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On my last day in the Danum Valley Conservation Area, I adventured on the canopy treetop walk, some 50-60 meters above ground. Essentially, it’s a series of suspension bridges and small circular platforms attached from one tree to another that you can walk across and survey the jungle below. It’s also a great spot for avid birdwatchers (which I am not) as there are supposedly some really good sightings.
You should definitely not drink any alcohol before walking on the suspension bridge – it already feels like you hit the vodka bottle pretty hard as you try to stabilize yourself on the bridge (it’s worse if others are walking on it with you). I don’t think you’ll fall over into the river, but it definitely feels like you might.
We were quite lucky on this bridge walk as we spotted a mommy orangutang with her baby. The baby was very curious about our presence and a total show off when he realized we were looking at him. He showed us his ability to stretch off tree branches, how he could leap from one branch to another, and of course, displaying his private monkey parts. The mommy orangutang kept trying to grab him and bring him further into the tree canopy where he would be safely hidden but he was having none of this.
Eventually, she broke a leafy tree branch and just covered him with it. Sadly, they were eating tree bark as there were not many fruits available for them to eat. Orangutangs are not generally tree bark or leaf eaters – they prefer fruits. Our guide told us that it had been quite dry over the last few months with little rain and so the trees weren’t producing many, if any, fruits.
The jungle was quite misty in the early hours and the mist continued to gather the further we went into the jungle. It was an interesting phenomenon as in some areas, it actually looked like smoke coming out of the mountains and hills nearby (There are no volcanoes here).
On a later trek, we were treated to seeing the same family of red leaf monkeys we had seen on previous days. They are always in a grouping of 2-13 (no idea why), so if you see one you know that the others are somewhere in the same tree. We knew it was the same group as the white baby monkey was with them. I cannot possibly explain how adorable that baby monkey is – and how much he sticks out with his white fur particularly when sitting next to his red haired family.
The red leaf monkey is only found in the jungles of Borneo and Indonesia. Our guide told us that their average weight is around 14 pounds (my cat weighs more than this). These particular monkeys eat leafs, seeds and flowers but avoid sweet fruit because the sugars are upsetting to their tummies. This, right here, is like finding out that Polly does not want a cracker. Every cartoon I have ever seen where the monkeys were eating bananas were lies (although, some monkeys actually do eat bananas). But I digress…
On our way back, we checked curled up palm tree leaves and found bats snuggled tightly inside to get their beauty rest and remain sheltered from the rain.
- Invest in a telephoto or zoom lens, if it’s in your budget – I wish I had. I’m currently saving up for this one before my next trip.
- Bring binoculars, all the better to see the animals with, my pretty. I just bought these for my next trip. Nothing too fancy, but good enough to get my level of enjoyment out of animal spotting.
- Opt for early morning treks while the animals are out. In early afternoon, it’s too hot and the animals go far up into the trees to stay cool and have a snooze. You have a better chance of spotting animals earlier in the day.