Garuda Indonesia Colours Magazine March 2019 - Page 102

100 Travel | Sebangau 1 ‘ Home to the largest population of orangutans on the planet, Sebangau in Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo, is best explored by river. I start my trek into Sebangau National Park at dusk. The earthy smell of the peat bog forest rises sharply to greet me as I hold my torch steady, trying not to trip and fall into the blackwater swamp on either side of the narrow boardwalk. I stay close to our guide, well aware I am in clouded leopard country. “No talking please, and mind your step,” he says. “One of these planks could break at any time, but don’t worry, I am here to help.” After a couple of minutes, we reach a huge tree just off the peat bog trail. “This is one of the spots where our team record nocturnal animals of the forest,” the guide quietly explains to our small group. “We might see a clouded leopard tonight if we are lucky, although they tend to keep away from people. The orangutans will already be in their nests, high up in the trees. Still, we may see a western tarsier or flying fox.” He goes on to explain that the park’s 5,300km 2 of 2 peat swamp forests, located in Central Kalimantan in the Indonesian part of Borneo, contains many other types of wildlife, including 116 species of birds and 166 species of flora. We continue our walk in silence. I sense our guide is listening intently to the forest, the strange language of the insects and the rustling of leaves that might mean the presence of a snake or bird. He occasionally provides hushed explanations of some of the less familiar forest dwellers, like the carnivorous pitcher plant, so named because it resembles  a jug or pitcher. Insects are captured in the sticky fluid in the base of the plant and then digested. Exploring Kalimantan means spending a lot of time on rivers witnessing traditional community life. At one point, he stops and motions to us to listen to the north. Way off in the distance Traditional fishing boats are used to navigate the waters of Central Kalimantan.