Adventure report 2006

Adventure2006 1

It only seemed like 5 minutes since I waved goodbye to the 2005 Adventure group and here I was back at the wonderful Rasa Ria waiting for the 2006 group to arrive.

The following day the tour got off to a good start as people were in good spirits as the SI Tour guides presented a surprise b-day cake to Jenny. The group seemed to be gelling well and lapping up the tranquility and luxury the 5-star resort had to offer. Of course they were well aware that the following night’s accommodation at the homestay would be very basic but were adamant they wouldn’t dream of missing out on the experience since they had afterall come to Borneo to immerse themselves in the culture.

After a fabulous buffet breakfast those who had chosen to do the biking received a briefing from our guides whilst the others climbed aboard our minibus and we commenced our adventure. The weather was perfect – the sun shone and the lush emerald green fields and vegetation looked stunning. We passed through pretty rural villages where we were warmly greeted by excited smiling children and their families, along with their dogs, goats, chickens and a few resting cattle. The group were clearly feeling at home in this spectacular country.

We then headed off to try out the rapids of the Kiulu river on bamboo rafts. The first rapid was exilerating leaving most of us drenched and we were grateful to have an experienced guide behind to navigate. The beauty of this activity was that it also offered moments of tranquility, drifting along soaking up the beautiful scenery.

We arrived at Mitabang where my special memories from the previous year’s Adventure flooded back. The homestay is located in the foothills of mount Kinabalu, a truly magnificent setting. The group met their families and quickly settled in before joining the villagers for a pot feast. After dinner the group took part in various activities such as grass hopper catching, gong playing and the local ‘hornbill’ dance. I hasten to add my grass hopper skills have still not improved over the course of the year but Sharon Wright was a natural and managed to capture 10!

The trekking in Tabin was quite hard due to the rainfall over the previous few days. The group relished the challenge and trampled eagerly through the mud and soon reached the stunning waterfall which made it well worthwhile. Very little encouragement was needed before the group were enjoying splashing about in the cool mountain water and feeling truly back to nature. The return journey was at sunset and for many was an unforgettable moment.

Our next port of call was the Kinabatangan River and the village of Sukau. On the way we trekked to the Gomontong Cave where Liz Homes spotted a female orangutan with baby – the group were mesmerised. A little further on was a group of red-leaf monkeys.

adventure2006-2.jpgThe following day cruising along the infamous Kinabatangan River we saw a coiled python and 2 mangrove snakes hanging precariously from the trees, another female orangutan carrying her baby, 2 crocodiles, an enormous monitor lizard and a variety of birds including the storm stork which is seldomly spotted.

The next morning we cruised further down river to our 2nd Homestay – Abai. After a fascinating tour around the village we boarded an old wooden fishing vessel at sunset and embarked on a magical trip cruising peacefully along in the darkness and were amazed by the surrounding trees being lit up by fire-flies and reminding us of Christmas!.

Next day the moment the Adventurer’s had waited for – our trek up from the mangroves through Sepilok’s reserve to the world renown orangutan rehabilitation centre.

In the evening the rangers from the centre joined us for a farewell bbq. The Adventurers were buzzing after having witnessed some of Sepiloks resident orangutans feeding at the platform earlier on in the day. The group had been lucky; they had seen Guramboi and Mr G playfighting, Mariko fondly caressing her baby Mais and a few of the recent released infants triumphantly finding their way to the platform.

adventure2006-3.jpgSadly all good things must come to an end. After an exhilarating couple of days at Sepilok it was back to the Rasa Ria hotel in KK where the group had a day to relax and reflect on amazing encounters during the tour.

Borneo is a fantastic destination which offers vast tracts of unspoilt rainforest and is home to a bewildering variety of animal, bird and plant life.

We are aiming to run another Adventure in late September, so why don’t you join us for the adventure of a lifetime! The cost of £1950 which includes, flights, accommodation, food, guides, boats and transfers – for more info please call us on 01372 457460.

Kristina Maurice-Jones