Kenaboi Forest Reserve is located in the district of Jelebu, Negeri Sembilan, which is about 85 km from Kuala Lumpur. Standing at 1,462 meters, Gunung Besar Hantu, which is the highest peak in Negeri Sembilan, is situated in this forest reserve along with its highest waterfall, known as Lata Kijang (Deer Waterfall). In 2008, the state government declared an area of 9,420 hectares of the Kenaboi Forest Reserve as a State Wildlife Park but was later renamed Kenaboi State Park.
This is the kind of destination that is certainly a little more challenging than your usual eco-destination, but if I may say so, one that is totally worth the effort.
Kenaboi State Park
Our journey from Kuala Lumpur took about two hours to reach Kampung Chennah in Jelebu, Negeri Sembilan. Far from the hustle and bustle of the city, the change of scenery was very welcoming as we were surrounded by greenery. The journey would have been pleasant if we didn’t have to go through a narrow and long serpentine road, which was a bit challenging for those suffering from motion sickness.
We had to switch to a four-wheel-drive (4WD) at Kampung Chennah as we got ready to go off-road, which meant a rougher ride ahead. It turned out to be fun when we had to go through the Orang Asli (aborigines) villages, where friendly children welcomed us with their friendly smiles and enthusiastic waving. After that, the road kept getting narrower and narrower until we reached our base camp near a small stream.
The soothing sounds of the running stream and the sounds of birds chirping somewhere above, and the smell of clean moist air, as well as the cool temperature were a lethal combination as we could get addicted to it.
Every one of us couldn’t wait to take part in the various activities that the state park had to offer. First, we went tubing in the lazy river for 1.2 kilometers. The river was gentle enough for us to float lazily while day-dreaming about our life but in some parts of the river we had to manoeuvre through bubbling rapids and huge rocks, which made our tubing experience a little bit more exhilarating.
From the river, we moved up to the tree top for a flying fox activity, which was a short distance but nothing short of fun and thrilling. It was definitely an exhilarating and unique aerial journey.
Some of us opted for another adrenaline rush activity, which was abseiling down a small cliff. I was told that the cliff was quite slippery and it was quite challenging to manoeuvre through a huge fallen tree that was blocking their path. And at the end of the cliff, they could just let go and jump down to the cool stream below.
Lata Kijang (Deer Waterfall)
We continued our journey with a visit to the highest waterfall in Negeri Sembilan, Lata Kijang. It took us about 30 minutes to reach this 93-meter waterfall by a four-wheel-drive. It was such a bumpy ride that some of us felt like throwing up.
On the way to the waterfall, we stopped at an ideal spot to check out the hornbill nest on top of a really tall tree. Unfortunately, the hornbill was not at its nest but the surrounding view was really fantastic.
We continued our journey to the waterfall but this time around, the journey was really smooth because the road was tarred. Once we arrived there, the view of the statuesque waterfall really took our breath away. The sounds and sights of the cascading waterfall brought peace to our mind after such a hectic journey and activities. Apart from enjoying the view, there’s nothing much to do at the waterfall except taking a selfie. After that, we returned to the base camp for amuch needed rest.
Our second day mission was to find the “Malaysian Lord of the Rings”, which was the hidden gem at the Kenaboi State Park. Jeram Berungut is flanked by 40-meter high rocky cliffs covered in green moss, thus creating a river canyon that is so breathtaking. It was such a surreal experience. The fantasy-like surroundings that we needed to pass to get to the cool and clear water of Jeram Berungut really made us feel like we were in the “Lord of the Rings” movie.
People always said that difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations and we can assure you that in the case of Jeram Berungut, it’s all true. The journey tested not just our fitness but also our patience. No wonder it was called Berungut, which means grumbling because you’d find yourself grumbling throughout the tough journey.
The journey started with a 15-minute jungle trekking, which was easy peasy but then the nightmare began. Well, you have to give us the benefit of the doubt because this was our first river trekking. The effort to find our footing on the slippery rocky river floor for 45 minutes made us feel like no river canyon was worth the torture, but it was all forgotten once we saw the stunning view and the cool and crystal clear waters that looked inviting. Some of us couldn’t wait to jump right in but some just let their eyes slowly take in the quiet beauty around them.
We may return to Kuala Lumpur black and blue from the many tumbles we took while crossing the river, but for that kind of wonderful nature, we wouldn’t mind returning to this river canyon again and again.