Wildlife Cruises at the Kuching Wetlands National Park and surrounding areas
The wildlife cruise experience of Sarawak takes place mainly in the vicinity of Kuching Wetlands National Park Across the bay of the park is the historical Santubong Peninsular and it is at the estuary of the river where the dolphin watch happens. The national Park is a RAMSAR site (wetlands of international importance), one of the seven in Malaysia.
There are two types of wildlife cruises to choose from and they take approximately three to three and a half hours respectively.
Santubong Wildlife Cruise
The cruise starts at the Sarawak Boat Club. From there, your boat cruises to the mouth of the Santubong River where Irrawaddy Dolphins may be spotted. En-route your boat roams the mangrove-lined rivers looking for wildlife.
At the Salak estuary and island, as the light starts to fade, you go in search for the rare proboscis monkey. Small groups are sometimes seen in the treetops at the water edge as they settle down for the night admist the glow of the setting sun.
Proboscis monkey at Kuching Wetlands National Park
At the mouth of the Salak river, Santubong
As dusk arrives, the search for fireflies and crocodiles begins. The boat will sail further up river where fireflies gather at night. Enjoy the subdued resplendent twinkling of the beetles (yes, fireflies are beetles!) flying about and around the branches of the mangrove trees.
As you make your way back to the boat club, you will experience first-hand how to spot a crocodile. When a torch is beamed over the riverbanks, red bright spots will get your attention. In pitch blackness, a bright torch is all one needs to detect crocodiles along the river!
The duration for this tour is approximately 3.5 hours and departs at 1600 hours
Mangrove & Irrawaddy Dolphin Watching Wildlife Cruise
This trip cruises along the Santubong River and plies the Salak River Delta systems, of which, both flow into the South China Sea.
In both, one experiences a close-up view of the heavily silted mangrove swamp which is a haven for its inhabitants from reptilians to crustaceans and fishes. The list includes; crocodiles, water monitor lizards, otters, mud skippers, mangrove crabs, prawns, edible jellyfish, shell fish and many more.
Mudskippers do what they do best – frolicking in the mud!
The swamp sustains many different species of trees, the most important being the black and red mangroves, locally known as “bakau” or “Bako”. They are used as piling in construction and is also processed as charccoal.
Though the area can be easily mistaken as wasteland, the area experiences tidal rises that leaves rich silts on which the mangrove thrives. From this, it gives rise to a symbiotic relationship affecting all flora and fauna, aquatic life and coastal organisms.
The Irrawaddy or snubfin dolphin inhabits the rivers, estuaries and shallow coastal areas. The Santubong area remains one of the best places in Sarawak to view this unusual looking marine mammal. When seen, they swim and dive around open water that is less than 30 metres deep.
Visitors will need a keen eye to spot the dolphins and they are best seen when they frolic near fishing boats as the fishermen haul in their catch!
The duration for this tour is approximately three hours and departs at 845am.
This tour is offered by CPH Travel and Tours.
Wildlife sightings cannot be guaranteed. However, the tour do enjoy a high success rate. Wildlife commonly seen on this tour includes proboscis monkeys, estuarine crocodiles, macaque monkeys, mudskippers, fireflies, monitor lizards, silver-leaf monkeys. Other wetlands residents include the Irrawaddy dolphins and a range of bird life like White Belly Eagle, White Eagret, Seagull, Kingfisher and more can be spotted. Wildlife cruise does not operate during rainy weather.
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Location Map of Wildlife Cruise at Kuching Wetlands National Park