Borneo: Jul 11—29, 2017

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Price: $8,595
(Internal flights included)
Departs: Kota Kinabalu
Tour Limit: 8
Operations Manager: Margaret Anderson
Download Itinerary: PDF (143.4 KB)

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Machiel Valkenburg

Machiel Valkenburg was born in 1982 in a southern province in the Netherlands where, encoura...


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Register for the Waiting List

This departure is sold out! Add your name to the waiting list, or inquire about this tour by calling our office (1-800-328-VENT or 512-328-5221), or emailing us (info@ventbird.com).

White-crowned Hornbills

White-crowned Hornbills— Photo: Dion Hobcroft

 

This combination of superb forests, exotic wildlife, and friendly people is hard to beat—surely one of the most exciting destinations on earth for the natural history enthusiast. Towering Mount Kinabalu is home to an impressive array of endemic species, both plants and animals (including birds), while the magnificent lowland forests of Sepilok, the Kinabatangan River, and Danum Valley are home to Orangutans, Bornean Pygmy Elephants, Proboscis Monkeys, rare Storm’s Storks, eight species of hornbills, the ethereal Bornean Ground-Cuckoo, and several jewel-like pittas. Photographic opportunities abound.

Borneo—the very name conjures images of teeming jungles and a profusion of strange and little-known plants and creatures. Giant flying squirrels, hairy primates, gliding snakes and flying frogs, orchid-like praying mantis, goggle-eyed tarsiers, the world’s largest flower, weird monkeys, carnivorous pitcher plants, and much more all characterize this fabulous island.

The tropical dipterocarp forests of Borneo are among the world’s oldest, supporting an amazing diversity of animal and plant life, surpassed only by the lowland communities of the Amazon Basin. The sheer number of charismatic species found here, including Bornean Orangutan, Bornean Pygmy Elephant, Proboscis Monkey, Bornean Clouded Leopard, Great Argus, eight species of hornbills, and Bornean Bristlehead, endows these forests and their visitors with one of the most exciting tropical rainforest experiences anywhere on our planet. Borneo’s smaller birds are no less exciting, with numerous little-known endemics plus a plethora of tropical Asian pigeons, parakeets, cuckoos, trogons, kingfishers, barbets, woodpeckers, broadbills, pittas, bulbuls, babblers, flowerpeckers, sunbirds and more.

To see some of these wonders of Borneo we will focus on four areas: the magnificent montane forests of Kinabalu National Park; the tropical lowland forest at Sepilok Reserve; the mangrove and swamp forests along the lower Kinabatangan River; and the incomparable primary rainforests of the Danum Valley. Between them they offer the full spectrum of the best of Borneo. Add to this great food and accommodations in a very friendly and pleasant multi-ethnic country and you have all of the makings for a great tour.

Bornean Orangutan, female and infant

Bornean Orangutan, female and infant— Photo: Dion Hobcroft

Towering over the surrounding landscape, the awe-inspiring granite peak of Kinabalu has long lured travelers and naturalists to explore her lush, cloud-enshrouded forests. The highest landmark between New Guinea and the Himalayas, Mt. Kinabalu is virtually an island in the sky, and as such supports a number of extremely local endemic birds. Here we will search among the huge epiphyte-clad sentinels, lush and thick understory, and flowering Rhododendrons for such specialties as the Crimson-headed Partridge, Whitehead’s Trogon (rare), Golden-naped and Mountain barbets, the sumptuous Whitehead’s Broadbill, Mountain Wren-Babbler, Bare-headed and Chestnut-hooded laughingthrushes, the diminutive Bornean Stubtail, and Whitehead’s Spiderhunter.

From the mountain we will travel to the Sepilok Reserve, a wonderful introduction to the lowland forests of Borneo, including access to the canopy on a very sturdy walkway and a maze of forest interior trails. Then we transfer to boats for our explorations of the lower reaches of the Kinabatangan River, from the vast complex of mangrove forests at its mouth upriver to the swamp forests along its banks. Numerous special creatures are found in this region, from Orangutan and Bornean Pygmy Elephant (if we are lucky) to the comical Proboscis Monkey, endangered Storm’s Stork, a variety of raptors, and many large hornbills.

The highlight of the tour will undoubtedly be our visit to the Danum Valley, and the thrill of exploring these towering dipterocarp forests cannot be overstated. We will do so from the comfort of perhaps the finest and most beautiful lodge in the whole of Southeast Asia, the Borneo Rainforest Lodge, set in the heart of the Danum Valley amidst some of the most magnificent rainforest remaining on the island of Borneo. With four full days and five nights here, we will have an enviable chance to fully appreciate the richness of this forest haven and observe many of the fascinating birds and animals that live here. Long may the great forests of Borneo persist!

Good to outstanding accommodations; good to excellent food; moderate pace with easy to moderate terrain; one or two more demanding walks; most birding on foot along roads and trails, also from comfortable boats; hot and humid in the lowlands, cool in the mountains.