Grand Borneo: Sep 12—27, 2011

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Please contact us if you would like more information on upcoming departures for this tour.

Departs: Kota Kinabalu
Tour Limit: 7
Operations Manager: Margaret Anderson
Download Itinerary: PDF (143.6 KB)

Tour Leaders


David Bishop

David Bishop loves his vocation and cannot imagine anything better than exploring wild and b...

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Bornean orangutan

Bornean orangutan— Photo: K. David Bishop

A shadow emerges, and from the forest's cathedral-like embrace, one of its most beloved inhabitants, the "Old Man of the Forest" appears. The orangutan, clothed in long, reddish hair and bejeweled with wreaths of leathery dewlaps, conveys a primeval aura of power and dignity. Suddenly, from the forest floor, a loud bugling "kawow" announces the start of another day and the spectacular Great Argus pheasant's extraordinary display. A flight of "juggernauts" thunders by, seeking fruit with which to feed their entombed mates. And the forest's choir heralds a tropical dawn in these most ancient of realms. Somewhat startled by our presence, the great red ape snatches her offspring from our unfamiliar, staring eyes and retreats once more into the mists.

The tropical dipterocarp forests of Borneo are among the world's oldest, supporting a diversity of animal and plant life surpassed only by the lowland communities of the Amazon Basin. Notwithstanding, the sheer number of mega-charismatic species that inhabit the lowland forests of Borneo, species such as Bornean pygmy elephant, Bornean orangutan, proboscis monkey, Bornean clouded leopard, and several species of gigantic hornbills endow these forests and their visitors with arguably the single most exciting tropical rainforest experience on our planet.

The thrill of exploring these magnificent forests cannot be overstated, and we will do so from the comfort of the finest and most beautiful lodge in the whole of Southeast Asia. Borneo Rainforest Lodge, located in the heart of the Danum Valley, Sabah, is set in the midst of some of the most magnificent lowland rainforest remaining on the island of Borneo. Our four days and five nights will give us an enviable chance to enjoy the incredible richness of this tropical forest haven. As we have found on previous tours, just getting away from the lodge veranda is a major undertaking, as cosmic Black-and-red Broadbills dazzle us and White-crowned Shamas sing to us virtually from the balcony. "Barely had we stepped a couple of meters from the lodge than we had encountered our first orangutan, a sub-adult male feeding greedily immediately above the trail." And so it went. The days at Danum are filled with wonders, and it isn't only the birds and mammals. Just being in such a wonderfully peaceful place in the presence of such pristine forest, dwarfed by truly gigantic trees, is a humbling and soul-rejuvenating experience.

Towering over the surrounding landscape, the awe-inspiring granite peak of Mt. Kinabalu has long lured travelers and naturalists alike to explore her lush, cloud-enshrouded forests. The highest landmark between New Guinea and the Himalayas, Mt. Kinabalu is virtually an island and, as such, supports a number of extremely local endemics. From attractively appointed cabins, which look out over the forest to the mountain, we will search among huge moss-clad sentinels, giant pitcher plants, and blooming rhododendrons for a number of specialties such as the Crimson-headed Wood-Partridge, Whitehead's Trogon, Golden-naped and Mountain barbets, the sumptuous Whitehead's Broadbill, Mountain Wren-Babbler, Sunda Laughingthrush, diminutive Bornean Stubtail, and Whitehead's Spiderhunter.

Borneo—the very name conjures images of teeming jungles and a profusion of strange and little-known creatures. You will not be disappointed. Flying frogs, gliding snakes, orchid-like praying mantis, goggle-eyed tarsiers, and hairy Sumatran rhinos characterize this fabulous island. Its birds are no less exciting, with a host of apparently rare and little-known endemics, in addition to a plethora of pheasants, pigeons, parakeets, cuckoos, trogons, kingfishers, hornbills, barbets, woodpeckers, broadbills, bulbuls, babblers, and sunbirds. Our tour will focus on three areas: the Danum Valley, the magnificent Mt. Kinabalu Park, and the Kinabatangan River.


This tour may be taken in conjunction with the Sarawak Extension, September 26-October 4, 2011.