Tanjung Puting National Park,
Kalimantan, Borneo, Indonesia.

This national park is home to the famous Camp Leakey. To get there requires doing one of the greatest river journeys on the planet... 

personal experience

I have visited this area half a dozen times with two different expedition companies. 

the area

Tanjung Puting National Park is over 400,000 hectares in size.  It is usually accessed by going up the Sekonyer River, which forms the northern border of the park. As you go upriver, the forest on the right is protected, and the land on the left is outside of the park.

The best and most common way to go up the river and into the national park is with local wooden boats called Klotocs. They have toilets, mattresses, chairs and tables, and a kitchen. They chug along fairly slowly, allowing time to look at the forest, birds and mammals.

Along the river there are flowers, butterflies, reptiles, birds, and lots of primates. The lower reaches of the river are dominated by the saltwater adapted Nypa Palms, and here you might be lucky enough to see a troop of Langurs...

Sundaic Silvered Langurs

Further up the river, one of the most common and distinctive animals are the Proboscis Monkeys.

A male Proboscis Monkey (image by Damon Ramsey)

Along the river in the late afternoon hundreds of Proboscis Monkey and Long-tailed Macaques perch in the treetops to get ready to sleep for the night. I think it is possible to see more monkeys here in a few hours than anywhere else on the planet...

Along the river, there is a stop where a walk through the forest leads to a feeding platform for orangutans.

Heading further up the river, there is the chance of seeing many types of birds. The most striking species including Broadbill and the Stork-billed Kingfisher...

Stork-billed Kingfisher (image by Damon Ramsey)

The river then forks right into the black waters of the Camp Leakey River. At the turn off, the brown waters of the Sekonyer meet with the black water...

Along the black water river it is possible to spot the local Tomistoma, a vey long-snouted crocodile sometimes known as the 'false gharial'. Despite the thin snout, they have been confirmed to have attacked and eaten humans in Borneo; a reason to stay out of the water here. 

Tomistoma Crocodile (image by Damon Ramsey)

An hour further and the boats stop at the famous Camp Leakey research station, established by the Orangutan researcher Dr. Birute Galdikas. The walk into the station goes through the flooded peat swamp, rainforest, and heath. Along the way you can see several species of Pitcher Plants...

As well as the research station, there is another feeding platform for orangutans.

A male Borneon Orangutan hanging around (image by Damon Ramsey).

Occasionally, Bearded Pigs come into scavenge the food that falls off the platform.

Gibbons make an appearance at the feeding platform, swinging down and stealing food (and the show) and brachiating off again...


Crimson Sunbird
Black-naped Monarch (image by Damon Ramsey)

Click here for other areas to visit in Indonesia.

Thinking of travelling again after everything settles down? One of the first expeditions I am booked to work on is the NZ sub-Antarctics with Silversea Expeditions. And here is a shortened version of one of my lectures in a warmer part of the world.