Kinabatangan River – Orangutans at Gomantong Caves

Perhaps most famous as the cave Sir David Attenborough slept in, while filming the documentary series ‘Planet Earth’. The Gomantong cave system in Sandakan province, Borneo, is definitely worth including on your Borneo itinerary.

The caves are located a couple of hours drive from Sandakan, but very close to many of the river lodges and accommodation in the area. We visited the caves after our 5 days on the river, on our way back to Sandakan.

Upon entering the caves you are met by the unmistakable smell of Guano and millions of insects, principally cockroaches and centipedes. Sound appealing yet? The caves are also home to a large colony of bats who can be seen flying in and out of the main entrance.

At certain times of the year the caves are home to thousands of swiftlets, whose edible nest has become a delicacy throughout Asia, as the principle component of ‘Birds Nest Soup’.

It’s an amazing sight to watch the locals farming the bird’s nests by climbing into the far reaches of the cave on makeshift ladder systems.

However, the main reason we were there was actually what was outside the cave. The jungle surrounding the caves is home to a number of wild Orangutans and other primates. We were lucky enough to view a mother Orangutan and her very young baby on our walk to the caves. You can see the pictures below.

Been to the caves? Feel free to post a comment below.

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