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We have the following different versions of the Sabah Naturewatch tour available at present.
Bobby was A1 for knowledge, organisation and friendliness
What tips would you give to someone else booking this tour?
Nothing to worry about, well directed and looked after. Kinabalu is hard work and some will have altitude problems so half a Diamox tablet twice a day may make you feel better during climb.
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Riverboat trips at Bilit seeing proboscis monkeys, hornbills, kingfishers, monitor lizards, crocodiles etc wonderful. Pygmy elephants had moved down river but outside chance of seeing too. Manukan Island idyllic. Hotels absolutely fine.
I spent 6months organising this trip and from the moment I arrived in Kota Kinabalu in Borneo and was met by my guide Hazli I felt at home, He organised a get to know you dinner at a local restaurant with the rest of our tour group which helped break the ice, We had an early start the next morning as we flew to Sarawak to visit the orang-utan sanctuary, this was amazing, we stayed behind after most of the tourists had left and the orang-utans came down from the trees and we had a much closer interaction with them, we then travelled on to the Billet Rainforest lodge, a fantastic lodge set riverside , water levels were still high so there were no riverbanks to see crocodiles, we set off at Dawn upriver to see the local wildlife, the highlight of my trip was to see an orang-utan in the wild, it was amazing to see him in the tree watching us watching him, Next we travelled to the Kinabalu national park for our trek of Mount Kinabalu, nothing could have prepared me for the sight of the mountain rearing up through the mist, we set off on our trek and slowly but surely we headed for Base camp, a very strenuous climb as over 75% of the climb is made of steps, this certainly takes it out of your legs, each 500m marker was a very happy sight as we knew we were getting closer to basecamp. Finally after 6 hours of climbing I finally reached Laban Rata, such an emotional moment, my legs were like jelly, the views were amazing, the sunsets above the clouds and the colour of the sky was out of this world, The following morning at 2.45 am the group made their way to the summit, a long and arduous task of shear rockface and ropes, certainly not for the fainthearted, but the views at sunrise were said to be well worth it, of course what goes up must come down and the long descent began, certainly a stress on those poor legs, Following our arrival back at park headquarters we headed for our stay at Berrengis beach resort, a very happy sight was to see a bath in our room, this resort is a lovely relaxing place and at sunset the local farmer brings his water buffalo down to the beach to wallow in the surf, The next day we went to Manakan Island, whilst most of our group headed to the touristy area where the snorkelling and water sports were, we headed to the other side and had a lovely relaxing time just people watching and doing some gentle swimming, finally at the end of the day we headed to the local craft Market to souvenir shop, On our last day we had free time, there were excursions on offer to go White water rafting or to go island hopping but I chose to have a nice relaxing day by the pool, we arranged a lovely group dinner for our final night where we all discussed our trip highlights and exchanged email addresses to swap photos, This was the first time I travelled on my own and I must say I was made to feel welcome from the moment I was met by my guide, I enjoyed my trip so much I have just booked a trip to Botswana,Zambia and Namibia in October. I would recommend Explore to everyone. (BN - 13th April 2011)
The highlight of the trip has to be the Sepilok Orang-Utan sanctuary. The centre is well run and the animals are free to roam around as they like. I would recommend hanging around the viewing area until the end as once all the noisy tourist have left the Orang-utans start to come back and you get to view them in piece and quiet. I would recommend the night walk around the sanctuary as the orang-utans come out to play and you get fantastic view of them. The trek up Kinabalu is tough. It is a relentless up hill slog with no flat to give you a break, having said that the views where amazing, although I skipped the trip to the summit in the morning. The cruises along the river at Sukau are a relaxing way to view the wildlife and I would recommend the night cruise, it is amazing how good the guides are at stopping the wildlife. Beringgis Beach is a lovely relaxing resort and the trip to Manukan Island is a great day out. I would recommend hiring the snorkel equipment. The optional extra trip to the tip of Borneo is a long day but worth the effort of going if you are interested in seeing the traditional long houses. We got to see not only the tourist one but went into one that was being used by the local to live in, which was fascinating to see. I would recommend a good raincoat and always have it with you, when it rains it is relentless. Be prepared for very hot and humid conditions and if you need to wash clothes be aware that it is difficult to get them dry because of the humidity. Overall I would highly recommend this trip. (BN - 2nd June 2010)
Amazing! Truly the holiday of a life time. I was solo traveller and luckily meet a lovely group of people and never felt alone! The whole trip was excellently organised and full to the brim of new experiences. Highlight was the 2 days spent at Sakau in the river lodge. The accommodation was in the most beautiful setting (well above the H+ rating given). We saw crocodiles and elephants amongst other animals. The Berringis Beach resort was also beautiful although an extra day to relax would have been nice! Overall the accommodation was much better than expected- I was quite worried about this before I went but was very pleasantly surprised! Advice to others- be prepared for some very early starts but worth it as we did so much. I found the Mountain climb extremely difficult despite being quite fit. Aim for base camp then you won't be disappointed if you don't make the summit! We had a medical emergency whilst there and was reassuring as a solo traveller to see that Explore dealt with it very professionally and were extremely helpful to the family involved. This was an incredible holiday and I would most definitely recommend it. Am already trying to decide where to go next! (BN- 4th August 2010)
A great trip with a good range of activities. Seeing the orangutans in Sepilok is wonderful, though it does feel a little bit like a zoo. Beware of the monkeys that hang around the viewing platform - they're pretty fearless. Sometimes the hordes of viewers on the platform cause frustration, but if you wait patiently a lot will trickle away leaving you alone with the apes. This trip allows you three chances to view the orangutans, which is great because it gives the optimum chance to see different behaviour. The Kinabatangan part of the trip gives a chance to see a range of wildlife, including wild orangutans if you're really lucky (we did), as well as some incredible birds, prawns with long blue legs, proboscis monkeys, giant monitor lizards, and even elephants. The night cruise is well worth doing - you see more than you'd expect! This area is leach paradise, so for the jungle walk, make sure you have long sleeves, long trousers, long socks, proper boots and a wide brimmed hat. Light coloured clothes are best as you'll be able to see the leeches and flick them off easily. A pair of leech socks is a bit extreme but does give you some extra reassurance. Be warned though these nasty little things get everywhere - not just on your legs, so if don't fancy having your blood sucked, cover up! The climb up Kinabalu is tough. Really, really tough. I'm a seasoned trekker but I underestimated this one. Definitely do some preparation, especially if you intend to go to the top. Take gloves as the rocks are sharp and there are parts where you need to hang onto ropes. If you don't have a head for heights, don't attempt the summit. If you are unfit or infirm, consider sitting up the ascent in the National Park - which is a great setting in its own right - you'll probably have much better time of it. The days of relaxation at Beringis Beach are very welcome after conquering Kinabalu. The beaches are beautiful with lovely snorkelling. One of the islands has huge monitor lizards which patrol the beaches - good for photos but don't get too close. The sunsets are fantastic. The hotel at Beringhis is definitely on the swanky side. Be warned, when it rains, you know about it! Getting caught in a shower is the equivalent of jumping into the sea fully clothed. Take plastic bags and clothes that dry quickly. Avoid jeans or anything that gets waterlogged. Make sure your camera has a case and have a couple of ziplock plastic bags for safety. Pack plenty of sunscreen as it's easy to burn here even if it looks cloudy. If you're worried about insects, don't be. I'm a huge wimp about spiders and many legged things but didn't really see anything at all here, apart from a couple of millipedes which were too big and slow to be really scary. So if fear of creepy crawlies is putting you off, stop worrying and go! (BN- 2nd January 2009)