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    The primordial forests of Borneo

    The primordial forests of Borneo


    • Periodo Ottimale: 9 Aprile - 21 Aprile 2020; 31 Luglio - 12 Agosto 2020
    • Giorni: 13
    • Zona di interesse: Sabah - Borneo malese
    • Costo: € 3690,00
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    Wildlife viewing trip guided by an expert biologist through the oldest forests on Earth, surrounded by extraordinary and unique primates, bioluminescent mushrooms and suspension bridges above the forest floor.

    • Observing the unique orang-utan under natural conditions
    • The incredible wild gliders: tree frogs, geckos, snakes and flying “lemurs”
    • The biggest flowers on Earth and the carnivorous plants
    • Night walks deep in the forest where mushrooms are bioluminescent
    • The breathtaking canopy walkway, 50 meters above the forest floor
    • The proboscis monkey, the gibbon and other primates; felids and viverrids of the oldest forests on Earth
    • The “Dayak” people and their stunning Longhouses
    • The Bornean Pygmy elephant; the dark inner forests of Borneo where the clouded leopard and the Sumatran rhino still live

    ClimateBiogeographic ProvinceBiodiversity and Cultural Heritage

    Tropical monsoon climate.

    Equatorial tropical forests of the Sunda Archipelago (Sundaland). Sabah is situated in northern Borneo, belonging to Malaysia. Geography, habitat diversity and biodiversity are greatly influenced by the tremendous altitude variations. This itinerary stretches across the incredible inner forests of Dipterocarpaceae (Danum Valley, Deramakot) located on hills at moderate altitude (but forests around Kinabalu reach 4000m above sea level) and the riparian forests of Sungay Kinabatangan at sea level, featuring the orang-utan, the proboscis monkey, the Bornean Pygmy elephants and the typical, bizarre fauna of this extraordinary and unique ecosystem.

    Flora: It varies according to the area considered. This itinerary mainly explores equatorial tropical forest habitats, dominated by Dipterocarpaceae; these forests are the oldest on Earth, with a forest canopy height of 80 meters. The combined isolation and proximity with Asia are among the major causes of the astonishing plant biodiversity of Borneo, featuring more than 25000 species, whose 15000 are endemic as the Rafflesia (the largest flower on Earth) and the many different carnivorous plants. Mangrove forests are typical of the coastal region.

    Fauna: Similar considerations can be proposed as far as wildlife concerns. 1800 species of vertebrates have been recorded, whose 701 are endemic*. 13 species are listed as “Critically Endangered” by the IUCN, but no extinction events have been recorded until now. Primates (orang-utan, proboscis monkey, langur, macaques, gibbons, etc.), carnivores (clouded leopard, Malay civet and other felids and vivverids), herbivores (Bornean Pygmy elephant, Bornean bearded pig, Sumatran rhino, etc) are well represented. The presence of “flying lemurs” is remarkable. The avifauna is impressive: highlights include hornbills, fish owls, paradise flycatchers, etc. Among endemic reptiles it is worth mentioning the stunning “Flying dragon”, monitors and the false gharial. In rainforests of Borneo, where taller trees are characteristic, gliding and brachiation are the predominant means of locomotion. Among those species equipped with mechanisms allowing extended gliding are flying squirrels, flying lemurs, geckos, draco lizards, frogs , and the Chrysopelea snake. *Data refer to Borneo, Sumatra and Java.

    Cultural Heritage: The Indigenous people of the heart of Borneo are commonly known as Dayak. It is easy to visit the villages (mainly organised as Longhouse settlements) with their traditional markets. Headhunting was an important part of Dayak culture in the past, in particular to the Iban and Kenyah. The Dayaks especially Ibans appreciate and treasure very much the value of pua kumbu (woven or tied cloth) made by women while ceramic jars which they call tajau obtained by men.

    This is an active and intense itinerary, focused on wildlife observations in remote and authentic areas of Borneo. Equipment must be arranged and calibrated for night excursions.

    Detailed Program

    • Day 1: Arrival at Sandakan. Depending on time schedules: short visit to Sepilok or transfer to Deramakot Forest Reserve. Overnight stay at chalet.
    • Days 2-6: Transfer to Deramakot Forest Reserve, inner Sabah, key habitat for five globally threatened large mammals, namely orang-utan, Bornean Pygmy elephant, tembadau (Banteng), proboscis monkey and clouded leopard. Driving guided safari and day/night walks (spotlighting). Overnight stay at chalet.
      Deramakot Forest Reserve
      Deramakot Forest Reserve  (55,507 hectares of Mixed Dipterocarp Forest) is managed in accordance with good forestry practices (it was certified as such by the FSC®). About 75% of mammals in Sabah can be found here, including five globally threatened large mammals, namely orang-utan (about 900 individuals), Borneon Pygmy Elephant, Tembadau (Banteng), proboscis monkey and clouded leopard.
    • Day 7: Transfer to Sukau. River safari along the fascinating Sungai Kinabatangan, considered by many to be the best place for viewing wildlife in Borneo, if not the whole of Southeast Asia. Wildlife observations: the endemic proboscis monkey, langur and the Bornean Pygmy elephant. Orang-utan are likely. The stunning biodiversity of birds, including hornbills. Night walk deep in the forest surrounded by bioluminescent mushrooms. Overnight stay at lodge.
      Sungai Kinabatangan
      The longest river in Sabah, Kinabatangan is known for its remarkable wildlife and fascinating habitats such as limestone caves at Gomantong hill, dryland dipterocarp forests, riverine forest, freshwater swamp forest, oxbow lakes and salty mangrove swamps near the coast. The ecology of the upper reaches of the river has been severely disrupted by excessive logging and clearing of land for plantations. However, the original lowland forests and mangrove swamps near the coast have largely survived, provide sanctuary for more than 220 birds (including hornbills), many reptiles (monitors, “Flying Dragon”, false gharial) and many mammals. It is considered one of the best place to spot wildlife not just in Sabah but all of Southeast Asia; of special note are Borneo’s indigenous proboscis monkeys, orang-utan and Bornean Pygmy elephants.
    • Days 9-12: Danum Valley: last paradise on Earth, it represents the quintessence of Borneo. The inner primeval forest; observing the orang-utan into the wild; venturing into the forest at night on a spotlighting trek for wildlife discovering. The breathtaking canopy walkway, 50 meters above the forest floor. Overnight stay at lodge.
      Danum Valley
      One of the last pristine and undisturbed lowland rain forest of Borneo, mainly predominated by dipterocarp trees. The forest canopy reaches a height of over 80 meters, an extraordinary wildlife that have evolved aerial locomotion by gliding (tree frogs, snakes, geckos, squirrels, “flying lemurs” and the stunning “Flying dragon”), some relevant populations of orang-utan, gibbon and other primates, an impressive bird check list and even two gems: the Bornean Pygmy elephant and the Sumatran rhino. Access to the valley is restricted, and accommodation will be at Borneo Rainforest Lodge.
    • Day 13: Back to Sandakan and international flight to Italy.

    The trip will be led and accompanied by one Biosfera Itinerari expert biologist guide who will be responsible of logistics, activities and tour guidance.

    The price includes:
    • Mineral water while on safari
    • All land transfers with private vehicle
    • All day/night excursions (treks, river safari, 4×4 safari with vehicle fully equipped) as in the Detailed Itinerary and Program
    • Guidance from a Biosfera Itinerari Biologist from Italy
    • A comprehensive travel insurance package
    • All taxes imposed by government authorities and Park entry fees
    • Double bedroom lodge/chalet accommodation full board
    Not included:
    • International flight and airport taxes
    • Visas
    • Cost of  Procedure Management (euro 30)
    • Cancelling  insurance (facultative)
    • Alcoholic beverages
    • Voluntary activities and service tips, and in general everything not mentioned in section “The price includes”
    € 3690,00 based for 6 pax. The travel package price can vary in case of change of the currency exchange rate.

    Disclaimer 1: Please note this is an indicative and standard itinerary. Dates, activities and the succession and length of each part of the itinerary may change each year, and can be rearranged with the participants. Upon request by the participants, we will send the definitive and detailed programme to be evaluated at least some weeks prior to the confirmation deadline.

    Disclaimer 2: We will generally honor the posted prices, but these are subject to change at any time due to action or decisions made by local authorities. In such situations, and in the hope that will not happen, we will send all the ministries official communications to all participants, free from ambiguity and in total transparency. We reserve the right to correct the final price to the fullest extent permitted by law.

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