Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Adventures in an Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre – Borneo

I have always wanted to go to Borneo. I didn’t really know much about it, just that it sounded so exotic and it has orangutans! So when looking for somewhere different for a holiday we discovered that one of the world’s top dive sites is in Borneo (as rated by Jacques Cousteau - and he should know).

There’s also some important Australian WW2 history to keep my ‘significant-other’ stimulated, and of course, the orang-utans. So before we knew it the stars had aligned and we had booked our next adventure.

Little did I know that during this holiday I was to have one of the most amazing wildlife experiences. In my diary notes I even wrote, ‘I have put off writing about this day for ages because it was so awesome I’m worried I won’t have the words to recreate it!’

We stayed at the Sepilok Nature Resort, 30 minutes drive from Sandakan on Borneo’s north east coast, which is located right next door to the Sepilok Orang-utan Rehabilitation Centre.

On our first day we head over for the 10am feeding time, buy our entry tickets (approx. $10 each), put our daypack in the locker (there are lots of warning posters about carrying bags into the reserve), then head off into the rainforest pathway to the feeding area.

We get a great position, perched up on a fence in front of the feeding platform, and wait. The orang-utans soon arrive and playfully make their way along the ropes to the basket full of bananas placed on the platform by the ranger.

By this stage my significant other has managed to drop his hat over the fence and into the rainforest below us – we’ll have to get it later as we don’t want to lose our spot. We keep watching the orang-utans and their antics, mesmerised for an hour or more, until the last one has had his fill and makes his way back into the jungle.

We hang around (no orang-utan pun intended!) until most of the people have gone, so that my significant other can make a Spider-Man-like move over the fence to retrieve his hat. Mission accomplished and we head along the wooden boardwalk leading us back towards the park entrance. And that is when the real fun begins.