My Second Orangutan Adventure

River At Sunrise

Jenny Aundrews reports on the April 2007 adventure holiday.

Well, there I was again at Heathrow Airport, eagerly waiting to meet my fellow Adventurers. I had taken part in the 2006 Adventure and had such an amazing time I just had to do it again!

There were 12 of us this year and we had become the best of friends by the time we arrived at the Rasa Ria, where Kristina, the Appeals representative, greeted us with lovely cold drinks.

Next morning we went to see our first orangutans in the hotel's own reserve. It was wonderful to watch them playing in the trees and, of course, the cameras came out. In fact Rita didn't put hers away again for the next two weeks.

Leaving behind the luxury of the Rasa Ria, we set off the following morning to cycle to Tuaran. There we explored the colorful market before bamboo rafting down the Kiulu River. After a delicious lunch at the riverside, we continued on our way to our homestay at Mitabang to experience the real Sabah. We were welcomed by the villagers dressed in traditional costume, playing gongs. That evening we learnt to play the gongs ourselves - well we tried - much to the amusement of our hosts!

My main reason for visiting Sabah is the wildlife and I was not disappointed at Tabin. As we arrived a huge Black Spitting cobra crossed the road in front of the bus; an exciting taste of what was to come. On the night drive we were extremely lucky to spot common palm civets, leopard cats, bearded pigs, a monitor lizard and a giant flying squirrel. During our trek through the forest we found a rare giant Bornean brown tortoise.

Pygmy elephantsI was sad to leave Tabin but next stop was the famous Kinabatangan River. It was whilst on the river we saw our first wild orangutan. Most of us had tears in our eyes. More tears were shed a while later when, to our amazement, we came across a herd of pygmy elephants swimming up the river. We watched as they climbed on to the bank to graze. It was one of many unforgettable moments.

Our next homestay was at Abai. Again we were made very welcome and greeted with traditional dances.

We were up early next morning for the highlight of the trip - the trek to Sepilok. It was a dream come true for all of us to visit this very special place and to see some of the orangutans we had read about like Marico and the beautiful Annalisa. In the evening we had a barbeque with the staff and a chance to ask lots of questions (lots of singing, dancing and drinking too!).

All too soon the Adventure came to an end, but as you can see we had a wonderful time. A big thank you to Kristina for looking after us and thanks also to our wonderful guide Eric, who went above and beyond the call of duty, to remove a leech from a certain part of my body!!

There's so much more I could tell you but I'm out of space. Perhaps you could go on the next Adventure and discover the wonders of Sabah for yourselves.

Jenny Aundrews