Nature-ing Tropically

Nature-ing Tropically

Life in a big city can become a dull repetitive routine. You work for 40 hours per week and it’s the mall on the weekend. How about a different experience? Going in and out of a vast rain forest with numerous species of wild flora and fauna. All of that can be found in the wilds of East Borneo. If you are a nature lover than you must visit this particular rain forest.

Since 1995, a huge area of about 490 acres has been formally named as Kutai National Park and become one of many preserved reservations. Kutai National Park consists of two main areas, which is until this day only visited mainly by foreign travelers. The first area is Sangkima, a lowland rain forest, and Prevab forest, the orangutan habitat.

Sangkima. A low land rain forest filled with various species of beautiful flora. Ranging from wild orchids to hundred years old Ulin tree, or the Borneo Ironwood). One of the Ulin tree has the diameter of 8 feet. You can spend hours just admiring the huge collection of plants living side by side with the indigenous animal of Borneo. You can have the chance of seeing orangutans, macaques, proboscis monkeys, binturong, rangkong bird, and so many more. That’s not all. For the thrill seekers there is a suspension bridge made specifically to sway just for the fun of it. It sure will be an exciting and fun experience. Within this rain forest there is also a pemandian (bathing place) called the Pemandian Tujuh Putri (Seven Princesses Bathing Place) with a nearby tree house where you can visit. After completed our forest trekking in Sangkima, we will go to Prevab forest located in Sangatta region, about an hour from Sangkima. To get there we have to go to Sangatta first and then to Kabojaya. From Kabojaya we rode a ketinting, a traditional water transport, along the river to visit the Prevab forest.

The Prevab forest is the natural habitat for the famous orangutan, the only large primate in Indonesia. This forest is also a preservation facility for their survival and continuity. You can learn about orangutan life as well. Other than orangutan, there are also numerous wild life in the Prevab forest, boars, deers, birds and insects. Many of them still unidentified up until this day. The rich flora you can find here including trees like ulin, meranti, kapur, mangrove and coastal plants, and so many other. Staying overnight here is highly recommended. The experience of living in the middle of the forest will be an unforgettable one. You will spend a peaceful night in a wooden hut. And after a good night sleep you will be waken with the sound of rain forest birds and the smell of traditionally cooked breakfast.

After a good breakfast the adventure begins. We are searching for the wild orangutan. Since the orangutan in this forest is wild therefore they do not always showed themselves to visitors. Our team from Ide Indonesia is lucky today. After two hours of trekking, two orangutans with their babies showed themselves. But we can only watch them high in forest canopy foraging for food. Not only day trekking, we can also do the night trekking in the Prevab forest. Of course we have to have a guide. The forest is a different place at night. We even found an ant the size of a thumb!

Unfortunately, this beautiful tropical forest has been reduced greatly from its original size during the Dutch occupation. The original area was about 4900 acres of forest. But as time went by, the status changed to Kutai Wildlife Preserve with total area “only” about 490 acres. Today, the Kutai National Park is 490.822,98 acres in size.

The facility in Prevab including a wooden hut with two spacious bed rooms and one toilet, a kitchen and a huge dining table. The Prevab forest also provide experienced trekking guide. If you want to visit, please make a reservation first by contacting Prevab Coordinator, Pak Supiani in 081346348803.

Kutai – Bontang, July 2012

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