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Semenggoh Nature Reserve

orangutan
orangutan playing on a tree at Semenggoh

 

During my trip to Borneo I wanted to visit 3 different types of national parks and reserves to learn more about the Government’s plans for wildlife conservation.

After Bako Nationl Park, a place where animals roam free, I decided to visit Semenggoh Nature Reserve and, in the end, Matang.

Semengooh is located just a short drive from Kuching and its famous for it’s program of orangutans rehabilitation, as a matter of fact, its main attraction is its Wildlife Center, where endangered species, once kept illegally as pets, are trained on how to fend for themselves before being released into the forest.

This kind of centers are of vital importance for these animals: the orangutan is an endangered species and is totally protected by law in Malaysia, Indonesia and internationally. Today, there are an estimated 20-27,000 orangutans left in the wild (perhaps 20,000 or so in Borneo and the rest in Sumatra).

Deforestation, human depredation of their habitat, indiscriminate hunting and the live animal trade are  all factors that have contributed to a decline in their numbers.

 

My experience at Semenggoh

 

The trails of the park are open from 8 to 5, but if you want more chances to see the orangutans you should come during the feeding sessions, at around  9 and 3.

As we don’t like getting up early unless it’s strictly necessary, we chose the afternoon session.

As soon as we arrived we could see a couple of orangutans playing on the trees, one with a rope, and the other with a blanket. This last one got soon tired and decided to calmly come off the tree and have a walk around us; the guards kept us at security distance and we could see this beauty moving freely around, and that was absolutely amazing.

orangutan sitting on a bench
orangutan sitting on a bench

 

Soon the feeding session began and we were invited to reach the feeding platform, where we could see a giant lazy male with a female and two babies playing.

mom and baby orangutans
mom and baby orangutans

male orangutan
male orangutan

 

The guards told us that it was a lucky day, as the orangutans weren’t coming often in this period; they are actually free to do whatever they want, and if they are able to find food in the forest they won’t visit the center every day.

At Semenggoh  we could also see a sea crocodile in a small compound, captured in one of the beaches of the area. The population here has great concerns here with crocodiles, so they get both killed or trapped and taken to this kind of centers.

crocodile at Semanggoh
crocodile at Semanggoh

How to get there

 

As I mentioned, Semenggoh is quite close to Kuching, and the easiest way is to take a Grab, we paid just 4.5 euros.

There is supposed to be a public bus some times a day but I wouldn’t rely on it, even if I’m a huge fan of public transportation.

It can be harder to get a grab on the way back, so maybe you could consider asking your driver to wait 1 or 2 hours for you for an extra fee. We managed to get one in the end but had to wait a bit.

Fee

 

Non Malaysian citizens, adults: 10 ringgitts (2 euros)

Non Malaysian citizens, achidren: 7 ringgitts (1.5 euros)

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