- Nature Reserve / Wildlife Observation / Safari
When visiting Malaysia I spent several days in Kuching. While staying in the city I was able to make a visit to the nearby Semenggoh Nature Reserve. The bus I caught from the centre of Kuching dropped me right opposite the entrance. There are several departure times during the day, but only one of them will get you there in time to see the morning feeding session. The entry ticket entitles you to attend two such feeding sessions (morning and afternoon). This reserve is less well-known than the Sepilok one and therefore does not get as busy.
Because the orang-utans live semi-wild, there is no guarantee that you will actually get to see them. I was lucky enough to see one in the morning however. A ranger put some fruit out on a platform and an orang-utan came and helped itself to it. It's really impressive seeing how effortlessly they get around in the trees. Just as I was about to go to the afternoon feeding session it began to rain very heavily. I didn't get to see a thing therefore.
Borneo is one of the last places in the world where you can see orangutans, a species that, sadly, is on the brink of extinction. The destruction of primary rainsforests, to make way for huge palm oil plantations, has resulted in a drastic reduction of the orangutan population. Today you'll have a hard time seeing them in their original habitats and reserves like Semenggoh are increasingly giving them a second chance of survival.
Leaving from Kuching, I arrived at the centre, where twice a day tourists can come during feeding time and watch them from specially built observation platforms. Although being fed means they are less feral, they do still live in a natural environment and, therefore, have the liberty to do as they please. This means that you're not always guaranteed to see them.
I managed to watch two young orangutans eat their meal before spotting an adult female swinging from branch to branch about 20m above the ground. When she finally sat down to eat I saw that she had her baby clinging to her stomach!
The Semenggoh Sarawak Natural Reserve provides a dual service - a tourist attraction combined with the conservation of animals who live in complete liberty. It's certainly a great reason for taking a trip to Malaysia.