I’ve just returned from a superb 10 days of diving and land travel throughout Sabah and Brunei as part of a tour organised by Sabah Tourism and Royal Brunei Airlines, it was an impressive trip with a fantastic array of wildlife, flora and fauna on display that should surely put Borneo at the top of any eco minded travelers wish list. On my first day I was whisked down to Sepilok to the orangutan rehabilitation program which is taking place there, after a quick video introduction we set foot into the jungle and within a short walk were in eye shot of the feeding platform. Now it’s no guarantees that any orangutans will actually show up and the wait kind of adds to the suspense, for a moment I thought this wasn’t going to be our day and was starting to wonder what the reaction might be like from people who’ve traveled 8000 kilometers for this spectacle. But surely enough the rope lines leading to the platforms started to wobble signalling the sign of what was to come. We saw 3 baby orangutans feeding and a full grown female, it was impressive but if you really want to see them in the wild then you’re going to have to travel further into Sabah to the large national parks.
My suggestion is to head down to Sukau or the Danum Valley in the wet lands of eastern Borneo, you can reach it within a day from Sepilok. This is a beautiful part of the country and these lowland primary forests are home to the diversity of wildlife that Borneo has become famous for. We took a boat up through the meandering passages of the impressive Kitabatangan River to the Sukau Rainforest Lodge, on arrival we were met with refreshing cold towels and fruit drinks before being shown our tastefully designed rooms. Fernando our guide then suggested we take a trip up the river to ‘have some fun on the water’!
Not far from the lodge and with thick rainforest lining the banks of the river and you really get a sense of how much wild life can be found here. Within moments we saw the brilliant probiscis monkey with it’s protruding lobe like nose, long tail macaques, many types of hornbill and perhaps most impressively a wild elephant all in the space of an hour or so. It was an impressive introduction to the region and Sukau Rainforest Lodge was the perfect base to see it. The philosophy of the lodge is firmly centered around the principles of conservation and sustainability and you can see this throughout all areas of the way in which it’s run. I’d surely like to make a return visit to this incredible part of Borneo. In my next post I’ll be sharing photos and video of my time in Sipadan and Mabul for some adventures underwater.
Here’s the video I managed to take of the Elephant encounter –