Monday, February 22, 2016

Borneo Adventure - Black River Cruise

On the water in Kalimantan

Samboja is a small township in East Kalimantan and the gateway to our Borneo adventure.

It is an hour’s drive from the capital, Balikpapan, on the east coast of Indonesian Borneo.

Samboja’s economy is largely based on open-cut coal mines, oil and palm oil plantations. Look out to sea and you’ll see oil rigs on the horizon.

However, some Indonesian Borneans still make a living from the sea and rivers leading out to sea. 

Borneo Adventure on Sungai Hitam

One such river is Sungai (translated means river) Hitam, about an hour’s drive from the Samboja Lestari Orangutan and Sun Bear Sanctuary. The river is 35km from Balikpapan.

As part of our two week Orangutan volunteer program we were able to enjoy a late afternoon river cruise.

Fishing Villages

Sungai Hitam is in a lowland and mangrove forest. 

As we left the small jetty, we passed through palm strewn and mangrove banks.

We cruised along to come to a local fishing village seemingly built on dodgy sticks, stuck in the high muddy river bank.

Colourful wooden boats were parked along the river’s edge, sometimes two or three deep, covered by drying nets.

Shanty dwellings were thrown together, but with an odd one having a large satellite dish out the front! 

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