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There are surely fewmore endearingcreatures in theworld than that gentlerainforest giant, the Orang-utan. A close affinity with Homo sapiensisobvious, and gazing into the solemninscrutable features of an old male, orobserving the impish behaviour ofyoungsters at play, it is easy to appreciatetheir evolutionary links with mankind.Sadly, in its native Sumatra and Borneo,the 'old man of the forest' has beensubjected to relentless pressures whichhave reduced its world population by asmuch as 50% during the last 10 years to a meagre 25,000 animals. Hunting for meatand the demands of the pet trade havebeen contributory factors, but moresignificant has been the large-scaleclearance of forest throughout the region,leaving dwindling habitats for the apes.The principal focus of our holiday will beOrang-utans but, as we visit some of themost magnificent rainforests on Earth, wewill also be entering the domain of manywonderful birds, mammals and insects,including another threatened primate, thebizarre Proboscis Monkey. Our tour beginswith a flight to Kuala Lumpur, the moderncapital of Malaysia. From here we quicklyprogress by air to Kota Kinabalu, in Sabah,and thence to Sandakan where we drive ashort distance to the Sepilok Orang-utanRehabilitation Centre. This extraordinaryplace was established in 1964 to helponce captive or displaced Orang-utans learn to fend for themselvesback in the wild and, during ourtime at Sepilok, we will see everyfacet of the work carried out there.Everyone will undoubtedly fall inlove with the wide-eyed andbewildered little orphan Orangs, which areregularly taken into care and exemplify thescale of the problem faced by the Centre,as adult apes are ruthlessly slain tofacilitate the felling of more trees. Returning to Sandakan we take a boatalong the Kinabatangan River to spendtwo nights at the Sukau Rainforest Lodge.As we explore the river tributaries andhidden oxbow lakes we will be hoping toencounter our first wild Orang-utansforaging in the riverine forest. We will alsono doubt be observed by troupes of pot-bellied and comic-looking ProboscisMonkeys, another animal threatened byforest clearances. After making the initialacquaintance of Sabah's stunning birdlifearound Sepilok, we now have theopportunity to consolidate this experienceas we meet hornbills, pittas, kingfishers,broadbills, woodpeckers and many otherrepresentatives of the very extensiveavifauna. The rare Storm's Stork isoccasionally recorded at Sukau, and wealso have a chance of glimpsing AsianElephants at the river edge. An excursionto the legendary Gomantong Caves willbring alive scenes familiar from TVdocumentaries as numerous swiftlets dashinto these vast cathedral-like cavesystems, their nests forming the unlikelybasis of 'bird's-nest soup', and at duskthere is a spectacular exodus of severalmillion bats which emerge like plumes ofsmoke to fan out over the surroundingocean of trees.We conclude our tour at the Danum ValleyConservation Area, where we spend fournights at the superbly situated BorneoRainforest Lodge. The Danum Valleycontains one of the last remaining tracts ofprimary lowland dipterocarp forest and isrenowned as one of the very best naturalhistory sites in south-east Asia. We have avery good chance of finding more Orang-utans in the forests here, indeed all 10species of primate found in Sabah havebeen recorded in the Danum Valley,together with a quite remarkable selectionof mammals, birds and reptiles. As isusual in such forest habitats, many of theinhabitants are difficult to find or nocturnalin habits but, with several full days toexplore the area, we are assured manyexciting observations. The prolific birdlifeincludes a number of pheasants, eightspecies of hornbill, the endemic BorneanBristlehead and a whole host of otherAsian specialities. Mention should also bemade of the many exotic butterflies whichoccur in a diversity of colour and form toenhance every day in the field.At the end of this memorable tour we willhave learnt much about Orang-utans andhopefully enjoyed the rare privilege ofwatching them in the wild.Borneo's Orang-utansAn 11-day tour to the rainforests of Borneo in search of the endearing Orang-utan and other wildlife. Friday 6th September - Monday 16th September Cost: £3,995Outline itineraryDay 1Depart London.Day 2Arrive Kota Kinabaluand fly Sandakan.Overnight Sepilok.Day 3Sepilok Orang-utanRehabilitation Centre.Day 4/5Kinabatangan River.Day 6/9Danum Valley.Day 10Depart Kota Kinabalu.Day 11Arrive London.AccommodationComfortable eco-lodges, allrooms with private facilities.FoodIncluded in the price, except forany meals required in KotaKinabalu. Allow £10.GradingGrade A. Gentle wildlife walks only. FocusOrang-utans and other wildlife.LeaderChris Kehoe or Alan Curry, pluslocal guides.Single room supplement£495.ExtensionsArranged on request.Web quick search: MYS02216Call now or visit www.naturetrek.co.ukfor your free Trip ItineraryMOUNTKINABALUKINABATANGANRIVERSANDAKANSEPILOKSUKAUSEGAMARIVERDANUM VALLEYLAHAD DATUSULU SEACELEBES SEASABAHKOTA KINABALUOrang-utanDanum Valley RhinocerosHornbill

The forests of Borneo contain thelargest and most spectacularrainforest trees found anywhere in the tropics; they are also the oldestrainforests on earth. The diversity of life inthese forests is as dazzling as the treesare gigantic. This is a tour of the Malaysianprovince of Sabah in northern Borneo, ahighly prosperous state with a goodinfrastructure and an excellent nationalparks system. We will be focusing on thelowland dipterocarp forests of the DanumValley, and the montane forests of MountKinabalu, the highest mountain betweenthe Himalaya and New Guinea.Following our arrival in Kota Kinabalu, thebustling and affluent capital of Sabah, wewill take a short flight to the frontier town ofLahad Datu in the east of the province.From here we will take a 4-wheel drivevehicle to the Danum Valley ConservationArea, one of only two substantial areas ofprotected primary forest remaining inSabah. Our luxury lodge is scenicallylocated in the heart of hundreds of squarekilometres of this primary forest, and willbe our base for the next six nights. Duringour stay we will explore the forest, makingfull use of the excellent network of trails.The forests of the Danum Valley provide anunrivalled opportunity for observing a widerange of lowland forest birds andmammals. During our extended stay wewill see some of Sabah's most spectacularbirds, including Great Argus Pheasant,several species of hornbill, including thelargest and most spectacular of all-theRhinoceros and Helmeted Hornbills. Wemay also see three species of pitta,including the endemic Black-and-crimson,Blue-headed, and the diminutiveBlue-banded, plus the endemic Borneanand Black-throated Wren-babblers. Afterdark we will search for the mysteriousnocturnal frogmouths, one of the leastknown bird families on earth. If we are veryfortunate, we may see the enigmatic LargeFrogmouth during our stay, and its smallerrelative, the Javan Frogmouth. Amongstthe wide range of forest mammals here,we will hope to see a good selection ofprimates, including Bornean Gibbon, RedLeaf Monkey and Orang-utan. If we areparticularly fortunate, we may also see theendemic Hose's Langur. Regular nocturnalforays by jeep should allow us to glimpsesome larger game, such as Elephant andBanteng and, perhaps, even CloudedLeopard or Flat-headed Cat! Larger forestmammals are never easy to see, but weare sure to see such smaller mammals asthe nomadic Bearded Pig, Yellow Muntjacand Red Giant Flying Squirrel.From the Danum Valley we will move on tothe Kinabatangan River, which drains anextensive area of northern Borneo. We willtravel along this major watercourse bymotorised canoe, hoping to see some ofthe wildlife along its banks. The riverineforest is quite different in character to thelowland dipterocarp forest at Danum Valley,and it will provide us with an opportunity ofseeing species seldom encounteredelsewhere. We will be looking particularlyfor the remarkable Proboscis Monkey, andthe handsome, and now sadly muchdepleted, Wrinkled Hornbill. From our lodgein the forest we will explore a series ofox-bow lakes that are home to the littleknown Storm's Stork and the Jerdon'sBaza, and also visit nesting colonies ofBlack-nest and Mossy-nest Swiftletslocated in the dramatic Gomantong Caves.Moving on, we will break our long journeywest with a night at Sepilok and a visit tothe Orang-utan Rehabilitation Centre for afascinating insight into the conservation ofthese endearing apes. Our next destination is Mount KinabaluNational Park. This magnificent park ofabout 77,000 hectares was established in1964 to protect the massif of MountKinabalu, and the surrounding area. Themontane forests of Mount Kinabalu providean unrivalled opportunity of seeing most ofBorneo's montane birds and some equallyimpressive pitcher plants. At lowerelevations we will hope to find Whitehead'sTrogon and Whitehead's Broadbill, whilst athigher elevations we will look for the FriendlyWarbler, Black-breasted Triller, KinabaluSerpent Eagle and Mountain Blackbird. Forthose really adventurous among the group,there will be the opportunity to climb to thesummit of this 4,101-metre mountain, whichat dawn provides unforgettable views acrossnorthern Sabah.From our comfortable base at theheadquarters of Kinabalu National Park, we will visit the forest around the PoringHot Springs. Here, we will look forsub-montane forest birds, and the world'slargest flower, the massive and astonishingRafflesia. Of the world's dozen species,the flower of the largest, which is found onSumatra, grows up to one metre across!Finally, before our return flight to London, we will visit one of the smallislands lying off Kota Kinabalu, in search of the Philippine Scrubfowl. Like allscrubfowl, this remarkable bird buries itseggs in a large mound of vegetation, and the heat generated by this fermentingmass of vegetation actually incubates the eggs! Mount Kinabalu & theRainforests of BorneoA 21-day birdwatching extravaganza to the lowland and montane forests of the Malaysian province of Sabah in northern Borneo.Friday 20th September - Thursday 10th October Cost: £5,995An extension to Taman Negara National Park is available on request. Book direct on 01962 733051or see page 284 for Booking InformationMOUNTKINABALUKINABATANGANRIVERSANDAKANSEPILOKSEGAMARIVERDANUM VALLEYLAHAD DATUSULU SEACELEBES SEASABAHKOTA KINABALUOutline itineraryDay 1Depart London. Day 2Arrive Kota Kinabalu,flying on to Lahad Datu. Day 3/7Danum ValleyConservation Area. Day 8/10Kinabatangan River. Day 11Sepilok Orang-utanRehabilitation Centre. Day 12/17Kinabalu National Park. Day 18/19Kota Kinabalu. Day 20Depart Kota Kinabalu. Day 21Arrive London.AccommodationA variety of comfortable hotels,jungle lodges and mountain chalets,most with private facilities.FoodIncluded in the price, except forlunches and dinners at KotaKinabalu. Allow £20.GradingA. Gentle, daily birdwatching walks.FocusBirds and mammals.LeaderChris Kehoe or Alan Curry, plus localguide.Single room supplement£695.ExtensionsArranged on request.Web quick search: MYS03217Mount KinabaluProboscis MonkeyThick-billed Spiderhunter