9 days for £5,995 3 July 2021
Explore Malaysia’s primary rainforests and wetlands teeming with rare and endangered species as Alfred Wallace did before writing his 1869 book The Malay Archipelago. Expect to see orangutans, sun bears, civet cats, langurs, gibbons, proboscis monkeys, rhinoceros hornbills and many more. Led by conservationist and photographer Charles Ryan who will also help you gain the best wildlife shots.
Visit conservation projects, hear from the experts and experience how species and habitats are being rehabilitated and protected. Staying in secluded idyllic lodges and nature resorts in the heart of the forest reserves. Enjoy wildlife safaris, cruises, treks and evening walks through hectares of pristine and undisturbed tropical rainforest.
DAY 1: ARRIVE INTO SEPILOK
Welcome to Borneo! You will be met upon arrival at Sandakan airport and then transfer to Sepilok Nature Resort, just 20 minutes away. Situated at the edge of Kabili Sepilok Forest Reserve.
In the evening, your guest expert and guide Charles Ryan will give an introductory talk on the expedition ahead and then you can enjoy a welcome meal together.
After dinner, head out for an optional night walk in the lush rain forest to search for nocturnal wildlife amongst the 150 species of orchid.
DAY 2: SEPILOK ORANGUTANG REHABILITATION CENTRE
Depart early for a pre-breakfast birdwatching walk. Return to the lodge for breakfast and walk the short distance from the resort to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre.
The centre was set up by Barbara Harrison in 1964 and was the first in the world to dedicate itself to the rehabilitation of orphaned orangutans. It covers an area of 43 square kilometres of protected land. Today, there are around 60 to 80 orangutans living free in the reserve. In addition, the centre provides medical care for orphaned and confiscated orangutans as well as dozens of other wildlife species. You will see how the centre has built a buddy system within the orangutan community to replace the training they would normally receive from their mothers.
In the afternoon, head out to the Rainforest Discovery Centre, which will involve a short amount of trekking. The centre is managed by the Sabah Forestry Department. The main purpose of the RDC remains as an environmental education centre for students and teachers. It also hosts the annual Borneo Bird Festival which attracts the participation of birding enthusiasts from all over the world.
In the evenings, Charles will give informal talks reflecting on the days finds and insight on conservation issues. He will also help you improve your photography skills.
DAY 3: BORNEAN SUN BEAR CONSERVATION CENTRE AND THE KINABATANGAN WETLANDS
After breakfast, depart for the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre, where you will be given a private tour of the centre by the founder of the centre, Dr Wong. The sun bear is the smallest bear species in the world and also the second rarest due to various threats. As well as being able to see the bears in a natural habitat, your entrance fee supports the ongoing protection of the species.
Afterwards, head for an early lunch at San Da Gen Kopitiam. You will then drive to a small dock on the Kinabatangan River, taking around 45 minutes. From here depart on a two-hour boat journey throught the jungle to the Kinabatangan Wetlands Resort, a boutique lodge situated on the banks of the river.
After time to relax at the lodge, head out by small boat for a dusk river cruise to search for the wildlife along the river. The region is teeming with fauna, orangutans, pygmy elephants, hornbills, macaques, leaf monkeys and otters. You will spend a couple of hours on the river, before returning back to the lodge for dinner.
After dinner, you have the option to head out for a short night walk to search for some of the nocturnal residents of the forest. Some of the things to be seen are civet cats, owls, frogs, mousedeer, and much more.
DAY 4: RIVER SAFARIS AND SUSTAINABLE FARMING
There will be an early wakeup call today for coffee and tea, before embarking on a 2-hour river safari to searching for wildlife. You will finish at the village of Abai for local breakfast at one of the houses. An expert will be giving a talk about the communities’ work with forest restoration and Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. The RSPO are a not-for-profit organisation that unites stakeholders to develop and implement global standards for sustainable palm oil. The RSPO has more than 4,000 members worldwide who represent all links along the palm oil supply chain. They have committed to produce, source and/or use sustainable palm oil certified by the RSPO. Afterwards, visit a forest restoration site, see the impact that it has on wildlife and have an opportunity to plant some trees.
After return by boat to the lodge for lunch, take another river safari in search of more wildlife.
DAY 5: FURTHER EXPLORATION OF THE KINABATANGAN WETLANDS
Wake up early to depart on your dawn river cruise to search for more wildlife. Spend a couple of hours on the river, before returning to the lodge for breakfast. Afterwards, enjoy a walk through the rainforest to learn about rainforest ecology and peat forest.
After lunch, there will be a presentation on conservation in Borneo, followed by an afternoon river cruise. In the evening, head out for a night safari by boat to spotlight for wildlife along the river.
DAY 6: JOURNEY TO THE DANUM VALLEY
Today will involve travelling deep in the forest. There’s an early wake up for a full breakfast, before departing for your next destination, the Danum Valley. Firstly, take a boat ride, followed by an overland transfer to Lahad Datu, then onto Danum Valley.
Arrive at the Borneo Rainforest Lodge for lunch. It is Borneo’s premier 5-star jungle lodge and is the only resort in the entire Danum Valley Conservation Area, an area of 440 square kilometres of virgin primary rainforest. This region is home to some of the highest diversity on the planet. With common sightings of orangutans, red leaf langurs, gibbons, hornbills and more, it is the perfect place to explore the rainforests.
Borneo Rainforest Lodge has exceptional local guides and, in the afternoon, you will head out for the first of several wildlife walks with them.
DAY 7: FULLY EXPLORE THE DANUM VALLEY
Spend the day with your guide trekking in Danum Valley to search for animals both large and small and everything explained in great detail. A forest alive with smells, sounds and sights.
In the evening, enjoy a presentation about Alfred Wallace’s contribution to the theory of evolution and his discoveries in this region. Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913) was an explorer, collector, naturalist, geographer, anthropologist and political commentator. He was most famously known for having the revolutionary idea of evolution by natural selection entirely independently of Charles Darwin.
Wallace noticed a striking pattern in the distribution of animals around the archipelago. He proposed an imaginary line dividing Borneo from its eastern neighbours that later known as Wallace’s Line, this marked the boundary between the animal life of the Australian region and that of Asia.
After dinner, take a night walk or night drive.
DAY 8: DANUM VALLEY TO KOTA KINABALU
Spend the morning on a final drive of the forest in search of wildlife. Return to the lodge for lunch, and then depart for the 1.5-hour journey back to Lahad Datu for a 1-hour flight to Kota Kinabalu. Take a short transfer to the Marriot Hotel in the city centre, and then head out for a final dinner in a local restaurant joined by a couple of local conservationists.
DAY 9: DEPART MALAYSIAN BORNEO
After a farewell breakfast, you will be transferred to the Kota Kinabalu airport for your onwards journey.