Blog 67. Kumai and Orangutang. 02.44.37S 111.44.03E
Fri 18 Oct 2019 16:03
Kumai itself is a bit of a dump, as it is nothing but a scruffy commercial port, but it is the main jumping off spot for the “must do” Orangutang Tour in the Tanjung Puting National Park.
Kumai from the anchorage on the Kapitan River. The concrete block buildings are actually swift multi-storey apartments, created to encourage them to nest so the locals can gather the nests for bird nest soup. Loud tapes of swift calls are played to encourage them which, added to the bellowed calls to prayer and occasional relay of entire services over the surround sound amplifiers, made for a very noisy anchorage.
The Tanjung Puting National Park is a conservation area that has escaped most, but sadly not all, illegal logging and habitat destruction for palm oil plantations in favour of an international effort to save the Orangutang. They are listed as endangered in Borneo and critically endangered in Sumatra, the only two places where they can found world wide. In Tanjung Puting, the wild population has been increased by the release of captive Orangutang and these animals are fed once a day at 3 feeding stations to improve their survival rate on re-introduction to the wild. There are numerous tour operators and a variety of tours on offer, including taylor made from some operators. The boats vary in size and comfort, but all seem to include excellent staff and good food.
There was much discussion amongst rally members as to which might be the best tour and how much we should expect to pay. We found a 2 day, 1 night tour on the internet with a “company” called Orangutan Days that seemed to tick all the boxes for us. Included were all 3 feeding stations, all meals and refreshments, a night jungle walk a guide and a person to look after the boat while we were away. Yomie, the manager, came out to Alcedo to meet us and introduce us to the crew and give us an opportunity to choose the guide. After a short language test, we chose Dede who turned out to have excellent English and quite understood that we were interested in birds as well as Orangutans.
Setting off on our boat, Yomie in the foreground with a welcome dragon fruit juice drink and a view to the stern of the boat.
Leaving Alcedo with the “boat boy” guard on board, looking down river with many of the other Rally boats behind
The Tour starts in the Kaptian river goes downstream a short distance and then takes a left turn up the Sekonyer River, up towards Camp Leaky and the other feeding stations.
The lower reaches of the Sekonyer River, where the water is still salty and the vegetation mostly palm fronds.
The river gradually narrows and becomes fresh water, with forest on either side and different vegetation and sightings of lots of Probiscis and Macaque Monkeys
Probiscis Monkeys, very athletic and we had a great display of well ver 50 of them travelling through the forest.
The entrance to Camp Leakey
Running out of size for this blog, so pictures of Orangutan to follow!