Due to flight schedules it took us two flights and an overnight stay in Kota Kintabula to travel from Sarawak to Sabah and reach Sandakan our final destination. Our 0 dark thirty wake up call got us to our flight at 7 am and a short 30 minute flight deposited us in Sandakan near Sepilok – home of the Sepilok Orang Utahn Rehabilitation centre and the Borneo Sun Bear Conservation centre. Both were amazing centres devoted to the rehabilitation and preservation of two incredible mammals. Our first stop was the orangutan nursery for orphaned babies, then open to the feeding platforms in the jungle areas and then over to the Borneo Sun Bear property run by an amazing man who has devoted his life to the preservation of these lovely little Asian bears.
A 2 hour drive through uninterrupted miles of oil palm plantations gave way suddenly to Rain Forest conservation habitat as we entered the area around our next lodgings – the Borneo Sukau Bilit Resort on the Kinabatangan River. The lodge is extraordinary with all rooms being individual cabins. My handcrafted abode sits perched above a small natural pond adjacent to the river and is charming. One unusual feature is the floor in the shower. Rather than a solid floor the boards are spaced apart so water just flows through onto the ground – interesting design 🙂 No internet or cell service for the next two days 😀
Our late afternoon was completed with a cruise along the Kinabatangan River – and what a cruise it became! Here at last is a balanced jungle – insects, birds, reptiles, amphibians and large mammals. Family groups of monkeys dotted the shoreline, squabbling, engaging in a acrobatic play, feeding and just hanging around being monkeys getting ready for the night.
I knew I would see Orangutans in the Rehabiliation centre this trip but never dreamed I would see one in the wild – and there he was right along the river, a wise old male gorging on ripening figs. One of 825 Orangutans in this forest – what a privilege! Macaque and probocsis monkey sightings completed a wonderful, wonderful day! Tomorrow our day starts with a dawn boat ride along the river in search of birds and more monkeys. Stay tuned!