If I were to give you a map of the world would you be able to find Borneo?
I’m guessing most people would struggle a bit at first and, to me, that’s one of the things that made my recent expedition to Borneo so special. It’s an overwhelmingly beautiful place that few people really know about and that makes you feel like you have stepped into a completely different world. A lost world. Put it this way, when one of my guests played the theme from Jurassic Park while we walked through the forest in the Danum Valley it felt quite real. I would not have been too shocked if we came around a bend and bumped into a Triceratops just going about it’s business.
Borneo is wild, lush and overwhelming and as a nature destination it is about as wild and remote a place I have ever had on any trip anywhere in the world. It is in a word, spectacular and the scale of the place makes you feel truly small and insignificant – in a good way. No, in a great way.
This is not a trip report and during the next few weeks I will be sharing a whole lot more on the wildlife of Borneo, images, guest galleries and some awesome videos and vlogs from our Borneo but felt I wanted to start sharing some information on the diverse destinations we visited during our Rainforests of Borneo expedition.
Sepilok Nature Resort
Sepilok Nature Resort is a stunning lodge just outside Sandakan located around a lake and which borders an Orangutan Sanctuary and the Sun Bear Centre which we visit on the first full day of the trip. The birding around the lodge are is spectacular and the activities from here included visits to the two venues mentioned above which makes for a great intro to the wildlife of the country, good education and the perfect place to get into shooting and stretch the photographic muscles at the beginning of the trip. We had literally just checked into our rooms when an orangutan showed up to say hi – great start.
Kinabatangan Wetlands Resort
Kinabatangan is about a 2 hour boat ride from Sandakan and the majority of the activities are on the river and done from a boat with evening forest walks each day after dinner. Birdlife, primates and the small mammals are off the charts and the lodge setting in the wetlands is absolutely amazing. In this place you truly get the feeling that you are in a wild, wild place. Most of the activities at Kinabatangan focus on the river and photographing wildlife from a boat. This is complimented by night time forest walks to look for and photograph the incredible diversity of mammals, reptiles and insects that inhabit the forest.
Tabin Wildlife Resort
A 2 hour boat ride and 2 hour road transfer took us from Kinabatngan to Tabin, a stunning reserve with a limited road network but the border between the reserve and the Oil Palm plantations make for an incredible density of wildlife and birds. Will share more on this in future blog posts. In Tabin we we did mostly game drives as well as morning walks to find and photograph Gibbons – a seriously difficult species to photograph as they literally never stay still.
Borneo Rainforest Lodge
This lodge is in the Danum Valley and rivals lodges like Singita and Londolozi on facilities, rooms and service. Danum is one of the most breath-taking places I have ever seen. Anywhere. The size and feeling of the place is quite difficult to comprehend. Apart from one night drive all activities here are on foot and makes a gorilla trek look like a walk in the park. The forest is beautiful and harsh, raw and colourful and finding and following Orangutan on foot is absolutely bucket list stuff. A canopy walk and early morning sunrise shoot over the Valley rates as two of the highlights of the trip.
Danum, and Borneo as a whole, is a place that makes you realise that sometimes the dream is real. Thanks for the quote Chris – sums it up perfectly.
Like I said, this is not a trip report and I have just uploaded a podcast with some more thoughts from Borneo – you can check it out below – but I look forward to sharing some of the amazing guest images, videos, stories and official trip report from our Borneo trip in due course.
Borneo is wild, lush and overwhelming and I cannot wait to get back there next year. Would you like to join me?
More to follow soon!
Until next time.
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