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An intimate small group journey featuring behind-the-scenes wildlife experiences and once in a lifetime encounters.
a Destinations d > Malaysia & Borneo > Conservation Collection: Borneo
13 May & 21 Oct '23
This exciting journey traverses the wildlife haven of Sabah, in Borneo’s north. From the hill forests of Mount Kinabalu to the ancient jungles of the Danum Valley, the richest wildlife habitat in Borneo.
On this nine night itinerary, we’ll visit a variety of wildlife habitats in search of the remarkable wildlife which calls Borneo home. Seek out Bornean Pygmy Elephant, and Sunda Clouded Leopard and discover the magical lush rainforest which is home to the Bornean Orangutan and search the riverine habitats of the Kinabatangan River for Proboscis Monkey. All is possible on this extraordinary adventure across this tropical island.
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The TreadRight Foundation is proud to endorse our inaugural series of MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Journeys. These meticulously crafted itineraries are designed for curious travellers who share our passion for protecting people, wildlife and planet.
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Stay in unique, hand-picked accommodations that are evocative of your destination.
Enjoy land and water experiences seeking out Borneo’s elusive wildlife.
Each day you will be led by experienced guides to make the most of your experience.
Discover the unique culture of this fascinating country
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Spend time with Dr Wong Siew, the founder of the Sun Bear Conservation Centre. We learn more about this little known species and the challenges they face before touring the facility.
We will plant trees and learn about the 1StopBorneo Wildlife Corridor project which is working to allow animal movement between two forest reserves, and may observe the Bornean pygmy elephants who benefit from the project.
Danum Valley is home to some of the most
rarely sighted species anywhere on earth. This
may be the only location where the Sunda
clouded leopard is seen with any regularity.
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On arrival at Kota Kinabalu we will be met and driven to our hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure until our welcome dinner. (D)
After breakfast we depart for the cooler climates of Mount Kinabalu National Park. At 13,435 feet above sea level, Mount Kinabalu is the highest peak between the Himalayas and New Guinea. Comprising four climatic zones, the park is home to over 6,000 species of plants, over 300 species of bird and more than 100 mammals making it one of the most important biological sites in the world.
Enjoy a walk in the Botanical Gardens and learn about the vast array of flora found in this UNESCO-listed national park.
Walking the forest trails after lunch we may see endemics such as the spectacular Whitehead’s trogon, crimson-headed partridge, and Bornean leafbird.
Later we make our way to nearby Poring for a stroll along a canopy walkway. Suspended between trees at a height of 40m, the walkway offers an excellent opportunity to observe canopy-dwellling species rarely seen from below. Monkeys, squirrels, arboreal snakes and lizards, and a variety of rainforest birds including – hornbills, barbets and many endemic species are found here. If time permits, we may have a chance to soak in the hot sulphur pools, renowned for their therapeutic properties. (B)(L)(D)
This morning enjoy breakfast before taking a fascinating guided tour of the organic tea plantation. We will learn how raw tea leaves are processed and packed for export.
After lunch, we make our way to our jungle accommodation in Sepilok. Our accommodation adjoins the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve, and in the evening we will take a night walk from their Rainforest Discovery Centre. Flying squirrels are often sighted at this time, and if lucky we may also see the remarkable slow loris and possibly even the bug-eyed Bornean tarsier. It is the smaller species that often provide some of the most memorable moments of a night walk – long-nosed lantern bugs, tree frogs, sleeping birds including multi-coloured kingfishers and barbets, and even vipers and other small rainforest snakes. (B)(L)(D)
Our first stop is the nearby Sun Bear Conservation Centre. We will have an exclusive conversation with the founder of the centre, Dr Wong Siew, who will tell us about the centre’s aims, philosophy, and the challenges facing the sun bear.
From here we walk to the adjoining Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in time for the morning feeding session. The centre was established in the 1960s to care for orphaned and injured Bornean orangutans from logging and clearing activities and the illegal pet trade. The orangutans here live in a semi-wild state, feeding independently in the rainforest, while also returning to feeding stations to supplement their natural diet as needed. Although visitor numbers can be high, the centre is well worth visiting for the opportunity to see these great apes at relatively close range, and a morning visit increases the likelihood of sighting other wildlife in the rich forests here.
Later we depart by road to Sukau on the Kinabatangan River, where we board our boat for the short ride down river to our rainforest lodge.
Once settled we will take our first river cruise in search of wildlife along the river banks. (B)(L)(D)
The Kinabatangan River protects an area of riverine and lowland forest which is rich in Bornean endemics, and offers the best chance to see many of Borneo’s unique rainforest mammals in the wild.
We rise with the birds and head out for a boat trip on Kelenanap Oxbow Lake. This crescent-shaped lake was created when the meandering path of the main river strayed so far that this loop was cut off from the main tributary. The stillness of the lake and its relative protection provides a haven for animals and plants that is unique from the nearby river ecosystem.
After we return to the lodge, we will take an informative tour along the Hornbill Boardwalk with the resident naturalist at the resort and gain a fascinating insight into the medicinal uses of local flora.
In late afternoon, we head out to watch the river activities of local primates, a particularly great time to spot wildlife and the light is often perfect for photography. One of Borneo’s most iconic species, the bizarre and rare proboscis monkey, is found in the riverine vegetation. There is also the chance to spot the Bornean pygmy elephant, Bornean gibbon, otters, crocodile, huge water monitors and snakes including the common racer, an agile climber. Birds include several species of hornbill (rhinoceros, wreathed and oriental pied), the endangered Storm’s stork, fish eagles and sunbirds. (B)(L)(D)
After breakfast we make our way to Danum Valley, one of the world’s richest and most complex eco-systems, and home to some of the most rarely sighted species anywhere on earth.
We’ll enjoy lunch at our lodge before a leisurely walk through the forest trails and the 300-metre-long canopy walkway with one of the resident naturalists. The walkway provides a unique view of life in the canopy, from tiny insects and arboreal frogs to remarkable birdlife and canopy-dwelling mammals like squirrels and monkeys.
Tonight we embark on a night safari, which offers our best chance of seeing some of the forest’s wild cats and an array of smaller nocturnal creatures. (B)(L)(D)
Danum is home to all ten of Borneo’s primate species. It is a renowned birdwatching location, with exotics such as seven species of ground-dwelling pitta in jewel like colours, seven species of hornbill, as well as argus pheasant, Borneo bristleheads and many more. The spectacled flowerpecker was a new species discovered at the lodge just over a decade ago, proof that these forests likely hold more mysteries waiting to be discovered.
Wake up to a cacophony of jungle sounds, ranging from birds to primates, such as the distinctive whooping of gibbons. Taking a packed breakfast, we will travel to a 200-year-old Kadazandusun burial site, known as “Coffin Cliff”. We will embark on a 2.6 kilometre hike and will be rewarded with views over the ancient jungle.
The rest of the afternoon is at leisure before a night walk through the forest in search of nocturnal residents. (B)(L)(D)
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before we depart Danum Valley for Tawau. (B)(L)
We will meet a representative from 1StopBorneo in the hotel lobby this morning before transferring to Sabah Softwoods Berhad. Sabah Softwoods has set aside approximately 7,000 hectares of forest for conservation and environmental purposes to establish a wildlife corridor. It provides a valuable resource for the survival of wildlife, including 50-60 Bornean pgymy elephants, and is also used by other endangered and threatened species including Bornean orangutan and sun bear.
After an arrival briefing we will visit the nursery. Since 2014 the organisation has planted more than 155,000 trees in the wildlife corridor, and we will have the opportunity to add to this impressive count.
Later we will learn more about the local conservation challenges before visiting the corridor in search of wildlife. We may spot elephant, sambar deer, sun bear, Bornean orangutan, rhinoceros and hornbill. (B)(L)(D)
After breakfast we depart for the airport for a short flight back to Kota Kinabalu where our journey ends. If you would like to extend your journey, speak with one of our destination specialists. (B)
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