lodge we carried our bags up to the reception area where we were greeted with a cool drink. Soon after we were shown to our chalet room. Compared to Sepilok it was quite basic but had the required essentials – a comfortable bed, air con and a shower.

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As it was lunch time we were soon in the dining room eating a delicious buffet lunch of soup, rice and a variety of chicken, beef and vegetable dishes. We sat at a table for two but there were another two couples plus a larger group of ten in the dining room. Dessert was like a fruit custard. After lunch we retired to our room for a rest. Our first river safari wouldn’t be until the hour before sunset. However as we were resting we heard rain start, then it became an absolute downpour. I guess it is called a ‘rain’ forest for a reason.

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Our guide and the boat driver were considering abandoning the afternoon safari due to the heavy rain but with the encouragement of another couple from England and us they decided to go ahead with it. Clad in waterproof coats and pants we made our way to the boat in the rain, which was now a bit lighter.  We headed further down the river and then into a smaller tributary. It was eerily quiet. However we soon had our first wildlife sighting, a female proboscis monkey.

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After about twenty minutes the rain stopped so we were really pleased we had made the effort to venture out. As we went we also saw a number of birds, most notably some hornbills. The river safari took about an hour or so and we arrived back in time for a pre dinner drink with our British companions, Velvet and Marshall. Dinner was another buffet meal, similarly presented but different dishes to lunch. Quite delicious. After chatting for a while with some of the others we headed to our room to read, type up our diaries and shower before taking a reasonably early night. In the morning we would be up before 6:00. Tea and toast would be available before our dawn river safari.

We were up in the dark and made our way to the dining room. Made some toast. Karen had a cup of tea and again we joined Velvet and Marshall with our guides on the boat. Off we went in the misty morning light. This time we went further up the main river. A number of other boats were out from the different lodges.

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After a while we witnessed a lovely sunrise,

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as well as seeing proboscis monkeys, long tailed macaques leaping from tree to tree and birds on the water and in the trees. They were generally hard to take good photos of due to the light conditions but this egret sat still long enough for a quick photo,

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as did this trio of hornbills.

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However the stars of the morning were a family of kingfishers. They rapidly flitted about, making photos hard but finally I managed a half decent one.

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About forty minutes into the safari our driver grounded the boat on the shore and we disembarked for a rainforest walk. We made sure we had sufficient protection from the leeches. Like our other rainforest walks there were some very impressive sized trees and it was a beautiful place to trek through. Even though our guide had us stop frequently whilst he listened for birds and other wildlife we didn’t see anything.

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The best we could do was spot this massive centipede.

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Back in the boat we headed down river and returned to the lodge. There were fantastic reflections on the river because apart from us we didn’t see any other boats by this time.

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Having worked up a good appetite we tucked into a delicious buffet breakfast.

Late in the morning we joined one of the guides from the lodge, Vincent, a girl from the wait staff and Velvet on a village orientation walk. First we went downstream in a boat then started our village walk

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Early on we saw the town ferry.  As there were no bridges it was an important link in the local transportation system.

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At one point I was intrigued by a mass of vines over power lines.

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It turned out to be quite a long walk, very hot when we weren’t under the shade of the trees. Finally we reached the turnoff to the boat pier where we saw a sign for our lodge.

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As we walked down that road we spotted a most impressive looking rooster in one of the gardens.

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On reaching the jetty it wan’t long before our boat arrived taking us along the river to our lodge in time for lunch. Again it was a delicious buffet which helped renew us after the very hot, humid walk.

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After lunch we spotted this cheeky macaque walking along the railing near our room. We had been warned not to leave anything outside our rooms as apart from being quite inquisitive they are also thieving little devils.

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We were quite content to take an afternoon nap before our final late afternoon river safari. More about that in my next post.

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