Part of our Amazing Sarawak adventure was a night time frogging safari or just “frogging” as they say. Neither Lauren nor I had ever even thought of frogging as something we’d ever contemplate doing nevertheless something we’d ever put on our travel itinerary. But here we were in Borneo, and if you think you can experience the heart of Borneo by hanging out in your hotel, reading magazines & sipping on WiFi coffee, then you’ve got it backwards.
Borneo, Sarawak in particular, is an endless bounty of the most pristine rain-forest on this planet. This island, the third largest in the world, is home to thousands of species of flora and fauna that are endemic to the region. That means that this is the ONLY place in the world that they are found. Queue the excitement.
Frogs of Kubah National Park
The actual item on our itinerary said that that evening we were off to a “frog race” which had us scratching our heads as to what exactly that was, and what the rules could possibly be. Do we each get a frog? Do they race in a straight line, or to the corner of a ring like the famous snail races? Can we paint them? Kiss them for luck? The questions were flying. It turns out the race is actually between photographers and how many frogs you capture during the evening! Capture on film, that is.
Kubah National Park contains has an impressive amount of frogs and pitcher plant species.
We left Matang Wildlife Centre with the crew from Sarawak Tourism, Michael and the ever friendly Angela, to head to another part of the Kubah National Park. Having Angela with us proved invaluable as she comes from a long line of native Bornean people (the Iban tribe) that are just supremely comfortable amongst the insects and animals of Borneo. Even in the inky dark of night.
We met Dominic from Kubah National Park, who gave a brief introduction to the evening’s activities, and then headed to the “frog pond” which is an expanse of shallow water surrounded by a wooden walkway fairly high up the mountain.
Once we got to the top Dominic, the ultimate frog man of Sarawak – in my opinion – taught us how to find these little guys with our flashlights. The trick is to hold the end of your torch / flashlight on the tip of your nose and move it with you as you pivot your heading and look for the reflections of the frog’s eyes.
Reflections immediately began to light up my line of vision, hundreds of them, and immediately I headed off to investigate. Turns out frog’s eyes aren’t the only eyes that reflect back at you and more than once I found myself in close encounters with some serious spiders!
Dominic was pretty “hands on” when it came to giving us a closer look. The frogs didn’t seem to mind.
Mostly frogs were just croaking and chilling out in the trees. Like this guy. Very laid-back.
Angela and Lauren cornering a leopard frog by the looks of it.
Looking down on a frog that’s also looking down, while hoping nothing reptilian is looking down on me.
This frog never even blinked. Excellent model.
This is the second smallest frog in Kubah National Park, look at the size of Dominic’s thumb nail compared to his body and it is fully grown.
Michael from Sarawak Tourism getting some awesome Instagram shots.
This was one of the bigger and slippery ones. Perhaps a future prince for some of you ladies?
Some of the other creepy crawlies we bumped into.
Pitcher plants! We were actually looking for a very rare and tiny frog that lives inside them but weren’t lucky.
After we left the pond we headed to some rock pools.
My favourite image of the evening. Cute bugger.
And finally, we set out to find the Bornean Horned Frog. He’s pretty good at blending in. Can you spot him?
I’ll make it easier for you. Look at those eyes!
We ended up having such a fun time that we lost track of who took what and even what the names of all the species were. I found myself lying on the floor taking pictures, balancing on rocks and stepping off the already “unbeaten track” into caves and hideaways to get closer to these incredible frogs.
This experience ranks really high up and is one of my favourite memories of Sarawak. It’s a unique combination of doing something you’ve never done before, the fact that the location is teeming with never-seen-before wildlife and that not many people have ever done it. Plus we honestly just had loads of fun. If my torch batteries held up I definitely would have wanted to stay longer. Up there in the mountains it’s just you and the frogs in the dead of night. And they make an wonderful sound.
In fact last year Marc Anderson recorded the frogs right where we were and won “Most beautiful sound in the world” competition. Listen here >> Dusk by the Frog Pond – Borneo
This trip was made possible by Sarawak Tourism but, as usual, we write what we like here.
Megan @Traveling Nine to Fiver says
Okay, this is pretty amazing. I’ve always really loved frogs and would absolutely love going on a frogging trip. Will have to whenever I make it over there. My closest yet was all the Coqui frogs in Puerto Rico. Thanks for sharing.
Lauren Manuel McShane says
I had no previous interest in frogs or walking in a rainforest at night but this was really awesome! Definitely something you would love!
David Cutts says
Awesome article Vaughan. That would be such a great adventure.