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Bako, a haven for nature lovers

Article and Photos by Catharine Goh

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Nature lovers can see silver leaf monkey at Bako

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Spotted carnivorous pitcher plant

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Pandan Kecil beach

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Scrub-like vegetation in Bako

KUCHING - Unlike some national parks elsewhere, a nature trip to Bako, in the northern tip of the Muara Tebas peninsular in Sarawak is almost guaranteed of the sighting of wildlife.

Apart from containing a rich variety of wildlife and a coastline covered with small bays, coves and beaches, it is possible to see nearly every type of vegetation found in Borneo.

Despite its seemingly small size of only 27 sq km, Bako has a wide range of vegetation - swamp forest, scrub-like padang vegetation, mangrove forest, dipterocarp forest, delicate cliff vegetation and more.

In fact since it became a national park in 1957, Bako offers the perfect introduction to Sarawak's forests and wildlife.

With such beautiful and readily accessible plant life, it is not surprising that one can spot a great variety of vegetation ranging from mighty 80-metre dipterocarps to dense mangrove forests along the trails.

Carnivorous pitcher plants are also found on the Lintang trail, which like the other well-marked trails provide short pleasant strolls to serious full-time hikes.

Along the way, long-tailed macaque monkeys and silver leaf monkeys are ever present while wild boar are often found rummaging around park headquarters.

Squirrels and monitor lizards are also common. On the Telok Paku and Telok Delima trails, for instance, there is every chance of seeing the rare and unusual proboscis monkeys, particularly in late afternoons. Nature lovers would be more likely to see wildlife if they quietly follow the trails and keep listening as they would probably hear the crash of vegetation before being able to locate a proboscis monkey high up in the forest canopy.

While all the beaches are bordered by limestone and sandstone cliffs with the action of the sea leaving behind some remarkable formations, such as the famous Sea Stack, Pandan Kecil is considered as Bako's best beach.

And if you take a stroll at sunset at Telok Assam near the park headquarters, you will see hundreds of swifts hovering around their nests at the rocks at the beach.

And on a good day, wait another 20 minutes as the sky's colours often change dramatically, providing colourful backdrop to Mount Santubong.

Source: Borneo Bulletin Sunday

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