Deramakot Forest Reserve
The Deramakot Forest Reserve is a large government-managed rainforest reserve with 10% of the forest set aside for conservation and 90% set aside for reduced-impact logging. The logging here is carried-out in a selective way leaving behind a patchwork of undisturbed forest interspersed with small patches of regrowth. Ironically, this diverse patchwork of forest types creates the perfect conditions for wildlife and Deramakot is quickly emerging as one of Sabah’s best wildlife watching destinations. Over time, it’s hoped that the income generated by wildlife tourism will start to rival that generated by logging and help to preserve this important rainforest area for generations to come.
Game drives during the day often encounter orang-utans, gibbons, langur monkeys (usually maroon lagurs but occasionally silvery langurs and the very rare Sabah grizzled langur), macaques, deer, hornbills and a wide range of other birds. The area is particularly gaining a reputation for its night drives where a range of nocturnal animals are often seen. Common sightings include civets (most commonly Malay civet, common palm civet and striped palm civet), flying squirrels (giant red and Thomas’s), leopard cats, deer (mostly samba and muntjac), slow loris, colugo (flying lemur) and bearded pigs. Less common sightings include marbled cat, sun bear, otter civet, binturong and pangolin. This is also now regarded as arguably the best place in the world to see the rare and highly elusive clouded leopard. Sightings are by no means guaranteed and you have to work hard at these but many people have been successful in the past.
Deramakot is a working forestry station with a wide range of accommodation options for rangers, researchers and volunteers. Most tourists are accommodated in the four guest chalets each of which is split into four bedrooms with a shared central seating area with water cooler. The bedrooms are small, functional and pretty comfortable with en suite bathrooms, hot water showers and air-conditioning. The Deramakot restaurant is large and canteen-like with private cooks usually brought in to provide simple local meals. There is no WiFi and very little cell-phone reception at the station. There are a few overgrown trails to follow or, alternatively, the approach road provides safe walking through the forest allowing for independent wildlife spotting during your spare time. Most of your time here is spent on day or night drives through the rainforest.
Deramakot is rich in wildlife with 75% of Sabah’s mammal species found within its 55,507 hectares of mixed dipterocarp forest. Common sightings at Deramakot include orang-utans, gibbons, langur monkeys (usually maroon langurs but occasionally silvery langurs and the very rare Sabah grizzled langur), macaques, deer, hornbills and a wide range of other birds. Deramakot night drives reveal civets (most commonly Malay civet, common palm civet and striped palm civet), flying squirrels (giant red and Thomas’s), leopard cats, deer (mostly samba and muntjac), slow loris, colugo (flying lemur) and bearded pigs. Rarer sightings can include Borneo pygmy elephants, Banteng (wild cattle), western tarsier, marbled cat, sun bear, otter civet, binturong and pangolin. Deramakot is also now regarded as arguably the best place in the world to see the rare and highly elusive clouded leopard.
Day and/or night drives (a total of seven hours a day) are usually included in your stay here. You guide can also take you for day or night walks on the trails should you prefer this.
Most mammal enthusiasts come to the Deramakot Forest Reserve for the nocturnal species but it is worth mixing in some daytime drives as well. The forest is full of wildlife and you are usually driving on forest ridges meaning that you are often at eye-level or above the forest below. This means your views of primates and forest birds can often be a lot clearer than other locations in Borneo.
If you have any questions regarding our Borneo tours, please feel free to contact me on +44 (0)1803 866965
We had a brilliant trip to Borneo and (apart from Clouded Leopard) we saw everything we anticipated and more. If we were doing it again we would probably add another night or two to Deramakot and leave rest the same. Deramakot is a fantastic location, so remote and peaceful. Accommodation is basic but adequate considering the location. We were actually the only guests there most of the time.