Tailor Made Borneo   

Currently available as a tailor made photographic safari

  • Specialist photography and film making safari with optional add-ons

  • Suggested 4 centre tour - experience the true diversity of Borneo's wildlife and habitats

  • Personalise your tour to suit your particular photographic interests - add specialist birding destinations, Komodo dragons 

  • Photography Tutor - Trai Anfield - wildlife photographer, film maker, travel writer and presenter of BBC's The Living World

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Borneo and biodiversity are synonymous.  From birds to orang-utans, and

butterflies to sun bears, the wildlife here is dazzling . . . and we'll sample it all!

Borneo Highlights

  • Four of Sabah's premier wildlife destinations:

    • Sepilok

    • Kinabatangan River

    • Danum valley

    • Deramakot

  • Abundant and diverse wildlife

  • Varied habitats including primary rainforest, montane forest and rivers

  • Private boat, walking & 4x4 safaris

  • Max 3 photographers per boat

  • 1-2-1 Photography & film making tuition & critique sessions with Trai Anfield

  • Private wildlife guide throughout the tour

  • Air-conditioned lodge accommodation

  • Visit & support conservation initiatives

  • Post production sessions

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Sepilok

We start our Borneo safari in the little town of Sepilok, famous for housing three of Borneo's most prominent conservation initiatives: 

  • Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre
     

  • Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre
     

  • Rainforest Discovery Centre

We will of course visit and support all of these projects, and  'get our eye in' photographing the wild inhabitants, as well as those undergoing rehabilitation, before setting off into Borneo's rainforests.  

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A real bonus here in Sepilok is our lodge.  In addition to its own beautiful grounds filled with birds, butterflies, squirrels and monkeys, the resort backs on to the orang-utan sanctuary and the wild orang-utan that often visit the sanctuary to befriend the young orphans (and steal their food!) can often be seen around the grounds of the lodge.  Air conditioning and a pool are not usually on our list of plusses for accommodation  but here in Borneo, where it is extremely hot and humid year-round we are extremely glad of both in the best place in town!

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Deramakot 

Deramakot is rich in wildlife with 75% of Sabah’s mammal species found within its 55,507 hectares of mixed dipterocarp forest.

 

As such it is one of Sabah’s best wildlife watching destinations., despite also being semi-protected logging area, with 10% of the forest set aside purely for conservation and 90% set aside for reduced impact logging.  Orangutan, pygmy elephants, Banteng (wild cattle), proboscis monkeys and clouded leopards are just some of the iconic species that are found at Deramakot, alongside a dazzling profusion of phenomenal Bornean birds.

We will explore Deramakot's rich biodiversity on foot and by 4 wheel drive safari vehicles.  Here we set a rhythm of starting the day with a pre-dawn 4x4 safari, returning to the lodge for breakfast then going out on a jungle walk (optional). Afternoons are free at your own leisure, or perhaps giving time to request a 1-2-1 critique session with Trai.  After dinner we head out for nocturnal species on an exciting and atmospheric 4×4 night safari.

 

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Kinabatangan River

Our wilderness lodge here is only accessible by boat, and all of our safaris will be in small boats, exploring the Kinanbatangan river and it's backwaters and tributaries.  

 

One of the major species we will hope to see is the extremely rare pygmy elephant.  These wonderfully charming elephants come to the river to eat, drink and bathe, appearing even smaller than they actually are amongst the giant grasses along the river bank!

 

Alongside our boats the trees lurch and sway as troupes of proboscis monkey, and longtail and pigtail macaque feed, fight and play, executing death-defying leaps from branch to branch.  Silver leaf and red leaf monkeys decorate the trees here too, along with the more elusive orang-utan.  Crocs and water monitors lurk on the banks, while the sky is full of hornbills, kingfishers and eagles - we have even spotted the white fronted falconette. 

 

For an optimum photography experience we have booked two safari craft, ensuring a maximum of 3 photographers per boat. 

Trai will alternate between boats providing tuition. 

In addition to twice daily small boat safaris we also offer a night boat safari and guided day and night walks through the jungle.  

We may encounter any of the major species on foot, and walking is the best way to photograph the smaller creatures and flora of this biodiversity haven.  The perfect time to give your telephoto lens a rest and your macro lens an outing!

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Danum Valley

For the finale of our Brilliant Borneo safari we head deep into one of the world's most precious environments - and the jewel in Borneo's biodiversity crown - primary rainforest.  The Danum Valley has never been permanently settled, extensively hunted or commercially logged, so this is a pristine habitat, with huge trees that are hundreds of years old, supporting a staggering array of species.  The Valley is home to all ten of Sabah’s primate species including orangutan, Müller's Bornean gibbon, and Horsfield's tarsier, along with exceedingly rare Bornean rhinoceros, clouded leopard, sun bear, marbled and flat-headed cats and pygmy elephant.  

 

The area is rich in bird life too, and is the only place that the spectacled flowerpecker has ever been recorded.  Other avian highlights include crested fireback pheasant,  black-and-yellow and black-and-red broadbills, trogons and flycatchers.  The huge variety of insects and land snails also prove fascinating subjects for macro photography here, along with Wallace’s flying frog if you can catch it still!

At night the forest's nocturnal inhabitants come to life, and our guides will lead us on walks and vehicle safaris to photograph the new cast of characters that roam after dark, including red giant flying squirrels, “flying lemur” (Malayan colugo) and bearded pig.

Borneo Rainforest Lodge is the ultimate place to stay in the Danum Valley, with it's wonderful facilities, total focus on wildlife and some of the most experienced and most charismatic guide in Borneo.  Our expeditions here will take us through a maze of forest trails, fabulous canopy walkways through the tops of the tall trees here, and out on the Danum River.  What a fitting place to end a fabulous trip!

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Best time to visit!

We recommend June-September to coincide with the driest season here, though the high temperatures in Sabah don't vary much throughout the year, and nor does the high humidity.  That's why we've opted for accommodation with air conditioning - not something we normally embrace! - throughout our stay.

 

Sample Itinerary

 

Day 1: On arrival at Sandakan airport , you will be met and transferred to the Sepilok Nature Resort (full board). Rest of the afternoon and evening to relax.

Day 2: Morning and afternoon Orangutan sanctuary visits, night walk Rainforest Discovery Centre. Overnight SNR

Day 3: Optional early morning birding in Rainforest Discovery Centre followed by Sun Bear sanctuary private tour. Overnight Sepilok Nature Resort.

Day 4: After breakfast you will be transferred to to Deramakot by 4WD and expect to arrive around 1600hrs. Arrive, proceed with briefing and get familiarisation of Deramakot Lodge. Then go on a forest walk near the base station. After dinner go on 4×4 night safari to look for wildlife. After approx. two hours of ‘spot lighting’ and searching for wildlife return to the lodge. Overnight at Deramakot Lodge (full board).

 

Deramakot is rich in wildlife with 75% of Sabah’s mammal species (see attached species list) found within its 55,507 hectares of mixed dipterocarp forest. Deramakot is a logging area with 10% of the forest set aside for conservation and 90% set aside for reduced impact logging. Although it is a logging concession Deramakot is one of Sabah’s best wildlife watching destinations. Orangutan, pygmy elephants, Banteng (wild cattle), proboscis monkeys and clouded leopards are just some of the iconic species that are found at Deramakot

 

Day 5: Early morning wake-up call at 0500 in the morning. Then depart for a pre-dawn four-wheel drive safari. Drive along the various tracks in the reserve looking for wildlife. Return to the lodge for breakfast. After breakfast go on a jungle walk (optional). Return to the lodge for lunch. Afternoon is free at your own leisure. After dinner go on another 4×4 night safari. Overnight at the lodge

 

Day 6: Continue to explore the biodiversity of Deramakot via treks and four-wheel drive safaris. Start the day with a pre-dawn wildlife safari. Return to the lodge for breakfast then go a jungle walk. Afternoon is free at your own leisure. After dinner go on another 4×4 night safari. Overnight at the lodge. NB You will have access for at least 10 hours to the 4X4 vehicle, to maximise your wildlife viewing time.

Day 7: After breakfast transferred by vehicle and then boat to ‘Kinabatangan Wetlands Resort’ (full board). You will have time for an afternoon boat safari that day.

Days 8&9: For the wildlife activities on the Kinabatangan River you will have one private boats for your group. If you have you own private boat and guide, you have opportunities to go out early morning, mid-morning and in the afternoon on boat safaris. Chances to see Probosis Monkeys, Macques, Orangutans and Forest Elephants. Overnight at Abai Jungle Lodge

Day 10: After breakfast you will be transferred to Borneo Rainforest Lodge beside Danum River on the edge of 438 sq. km of undisturbed lowland rainforest. The Lodge is home to the full range of Sabah's lowland fauna, including the rare Sumatran Rhinoceros, Elephants, Clouded Leopards, and Orangutans. So far some 275 species of birds have been recorded in the area. Explore nature trail and nearby river. In the evening a slide show and if weather permits we go spotlighting to view some of the nocturnal animals.  Overnight at ‘Borneo Rainforest Lodge’

Day 11: Early morning bird walk before breakfast. Spend the whole day exploring the forest for birds and mammals, leading up to an escarpment with ancient burial coffins. In the afternoon, explore more trails leading to canopy walkway. Overnight at Borneo Rainforest Lodge.

Days 12&13: Expect early starts and walking in humid conditions as we explore one of the most beautiful forests in SE Asia; looking to see and photograph the full variety of its wildlife treasures. Overnight at Borneo Rainforest Lodge.

Day 14: When appropriate you will be transferred to Lahad Datu to connect with your onward international flight 

 

Cost: £7550 (based on a group of 4 sharing two twin/double rooms throughout) 

Single Room supplement: Not applicable

Quoted costs are valid for bookings departing during 2022-2023  

 

Includes

  • All accommodation air conditioned

  • Meals on a Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner basis (Full board) 

  • All photographic tuition & critique sessions

  • Private boat, walking & 4x4 safaris

  • 2 private open 4x4 vehicles for our group of 4 photographers at Deramakot - max 2 photographers plus tutor per vehicle

  • Max 4 photographers & tutor per private boat

  • English-speaking private wildlife guide throughout the tour

  • All road transfers by private, air-conditioned vehicle

  • All applicable park fees & admission fees

  • Mineral water in vehicle
     

Excludes:

  • Flights to and from Borneo (international flights)

  • Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages

  • Tips & Gratuities to drivers/guides/lodge staff etc.

  • Any items of a personal nature

  • Personal Travel Insurance

  • Photographic equipment

Please note international and domestic flights are not included. 

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Booking Your Tailor Made Borneo Safari


 

Please contact us for a tailor made quote based on your preferred itinerary and group size, which will include:

  • All accommodation (air conditioned)

  • All meals on a Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner basis (Full board) 

  • All photographic tuition & critique sessions

  • Private boat, walking & 4x4 safaris

  • Max 4 photographers per boat

  • English-speaking private wildlife guide throughout the tour

  • All road transfers by private, air-conditioned vehicle

  • All applicable park fees & admission fees

  • Mineral water in vehicle, boat

Excludes:

  • Flights to and from Borneo (international flights)

  • Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages

  • Tips & Gratuities to drivers/guides/lodge staff etc.

  • Any items of a personal nature

  • Personal Travel Insurance

  • Photographic equipment

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Suggested add-ons

Komodo - Dragons, Diving & Divine Relaxation

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Recommended Equipment

 

Photographic gear:

  • Camera body (and a spare of some description is recommended just in case. . . accidents can happen!)

  • A variety of lenses* that suit both wildlife photography (telephoto) and landscape photography (wider angle).   The wider end of the spectrum (anything from 10mm – 50mm) will give great shots that include some habitat context as well as your subject, and may also come in handy for night time astro photography if conditions allow.   For closer portraits and action shots 300mm – 500mm is ideal.   You may also have the chance to use a macro lens, for instance on flora and insects.

    * Please note: if you would like to hire a lens for the trip we can recommend some reliable providers

  • A water & dirt proof covering for your camera and lens – for this trip, in addition to your usual camera bag we suggest bringing either a large dry bag of the sort divers use, or a few heavy duty bin liners - when it rains here it can be very intense!    

  • Plenty of spare batteries and your charger

  • Plenty of spare cleared memory cards

  • A monopod or photographic bean bag can be useful for support and stabilisation of long lenses when shooting from the boats. A monopod or tripod is advisable for bird and primate photography in low light conditions on foot in the jungle .​

  • Laptop and an external drive to download, backup, process and store your photographs. . . you will almost certainly fill your memory cards more than once!  If you wish to receive advice on editing your own photographs on the trip please bring a laptop loaded with the software you use – Trai is happy to demonstrate both Photoshop and Lightroom on her laptop but you will process your own.

  • A head torch is also advisable for night sessions (one with a red light option if possible) and around the lodges generally.

  • If you are bringing a new camera we recommend uploading the user manual to your smartphone.

 

Clothing & Personal Items:

Borneo is hot and humid all year round, which means you will get through a lot of changes of clothes, and they can also take a while to dry - bring spares of everything! 

 

We routinely use mosquito-resistant clothing: even though this part of Borneo is a low risk malaria area, other insect borne diseases such as dengue can be transmitted through bites.  At time of writing anti-malarial tablets are not necessary, but please check current advice in case of status changes .

For jungle walking safaris we very strongly recommend:

  • full length sleeve shirts

  • full length trousers

  • leech resistant socks  

  • sturdy waterproof walking shoes or boots, although you will also be offered wellingtons in most places

For general wear and boat safaris

  • lightweight clothing which gives good sun protection

  • full brim sun hat - canopy walkways and boats are completely open to allow full visibility.

Other

mosquito repellent

sun screen

rehydration sachets

antibacterial hand sanitiser

all routine medication (bring extra in case of loss or spoiling)