Today’s blog comes from Fiona Bryce, a travel expert in our Edinburgh store.
The first myth to dispel here is that the jungle is quiet. During the day most of the jungle noises are drowned out by the noise of you, and the people you are with, charging through it disturbing the wildlife. At night it really becomes the animals’ domain and the noise is quiet unbelievable. You’ll be overwhelmed with the sound of insects chirping away and wondering just what it is shuffling about above your head making the leaves shake.
"Eager" jungle campers
In the Jungle, The Quiet Jungle….A Borneo Adventure
All this comes from experience as I’ve slept in a few jungles over the years. I’ve camped with tribes and stayed in some quite plush settings so I was pretty excited to tick a new experience off the list with my itinerary for Borneo. Jungle hammocks!
I’ve been in a hammock and I’ve been in the jungle but I had never slept overnight in a jungle hammock. There was something far more exciting about being exposed to the elements in a hammock than in a bamboo hut or flimsy tent. So I was excited, my travel buddies not so much. I didn’t let them rain on my parade, the leeches did a bit however.
Big Ginger Cousins
The journey to the camp site was almost as fun as the night itself. We were in orang-utan country so as we got in our boats we knew there was a chance we’d get to see our big ginger cousins. Unfortunately we didn’t glimpse them in the wild (thanks palm oil plantations) but we were lucky enough to see the rather charismatic proboscis monkey. These guys are rare so to see them munching on the foliage above our heads was amazing.
The one we saw was less angry
We all put our own hammocks up so there was some careful tree selection taking place. Sturdy enough to support us but that didn’t look like they were home to too many other creatures. Before we struggled into our evening accommodation we headed out on a night walk to see what critters were out and about in darkness.
If you’ve been on nature walks you’ll know the best way to see things is to just shut up and listen. Sadly the leeches that “jumped” down from the canopy made this a bit impossible and there were squeals when people realised they had a new jungle chum tagging along! Though the lorises and tarsiers were put off by our noise a civet did show itself and the reptiles seemed positively nonplussed.
Dreams amongst leeches
After all the excitement of the walk was over it was time for bed. There are a few things to consider when sleeping in the jungle – mostly what might be crawling in to your hammock with you. We had heard all about the delights of leaping leeches from people that had already stayed in the camp so that was high up our list of concerns. We really didn’t want them feasting on us during the night but there is only so much you can check yourself before you scramble into a hammock in darkness.
The night is dark and full of terrors
This was an open camp and there was no safe place to pop your shoes, so we got some branches and dangled them from the tops (the fell off during the night of course – lots of fun in the morning checking nothing had taken up residence in them). Getting to sleep in a jungle knowing an orang-utan might be nesting in a tree nearby or a troop of Proboscis monkeys might be foraging overhead at dawn made this a pretty unique experience.
Also the blood drained from my legs during the night as I’d hung one end of my hammock higher than the other. Worth it.