19 – 20 February 2013
Kuching (aka Cat City) was a really great change from the chaos of other South-East Asian cities we’d visited. It’s a much slower pace and situated on the Sarawak River, so it had a really nice waterfront feel. We’d been drawn to Borneo for meetings with a few locals in the music scene there, but we really wanted to see the surrounding national parks and also the endangered orang-utans.
Orang-utans are currently only found in the rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra, and in the past few decades their populations have been severely diminished, mostly caused by vast areas of tropical forest being converted into palm oil plantations. These amazing mammals are severely at risk of being wiped out altogether! It was only a local bus ride an hour or so out of town to visit the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre, an orang-utan orphanage and rehabilitation centre. What an incredible experience! It was wet under foot and we weren’t even promised a sighting, but while we waited in the silence of the rainforest we were able to witness these beautiful creatures swing through the tops of the trees in the distance, and eventually make there way down to where the wildlife carer had a fruit platter waiting for them. I was sceptical about the centre and didn’t know whether it would feel like a zoo, but it was a total surprise. It was just a small log house, a few rangers, and a trek through the forest to a partially cleared area with a viewing platform. We were in the orang-utans environment, not them in ours! They were wild!
Semenggoh Wildlife Centre