Sunday, November 2, 2008

Kelah Sanctuary at Kuala Marong, Endau Rompin

If you ever get the chance to visit Endau Rompin National Park, try to make a detour to the Kuala Marong Kelah sanctuary. This is yet another wonderful place in tropical rainforest Malaysia where you can witness first hand the famed Malaysian Mahseer in its natural habitat.

I visited Kuala Marong during a trip to Endau Rompin organized by the Nature Guide SIG from the Malaysia Nature Society. Kuala Marong was part of the itinerary and its one of the highlights (for me at least) of the whole trip. I rarely miss the chance to see the Kelah, even if they are in fish tanks!

Unlike the Sungai Petang Kelah sanctuary that is rather heavily guarded by park rangers, Kuala Marong seems to be a bit ‘easy’ for people to access to. There were people camping just beside the river when I was there. There were also quite many people trying to ‘swim’ with the fishes.

I get to see them Kelah fishes from a specially built viewing platform. The water was crystal clear and the fishes can be seen gracefully swimming around waiting for food from human visitors. There wasn’t really that many Kelah but they were huge ones. I saw not only the Kelah but also Sebarau, Lampam and Tengas.

The fishes at Kuala Marong

Kuala Marong is a place where two rivers meet. Further down from where the fishes are is a place for visitors to swim. I didn’t hesitate of course. The place was teaming with fishes. No Kelah came near but there were definitely some curios Lampam and Sebarau. Some were even curious enough to nibble my toes! A few of my friends joined me in the water. They had some bread with them, which the fishes gladly ate up. I know it’s not a good thing to be feeding the fishes but sometimes people just can’t help it! Don’t blame them really.

Me and an Orang Asal guide at Kuala Marong

The Kuala Marong Kelah sanctuary is most accessible via the eastern entrance to the park, often referred to as the Kampung Peta way. To enter via this entrance, it is best that you hire 4WD services from the Kahang town nearby. The access road is unpaved and winds through endless oil palm plantations.

Read more about my rainforest adventures in Endau Rompin National Park.