11 December 2012
An Orangutan Experience in Tanjung Putting, Indonesia
When I received the schedule for my trip to Indonesia one of the first places it said we would visit was Tanjung Putting, which was on the island of Kalimantan. I had never heard of these places before but knew we were going to see wild Orangutans and was excited to visit. Once in Indonesia I heard a couple people say “Borneo”. Previous to this I wasn’t sure where I thought Borneo was and I kind of thought it was its own country and then I found out that Kalimantan was the Indonesian word for Borneo and in fact that is where the Tanjung Putting National Park was located. We were going to Borneo!
I then learned that three different countries own pieces of the island of Borneo with the biggest chunk belonging to Indonesia and a smaller bit belonging to Malaysia and oddly enough when most people reference “Borneo” it is the Malay side that they are talking about.
To get to Tanjung Putting we flew from Jakarta to Pankalang Bun then drove to Port Kumai where we boarded two Klotok boats that would be our home for the next 2 days. Called Klotok because of the sound the boats make going down the river, I quickly applied my bug spray and we got on our way chugging through the harbour, then down the Sekonyer River.
Over the next two days we did and saw some amazing things. Starting with a visit to a Reforestation camp along the river where everyone on our tour planted a tree. I chose the type of tree that grows fruit, which is good not only for humans to eat but also a favorite of the wild Orangutans in the area. We visited three different ranger stations where we saw Orangutan feedings and from time to time we would even see them hanging out along the river.
Not only did we see Orangutans but we also saw, monkeys, lots of pretty birds and crazy bugs and we also saw the Proboscis monkey with huge funny looking noses. We were also visited by Fred Galdikas, the son of Beirute Galdikas (who originally started the foundation for the Orangutans in Tanjung Putting in the 1970s). Fred is now taking part in running the organization with his mother and taking care of the Orangutans. It was a treat to meet him and talk to him and ask questions about the great work that he, his mother and family do for the animals.
We ate all our meals on the Klotok, which were prepared with love in the hull of our boat by a few local ladies. Everything was made from scratch from the delicious sambal sauce to the most amazing friend bananas I have ever eaten in my whole entire life. Each time we ate we had quite the feast and I am pretty sure there were never any leftovers.
Aside from a few bug bites, visiting Tanjung Putting was an amazing experience and probably one of my favorite things out of everything that I saw and did in Indonesia. I would definitely recommended it as something to do anyone visiting.
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