This 14 day tour visits Sabah – Malaysian Borneo. It is designed specifically for photographers who are interested in all areas of natural history. With pitcher plants and rafflesia, orangutans and bats, and a variety of colourful birds and other animals this is a great destination for both beginner and experienced photographers. This is a great chance to travel with a professional photographer who knows the country well.
Not a difficult itinerary. Distances are not great but there are some winding roads which may cause motion sickness in those that are prone to it.
Sabah offers a wide variety of accommodation from the luxurious purpose built lodges of the Danum to tented camps and local guesthouses. On customised tours accommodation can be varied depending on the clients requirements.
Day 1: Arrive Kota Kinabalu and meet group for dinner.
Day 2: Travel to Tambunan Rafflesia Reserve via Crocker Range.
Day 3: Exploring the Kinabalu Park. This is one of Borneo’s premier birding destinations and we hope to see Malaysian Treepie, Bornean Laughing Thrush, Short-tailed Magpies, Mountain Leaf Warblers, Chestnut-crested Yuhina, Temminck’s Sunbird and more.
Day 4: Further exploration of Kinabalu Park. Today we will visit the higher altitudes where a variety of nepenthes (pitcher plants) can be seen and photographed from an accessible trail. The nearby Kundasang War Memorial Gardens dedicated to the memory of Sabah, British and Australian war dead may also be of interest.
Day 5: Leaving the park we will head to Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary. Around 60 proboscis monkeys live in this privately owned mangrove forest which has been saved from oil palm development and is now a sanctuary for a wide array of birds, animals and some very interesting plants. Later in the day we will head for Sepilok Nature Resort.
Day 6: With the Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre only a 10 minute walk from the accommodation there will be excellent opportunities to take close ups of orangutans. We also have easy access to the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Park. The Rainforest Discovery Centre offers a 147m canopy walk through the trees 28m above the ground. The Plant Discovery Garden with its wonderful orchid display is a must. Night walks in the park give us the chance of Civet Cats, Tarsiers, Mousedeer and more. The Sepilok-Kabili Forest Reserve is full of birds and animals such as Black and Crimson, Blue-headed and Giant Pittas, Black and Rhinoceros Hornbills, Flying Squirrels, gibbons and the elusive Red Leaf Monkey.
Day 7: Travel to the Gomantong Caves. This cave system is famous for the the Edible Nest Swiftlet. It is also home to massive Wrinkle-lipped Freetail Bats with other bat species present in lesser numbers. Bat Hawks wait for the exodus in the evening. Also outside one can see Crested Serpent Eagle, a variety of kingfshers and the stunning Asian Fairy Bluebird. Travel to the Kinabatangan River later in the day.
Day 8: A trek through the lush riverine forest near the lodge before breakfast offers a variety of birds and insects. The rest of the day can be spent exploring the local area before returning to relax in the afternoon. After dinner a nocturnal walk can yield Slow Loris, Leopard Cat and a variety of frogs.
Day 9: A dawn boat trip on the river offers some spectacular wildlife viewing but at dawn and in the evening. Orangutan, Proboscis Monkey, Macaques, Maroon Langur and Bornean Gibbon are amongst the primates seen here and if we are lucky the newly discovered Bornean Pygmy Elephant can be seen on the edge of the rivet. The balance of the day will be spent exploring the local area.
Day 10: After breakfast we head for the Danum Valley and the spectacular Borneo Rainforest Lodge. This area is a paradise for bird and wildlife watchers. It also offers some great photographic opportunities. The 300m canopy walkway is a must.
Day 11: Exploring the Danum Valley. With 16 species of woodpecker, 7 species of pigeon, 8 species of kingfisher and a variety of fantastic pheasants, trogons, pittas, broadbills and sunbirds there is always something to see.
Day 12: Exploring the Danum Valley. Pygmy Elephants, Clouded Leopards, Sumatran Rhinoceros and Orangutan all make their home in the Danum Valley but are very difficult to see.
Day 13: Take an early morning bird walk and after a leisurely breakfast get ready for your transfer to Lahad Datu airport for your flight back to Kota Kinabalu and an overnight stay.
Days 14: Transfer to the airport and start your journey home.
Possible Extension to this tour:
Day 14: Transfer to Tabin Nature Reserve. This is a great place for wildlife.
Day 15: Explore Tabin Nature Reserve including the Lipad mud volcano which acts as a salt lick for many of the local animals.
Day 16: Exploring Tabin Nature Reserve. The best times are early morning and late afternoon leaving time in the middle of the day for relaxation. Nocturnal walks are also rewarding.
Day 17: Fly to Kota Kinabulu where you will overnight.
Day 18: Transfer to airport and begin homeward journey.