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Untamed Borneo Part 1

I have so many great memories from my recent trip leading one of our 25th Anniversary group tours to the jungles of Borneo that I decided to make a blog series from my travels. Honestly, our trip couldn't have gone any better! The weather, accommodations and most importantly wildlife sightings were abundant and astounding. In 2009 I’d traveled throughout the region scouting the area and came up with an itinerary that I thought encapsulated the best of the best in Borneo with respect to the wildlife viewing. I wanted to deliver the ultimate trip to our travelers, so leading this trip provided me with the unique opportunity to get direct feedback and asses the “flow” of the itinerary I had designed. I secured the superior guide and jokester Eddie Café to join us for the majority of the trip and everything pretty much worked out like planned; which is one thing you can’t always count on in the adventure travel industry.
There were 9 of us total, 4 couples (2 from Seattle, 1 from Denver, 1 from Santa Fe) and myself. This is the start of my Borneo trip blog, the aim being to highlight various pieces and stories from our trip which will in turn illuminate the different experiences one can hope to attain on a trip to Borneo. This first one is just more of a funny story.... Enjoy!

“There are no snakes in the Jacuzzi Pool”

That was exactly my response when asked about the potential for snakes to be in the pool surrounding a waterfall where we intended to take a swim later that day in Danum Valley’s Conservation Area. Now there are little fish that like to nibble at your feet (seriously) inside the pool. But snakes? Many of the venomous snakes have migrated to and successfully populated in palm oil plantations which have carpeted much of Borneo’s arable landscape. Mice and rats like the oil palm fruit and snakes and raptors like the rats. Anyway, as we’re hiking to this famed cool down spot in the lush 130 million year old forest reserve one of our travelers points to the river and yells “SNAKE”. There, only about 10 yards in front of our faces was a 12 ft long King Cobra cruising down the stream which the trail followed and which OF COURSE led to the Jacuzzi pool! So the ensuing question “I thought you said their there were no snakes in the Jacuzzi pool?” was a bit embarrassing and really quite indefensible on my part. Thankfully our guide Danny, who’s been guiding in Danum for over 15 years, backed me up and confirmed that he’d not seen a King Cobra in over 5 years and never swimming in a stream like we’d seen. He reassured the group that it was ok to swim in the pool and luckily since my credibility was blown everyone’s nerves were sufficiently placated, plus I had a couple rounds of beer brought out from the lodge to pardon my error! Crisis averted and a truly unforgettable memory was born!
Your friendly Borneo expert,

Jeff Stivers
Got questions about travel to Borneo? Ask me!
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