Sabah Soujourn 2013 – Part 3 – Kota Kinabalu (KK) wildlife excursion

We had half a day left in KK, and were leaving the next morning. Our last chance for:

Proboscis Monkey River Cruise & Fireflies tour.  This tour takes you by bus through the countryside  to a place on the river about two hours drive from KK. Then you have coffee and a snack, and board a boat to see wildlife in its natural setting, and after dusk you see fireflies. You have dinner by the river. Then you are driven back to the hotel, arriving between 10PM and 10.30.

But it is dependent on the weather and luck what you actually see, if anything. If it rains, you are unlikely to see anything, and you’ll also probably get wet. We were not at all sure about the weather on that day, but we decided we’d go and hope for the best.  We rang the agent one hour before pickup to ensure we could get on, and they said to book online but pay the guide.  Once we booked online they texted us to confirm.

I did worry about the drive back at night, hoping the driver was going to be safe.


The tour was good. They did as promised. We saw lots of wildlife, enjoyed the dinner, and the driver drove safely.


They picked us up at the hotel on time, did a couple more hotel pickups, and then we were on our way.

the bus

the bus

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The drive was quite pleasant, and with one brief  comfort stop along the way took a little over two hours.

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we followed the rail line for a while

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there were a surprising number of churches along the way

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Afternoon tea was relaxed…

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the view from the restaurant

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…and when we were ready we donned lifejackets and boarded boats, at about 4.45PM. You could hire binoculars for RM10. About eight in our boat, and quite a few more in the other.

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the inlet the boats were moored in

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our boat

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the river

We headed downriver, passing old settlements…

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And we saw some devastation of the jungle…
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We continued for about 25 minutes before one of the guides spotted some proboscis monkeys in trees near the river. We watched and photographed them for a while.

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We moved on, saw a monitor lizard on a tree…

monitor lizard

monitor lizard

then a tree with poisonous fruit that in earlier times was used on darts to make them poisonous…

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the poisonous fruit

…and further on saw some more proboscis monkeys. Then we turned around.

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On heading back upstream it started to rain, and the canopy over the boat was erected. Luckily the rain was light, as the canopy wasn’t very effective. It stopped after a little while. It was getting dark.

We saw the same monkeys, higher up in the trees, settling in for the night.

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Then, as the sun was setting we saw a herd of water buffaloes crossing the river. We stayed and watched for a while.

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Finally, further upstream we came across fireflies.  It was still perhaps too early to see masses of them, but we saw quite a few. And a beautiful sunset…

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Then it was back to the wharf, and dinner.  We’d been on the water a little over two hours. The dinner was very good.  Tiger beer was extra, at RM10, and soft drinks were extra too, but I don’t remember the price.

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A little before 8PM we started back to KK, and the driver was very cautious, so it was a slow, but thankfully safe drive back. We were back in out hotel before 10.30pm.


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