Remote Deramakot Forest Reserve is about 4 hours' drive in 4-wheel drive vehicle along some rough roads from Sepilok. The 55,500 hectare site protects mature secondary and primary lowland (mixed dipterocarp) rainforest.
 
Managed by the Sabah Forestry Department, the aim since 2007, has been to balance the needs for commercial forestry with those of the resident wildlife. (It is the sole Forest Stewardship Council certified concession in South-east Asia).
 
For serious naturalists who wish to see the maximum possible variety of Sabah's mammals, spending a few nights here is highly recommended. Because of the lack of luxury accommodation, and because it is the site for an ongoing programme of (carefully) selected logging, Deramakot has been spared from inclusion into the main tourist circuits. It is thus also largely free from regulations pertinent to other wildlife hotspots and visitors are able to explore at will.
 
People come to Deramakot to seek not just the better-known mammals such as Orangutan and Banteng, but also two mega-elusive and ultra rare cats: Sunda clouded leopard and Marbled cat. Fairly often seen is the bizarre Colugo or 'flying lemur', one of a variety of Bornean animals able to glide between trees.  More rare denizens of this locality include the Sunda skunk ('Malay stink badger'); Malay porcupine; Thomas's and Red giant flying squirrels, and Pen-tailed tree-shrew. As many of these mammals are nocturnal or crepuscular, the duration of night drives in this area is generally somewhat longer than is the case elsewhere: typically, ardent mammal-watchers will be out from after dinner to around midnight or even a bit later. (In which case, guests tend to have a lie-in and seek diurnal wildlife from mid-morning and afterwards). Flexibility works well for instance if during a night drive, rain buckets down: in such cases, its often better to return to the chalets, get some sleep and wake up around 04h00 the following morning for a part-night, part-morning drive. 
 
Visitors to Deramakot can also rack up a lovely list of bird sightings - highly sought-after species regularly ticked off here include Bornean falconet, Little green pigeon; the (often frustrating) Bornean ground-cuckoo; Red bearded bee-eater; Greater green leaf-bird; Blue-eared barbet; Spectacled spiderhunter; Red-throated and Van Hasslet's sunbirds; Velvet-fronted nuthatch and Yellow-rumped flowerpecker, among many other tantalising species.  As ever, lowland troplcal rainforest birding can be hard work, but rewards are usually ample. (Having an experienced and knowledgeable guide is key, as otherwise one stands the chance of seeing just a fraction of what is really possible).
 
Guests are able to enjoy very interesting presentations on sustainable logging and the work being conducted at the site
in order to manage resources sustainably.
 
Please note that as Borneo is a really popular nature tourism destination, accommodations at sites such as Deramakot need to be booked at least 8 - 12 months in advance, to avoid disappointment.
 
 
 

 

Shelley Phillips

Travel Specialist

I'm here to tailor-make your perfect holiday. Give me a call and I'll use my expertise to create your personalised experience.
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