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Searching for wildlife can be a long process. You can game drive for days and not see an elephant or a leopard. You can walk for hours without a glimpse of anything but the surrounding forests or plains. It’s all part of the excitement, never knowing which moment is the one all your efforts will be rewarded.

And thats not to say there isn’t still plenty to see. On most trips you will see a constant stream of smaller, more abundant animals, led there by excellent guides who know the rhythms of nature. If not there are birds perching on trees and bushes, calling out to each other. You can see the footprints of animals as you get near to the softer mud or dry dust and the plant life is nearly always abundant.

Occasionally though you get an exceptional sighting, as I did when walking in Gunung Leuser National Park in North West Sumatra. We’d seen orangutans high in the branches of the towering canopy, feeding on the fruit that grew there. We’d heard the crashing of branches as they travelled overhead. Then we saw this magnificent male, resplendent with the typical moon face of a mature male. He, as you can see, wasn’t too bother by the fact we’d stumbled into his afternoon nap, although he was such a size I cannot believe he spend too long in the trees – they weren’t big enough to take his weight.

If you fancy your own close encounter, Real Asia offer trips to Borneo which will give you the chance to get up close and personal too.

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