Sakau Rainforest Lodge
The lodge is built on stilts on the banks of the Kinabatangan River. Its many achievements include being included in the National Geographic list of ‘unique Lodges of the World.’
Even my room was located in the jungle and waking up to the sound of birds, monkeys and orangutan (even at 2.30) gave an amazing feeling. The sounds of wildlife are so much more powerful than the dawn chorus of magpie and pigeon back home.
The lodge is designed for optimum relaxation and wildlife watching (there’s a walking platform). The open restaurant setting on the river gives outstanding views during meal times and there’s a bar.
The big five (if you’re lucky)
Found only in Sumatra and Borneo, orangutans are long-haired, reddish brown primates with very long arm spans. It spends most of its time up in the trees in the rainforests, eating mostly fruit and young leaves. Every night, an orangutan will bends branches together into a bowl shape, fill with foliage, and create a nest to sleep in. Look up into the trees and you’re bound to see what looks like a giant nest.
The most famous place to see orangutans in Borneo is the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. Visitors can climb tall platforms to observe orangutans in the trees. Fruit is placed on feeding platforms twice daily; shy orangutans brave a barrage of tourists' cameras to take the offerings before retreating back into the forest. They do great work at the centre to rehabilitate orangutans that have had terrible lives.
Borneo pygmy elephant
The Borneo pygmy elephant is the smallest elephant with large ears. The elephant is found hanging around the lowland forest, which is seasonally inundated with floodwaters. It’s not unusual to see them swimming in the river, cooling down.
A reddish-brown monkey that inhabits Borneo’s lowland forests and mangrove swamps. The male is easily recognisable with a large fleshy nose. They are great swimmers and can swim under water for up to 20 meters. They can often be seen hanging from branches along the Kinabatangan River.
Saltwater crocodiles are the largest of all living reptiles that can reach five metres in length. The largest population lives amongst the floodplains of the Kinabatangan River basking on the banks. Watch them - just because your boat is bigger doesn’t mean that they won’t grab an overhanging arm.
Malaysia’s national bird is the size of a swan; it’s noisy and can live for up to 90 years. The more beautiful male, has orange or red irises, and the female has whitish irises. The bird isn’t having the best of times due to loss of habitat, hunting for its meat and fashion. The feathers have become fashionable in jewellery.