Sepilok is the home of the Orangutan Rehabilitation Center in Sabah, Borneo. This was another big item on our wish list while planning our trip back in London as Orangutans (Pongo Pygmaeus) have always fascinated us.
To get here we had to take a 7 hour bus from Kota Kinabalu. The journey took us past Mount Kinabalu, where we would spend some time on the return journey. Today’s movies were some Malaysian romantic comedy followed by Amazing Spider-Man 2! 🙂 when John saw Marvel come up on the pre-credits he became delirious!
On reaching our destination, which was a random shop at the Sepilok Junction we got them to call our guesthouse and they came and collected us.
We stayed in a place called Panakan Dil which had bamboo bungalows and dorms and was brilliant – being set in the jungle. They also ran free shuttles to the Orangutan Sanctuary.
The Sanctuary was set up in 1964 for the rehabilitation of orphaned baby Orangutans due to the increased activities of logging sites, plantations and illegal hunting. It consists of over 4,500 hectares of Virgin jungle.
The next day we went to see the Orangutans and got down in time for the first feeding. As we neared the platform an Orangutan swung down from a tree and walked along the platform railing. As the food appeared more Orangutans swung by (literally) as well as a pig-tailed Macaque and some short tailed macaques.
For 20 minutes we were alone before the bus trips arrived and soon there were a lot of loud people ruining it for everyone else. We decided, after getting some photos to leave the crowds behind us and as we did we encountered a family of Orangutans further along the path.
Doing some research we found that Orangutans have 96.4% similar genes to humans. This is believable as there mannerisms are very similar to ours. Even the name Orang Utan means ‘Man of the Forest’.
Not far away is the Rainforest Discovery Centre (RDC), an environmental education facility with its large canopy walkway, so we spent the afternoon in here.
While it was really fun the only wildlife we saw was the chicken on John’s plate at lunch and one squirrel jumping across the trees. Certainly no sightings of the extremely rare Bornean Bristlehead!
With some time to kill before the pickup we decided to grab a drink and try and make the afternoon feeding. We almost missed this as a Geordie, recently moved to Australia, entangled us in his web of bullshit!
“Yeah my wife has 70,000 people working for her but she gets to work from home the whole time””We have a huge house, my pool room is the size of this restaurant”
Crap like that. So with her shades on and one of her disarming smiles, Karen extracted us from the conversation.
Luckily we did, for on our return to the feeding site we got to see the King of the Swingers himself. King Louie!
Oh and before we forget to mention. We met, for the first time, Mr Aji, who we would go on safari with a few days later. More on that in future blogs.