Adventures living as expats.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Seeing the Orangutans in Kalimantan

Jeff and I headed off for a quick trip to Kalimantan last weekend for a chance to see the endangered Orangutans.   In Indonesian orang means "person" and hutan means "forest", so orangutan means person of the forest.  We'd been warned by friends to be ready to rough it and thank goodness we came prepared with wet wipes and snacks!  It was sad to see that a mining operation has polluted the river water so extensively that it closely resembles chocolate milk.  The wildlife viewing was unforgettable though and it felt like we could have starred in a nature documentary.

Most of the orangutans we saw were living near Camp Leakey, a research and rehabilitation facility.  They're fed a supplemental meal of bananas and milk once a day and have become very comfortable around humans.  We saw 2 wild orangutans along the river which was so exciting.
One of the wild rangas munching on some fruit
This gal seemed pretty used to posing for tourists
This mom kept stealing food from the crews backpacks and ended up spilling milk all over herself and her baby. 
This male had huge shoulders and arms and our guide said he still wasn't fully grown  
We saw so many little babies clinging to their moms while they climbed from tree to tree.  This pair came so close to us that we were nervous she was going to grab the camera as Jeff filmed.

This gibbon was getting ready to steal some bananas during feeding
Long-nosed monkey, a very common sight during the weekend

Beautiful sunset on the boat
Sun bear breaking into a beehive
It sounds crazy, but we both found the hole in the ground more inviting than the wet toilet seat.  I wasn't nearly as excited when I noticed our dishes were washed in the same river water all the toilets open into.  Our stomachs survived the weekend and I have a new respect for the "clean" tap water we're so fortunate to have in Jakarta.


  1. Gosh you guys brittney and I are so glad that you two are traveling so much. We are trying to plan a trip and are thinking of heading your way. We wanna travel for about a month or so from mid january on. We have been watching your blogs and would love to hear your ideas on where to go. We're open to it all of course, and would love to stop by to see your place and say hi over some jakartan yummy beers.;) please email me with a few ideas that you two may have for us. It will be a backpack trip so it's all good. We wanna fivefold sure and see from interesting Buddha and temple relics. Might even stopover in India at the taj mahal. So hit me up. Can't wait to see y kids for Christmas too. Love Dustin and Brittney, Kingston, and doggy.

  2. I enjoy your blog Jessie, pls write more and do visit Gili Trawangan Island in Lombok. You guys would love it.

    1. Thanks Clarissa, we've been wanting to stay on Gili T. We've snorkeled around the area and really loved it there!