Into the Bornean jungle

In this series I head completely solo into a jungle in north Borneo. What awaits?

Yes, I know there is a lot of talking in part I, but you do get to see some awesome animals in the night segment. I felt the need to actually explain myself clearly in the first bit, so bear with me, thanks.

These videos are all about my journey into a patch of jungle in Sabah, Borneo. It was a real challenge, first of all to actually find jungle. Sadly, massive multinationals have bulldozed huge tracts of lowland jungle to grow oil palms. Lowland jungle is the most diverse and valuable of all jungle types, and contains practically all of my “must see” species. So the hunt for jungle began. The northeast of Sabah is supposed to have some lowland jungle but it is remote and hard to get to, also gangs of bad people are said to hang out there. I headed across Sabah by motorbike to the east and drove down the southern road back to Keningau in the west. This is beautiful lowland jungle and looked perfect. There was a catch. The rivers were like white coffee. Although the jungle they flowed through was primary and untouched, the problem is logging upstream has washed powder-like silt downriver, choking the life out of almost everything. I had to cross off the most promising area yet. So I returned to Lahad Datu on the east coast. Staying with friends there I explored the jungle in that region. The problem was getting in undetected. Nobody could know where I was.
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Partly I wanted the adventure of truly being away from help if something did go wrong, and partly for my own safety! Sounds weird but if the wrong people (illegal immigrants have a nasty reputation in the area for murders and kidnap) found out I was in there I had the danger of being tracked. And I know for a fact if the authorities knew they would charge me a fortune (white guy tax) just to go there, also demand paying for a guide etc.

The final hurdle came when I was dropped off. A bunch of men in camouflage uniforms with black berets were loitering about. They are the anti poaching squad and carry assault rifles. If they saw me going in, I would get arrested. If they encountered me in there I would be in bigger trouble (nothing like a gun at the face to complete a normal day) and likely charged for poaching. If I asked for permission I would get a straight out “no” so I had to sneak past their post with a heavy backpack over a wide road. It was now or never. Once in, I hacked my way through the vines all the way to the stream then hiked up.

The rest is on the videos!

-Nathan Litjens

2 comments on “Into the Bornean jungle

  1. Jay Lubasi on said:

    Great exploring into Borneo Jungle Nathan :)

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