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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Non Malaysian citizens, adults: 10 ringgitts (2 euros)
Non Malaysian citizens, achidren: 7 ringgitts (1.5 euros)