Tabin Wildlife is located approximately 1 ½ hour drive from the Lahad Datu Airport, which is accessible via land or air from Kota Kinabalu City. With an area of 112,000 hectare reserve Tabin home to the rarest and endangered mammals to be found the Sumatran Rhino, Orang Utan, Pygmy Elephant, Tembadau (wild buffalo) are to name the few that flocks tourist all over the world to Tabin Wildlife Reserve.
The drive along Tabin Wildlife Reserve goes through some oil palm plantation area, which covers about two-thirds of Tabin Wildlife Reserve. Though this may raise an eye brow of how this may have an effect on the wildlife, to which in fact that more of wildlife sightings took place along the drive by the oil palm plantation area.
For most tourist the sight of acres and acres of oil palm surrounding Tabin seems to throw a pessimistic notion of the area, are quickly turn about when the sights of mammals spotted by the plantation area. It is often a misconception that fractions of our rainforest were cleared to make way for the plantations, when in verity that this clearing of the forest took place as early as 1890 was then by the North Borneo Chartered Company to make way for timber industry, tobacco and rubber plantation to thrive. Sabah today make way for agriculture of all the felled rainforest during the British Colonial in Sabah and this benefitted the state’s economy alongside to the booming of the tourism industry in Sabah.
Rainforest of Tabin
Observing the flora and fauna of Tabin Wildlife Reserve reflect of astounding diversity of Borneo’s rainforest, offering the plausible sighting of mammals, brilliant colorful birds, and the magnificent world of insects where it lies in the largest conservation areas. The rainforest of Tabin are astonishingly rich in its species of trees and plants. The dipterocarps known as the two-winged seeds are among the most common trees found, one of the valuable tree found is the aloeswood that is pricey for its gaharu which is used as incense in the perfume industry.
The common sight of the Mengaris also known as Kompassia Excelsa trees, which is the tallest rainforest tree in the world has a very straight and smooth trunk that practically no animal or climbers plant that can conquered the tree made it safe for the bees to build their nest for honeycomb.
Wildlife of Tabin
Seeing wildlife in its natural habitat gives one that sense of overwhelming feeling and the ability to appreciate it at its best. Tabin is home to an impressive range of wildlife from the endangered mammal species to the small mammals, with the chance of the dusk drives and night drives activities offered at Tabin Wildlife Reserve.
The drives activity takes about 2 hours each takes the visitors along the plantation area and as well through the secondary and primary forest around the conservation area of Tabin. Our trip was a providential one as we catch a sight of the rare Pygmy Elephants of Borneo that surprised our group with a loud trumpet from their herd that our vehicle stop brusquely to have photo shots of the elephants only to stun us more that there was another herd about 3oo meters beyond us.
“The herd of Pygmy Elephants that was seen at about 300 meters beyond, to where the vehicle stopped.” Elephants generally live in a small herds consisting of one or several females and their offspring. The male juveniles when matured will leave the herd and live in bachelor groups of two to three males or may live as solitary individuals.
Tabin Wildlife Reserve home to some of the magnificent small cats and other carnivores, like the palm civet, Leopard Cat, Malay Civet were to name a few that we saw.
Several species of the nocturnal civet cat, such as the Malay Civet (above) are often spotted during the night drive, while the Palm Civet (below) commonly seen in secondary forest and the oil palm plantation around Tabin.
Macaques are common around the area that frequently seen are groups of the pig-tailed macaques. They are social primates that have a mischievous appearance, feed on crabs and other crustaceans found on a riverbank, other options include leaf buds and fruits.
The ground of Tabin is a dedicated for good bird watching as it has rich diversity of birds, from rare to endemic species, due the abundant food plants here.
Wake up the knocking sound on your balcony window by the Oriental Pied Hornbill. Frequently seen especially by the River Lodge, they perched by the balcony to catch their own reflection, which is thought to be of another male hornbill.
Comfort and hospitality of Tabin
Tabin is build in an eco-lodge setting with 10 twin bedrooms of the River Lodge lies alongside the Lipad River, another 10 bedrooms of the Hill Lodge for those prefers the privacy by the hill side whereby five of these rooms are double bedrooms suitable for honeymooners.
For the comfort of visitors the Sunbird Café is located nearby both River Lodge and Hill Lodge, and link by a boardwalk that stretch out towards the ‘Rock Pool’ ideal for snap shots of the otters that are frequent visitor to the ‘Rock Pool’ – There is a build hideout that is for one to sit and wait for these excellent little fish hunters to come by for their snack.
In relativity to activity that one can opt for are the trails around the Tabin ground that welcomes the visitors to explore on their own a chance to catch a glimpse of the wildlife that skulk the trails. At around the ground area trees and plants are well marked to educate visitors of their significance, they are marked color coded to define their category as endemic, medicinal, fruit plants etc.
It is indeed a great awareness to be able to experience the wildlife at their natural environment, in a chill out and relax milieu that one can just kick back to take pleasure in with the comfort and hospitality of the genial staffs of Tabin Wildlife Reserve.
A standard package of 3 days and 2 nights may deem like a short trip with an amazing encounter of wildlife blend in with the millions stars of the heaven above, seems heartrending to finally say ‘see you again’ but never ‘goodbye’.
A signature of Tabin Wildlife Reserve – ‘Mud Volcano’ or mud dome created by geo-excreted liquids and gases, although there are several different processes which may cause such activity.