Borneo - Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre


Orangutan, Semenggoh Nature Reserve, Sarawak, Malaysia, Borneo, Asia by R.M. Nunes, ShutterstockEstablished in 1920, this was Sarawak's first forest reserve © R.M. Nunes, Shutterstock

An ideal day trip from Kuching, the Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre is home to semi-wild orangutans.

Just 20km south of Kuching (easily reached by hire car, Grab ride or with a tour group), Sarawak’s first forest reserve, established in 1920, was converted into a rehabilitation centre for orangutans, honey bears and hornbills in 1975. ‘Semi-wild’ orangutans inhabit the sanctuary, having graduated from the infant-oriented Matang Wildlife Centre.

Visits revolve around feeding times (which last about an hour from 09.00 and 15.00) and the chance to see the semi-wild creatures up close. Some even come within arm’s reach and may sit alongside you on the feeding platform; others hang out further back in the trees. The viewing area is a 1km walk from the entrance, where a series of graphic images warn of the dangers of serious injury from inappropriate behaviour with the orangutans. Such interaction most commonly includes goading and teasing the animals with food, as well as simply getting too close for comfort. The reserve’s pathways have been closed since an orangutan attacked some staff in 2014.

On site, there is also an Orangutan Museum (included in your entry fee) where you will get some great insights into orangutan behaviour and conservation, and there are also resident crocodiles (in confined areas). The visit also includes access to an arboretum so you can wander through a lovely ethno-botanical garden with a wide variety of plants, as well as a fruit orchard, fernarium, bamboo garden and pond with floating pavilion.

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