Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

Discovering one more of these magical Singaporean nature reserves during a short afternoon at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve aka SBWR.

You might have read some of my writings here or elsewhere about the safeguard of Singapore Natural and Cultural Capital inspite of its necessary economical growth, but there are still many such places I have to discover in Singapore. During an afternoon walk I went to discover Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve also known as SBWR for short.

The park is located on the north-west of Singapore, on the coast, and is quite close to Malaysia, as well as the Woodlands checkpoint. There are many places where Malaysia is visible on the other side of the strait,

Malyasia seen from SBWR

Malyasia seen from SBWR

also at some point a fence clearly closes the entrance of Singapore from the shore.

SBWR - Singapore border

SBWR – Singapore border

I did not expect to bring back much pictures during a hot afternoon of exploration (most animals are smarter than humans: when it’s hot they stay in the shadow and wait whilst the super brainy two legged that we are continue sweating under the sun) and thus I brought only a small camera, and I realised later that whilst I heard many birds around me, in particular kingfishers, my flashy red t-shirt was more than the necessary warning to most of the wild life around… So I got my hears fuller than my eyes, nonetheless the park was quite a visual treat.

Like other Singaporean parks under the Singapore National Parks, you enter the park through a visitor centre which hosts a small educational exhibit, a great introduction to what visitors will discover in the reserve. The entrance to the reserve is free during the week and during weekend for a small fee of one dollar per adult and fifty cents for kids, quite worth it and a great way to contribute to nature conservation.

SBWR - Nature Gallery

SBWR – Nature Gallery

SBWR - Display in the Nature Gallery

SBWR – Display in the Nature Gallery

There are basically two paths in the park, one is the Mangrove Broadwalk and the path in the nature reserve itself. Outside of the reserve there is also the Kranji Nature Trail which leads to the Kranji Reservoir Park but it is currently in redevelopment and closed to the public. In the reserve you’ll have many educational signs about the plants, the crawlers, the birds, the insects

and there are even signs which you can scan on your smartphone.

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There are many directional signs as well so there is little chance you’ll get lost there.

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The Mangrove Boardwalk is very well done and safe over the mangrove which seems quite rich of wildlife.

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There are the usual crabs, some might be quite big (see the crab hole compared to the pencil), but also lizards, squirrels, fishes and of course birds. I’ve not been able to spot many birds but I was hearing an amazing number of kingfishers with calls from the right, the left, the front… a bit frustrating to hear all of them without seeing many, but I was not geared to really do more than exploring so it will be for next time.

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On the boardwalk there are many observation points over the mangrove and usable as shelter if you’re caught in a storm.

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Although I did not catch many of our feathered friends during the walk, I’m lucky that Patrick Tan, a very talented fellow photographer and friend, shared a few of his great pictures taken at SBWR.

(C) Patrick K.T. Tan, all rights reserved.

(C) Patrick K.T. Tan, all rights reserved.

(C) Patrick K.T. Tan, all rights reserved.

(C) Patrick K.T. Tan, all rights reserved.

(C) Patrick K.T. Tan, all rights reserved.

(C) Patrick K.T. Tan, all rights reserved.

(C) Patrick K.T. Tan, all rights reserved.

(C) Patrick K.T. Tan, all rights reserved.

In the nature reserve path you will find many places to observe the mangrove and take pictures,

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there are several hides, which also can be used as shelter, where you can sit and observe hidden from the fauna.

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The hides are of various sizes, offering different point of view over the mangrove (note that these hides are more adapted for the use of bean bags than tripods)

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as well as observation screens.

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I’ve met a few friendly photographers during my walk but I imagine that at times the place might be busy with big guns 🙂 I’m told in particular that around September and March there are many more species of birds stopping on their migration path.

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There are also two observation towers, one quite large and high which gives a great view over the mangrove and can accommodate quite a number of photography buffs.

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I’ve been in Singapore for 4 years and I laughed about this rumour, mostly conveyed with fear by foreign domestic workers: there are crocodiles in Singapore, someone even saw one in the MacRitchie reservoir (the MacRitchie is one of the fresh water reservoirs in Singapore). Though you can sometimes observe water monitors swimming — they can look like young crocodiles — there was no way in my mind that there are crocodiles in Singapore (beyond the Crocodile Farms). Well I was wrong: there are salt water wild crocodiles around SBWR, in fact there are even signs in the reserve cautioning visitors about them.

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Unfortunately I could not spot any during my walk but I was told by a friendly photographer where I could potentially see one. What I saw though was a few monitor lizards bigger than I’ve ever seen in the wild.

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I know that there are few who might want a visual proof, so Patrick kindly shared some of his croc photos taken at SBWR

(C) Patrick K.T. Tan, all rights reserved.

(C) Patrick K.T. Tan, all rights reserved.

(C) Patrick K.T. Tan, all rights reserved.

(C) Patrick K.T. Tan, all rights reserved.

(C) Patrick K.T. Tan, all rights reserved.

(C) Patrick K.T. Tan, all rights reserved.

(C) Patrick K.T. Tan, all rights reserved.

(C) Patrick K.T. Tan, all rights reserved.

So, at the SBWR, beware of the crocs! Though from what I could see, and given the fact that crocodiles are unable to climb, I am quite confident that the place is safe at Singapore-standard level as long as you remain on the marked paths.

 

If you are looking for a good place for wildlife pictures, if you are looking for a romantic walk in the nature with your loved one, an educational and entertaining time with your family, do visit Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.

 

Sungei Buloh Wetland ReserveChristian C. Berclaz
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