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Listed as a conservation area covering 58,840 hectors, Maliau Basin is a huge bowl of pristine forests described as one of the few remaining relatively untouched wilderness areas in the world. To date, only about 2,000 people have set foot in the Maliau Basin and only less than 50% of the area has been explored.

It is a global hot spot for conservation biodiversity with over 290 species of bird and 80 mammal species. Some of Sabah’s rarest mammals call Maliau Basin their home; the Clouded leopard, Malayan Sun-bears, Borneo’s Pygmy Elephants and Proboscis Monkeys to name a few.

The Sabah State Government has approved the World Heritage Site nomination of Maliau Basin and work is busily being carried out to secure this status. Raleigh Borneo are supporting this work through an evolving programme.

Since 2002 Raleigh has had expedition teams supporting project work in Maliau Basin ranging for:
• Infrastructural development (bridge construction enabling scientific access to remote areas),
• Research (biodiversity surveys),
• Education (interpretive materials, better access and support for environmental education programmes with schools)
• Community outreach.

Venturer team in MaliauBlog_Borneo_maliaudinner

Venturer team in MaliauIMG_3707
The importance of Maliau Basin as a project site for Raleigh are the conservation and climate change value, its diverse landscape for endangered species of plants and animals, and the several rivers which are essential for ecosystems for communities downstream.

Venturer Alice from the UK recently shared her experience of her first phase in Maliau Basin:

Venturuer Alice
Venturer Alice

“I have found that experiences like Raleigh are quite difficult to explain and even harder to understand from ‘the outside’. So I am going to try to describe what a day in the life of my Alpha group is like here in Maliau Basin:

5am – You don’t want to be awake, but you will be. There are so many beautiful things out in the jungle; the stars, the wildlife, the heat. But when you are woken up by the noise of the Cicada (insects best known for their buzzing and clicking noises) you can sometimes feel not so pro jungle.

7am – You have managed to get a little bit more sleep and you hear everyone around you getting up (well at least I do, I’m not good at waking up) and you think you might as well join them.

7:30am – Questions: How are you going to make your porridge today? Are you going to use your milk powder allocation in your tea or your porridge? Have you taken you anti- malarial pills? What work are we going to do today?

8:3am – After breakfast, getting washing and dressed, you are now getting your walking boots on and waiting for Robin (Ranger Supervisor) to turn up

8:45am to 12pm – Morning work is varied here at Maliau Basin. We’ve done a lot of carrying wood and there’s that exciting moment when you think you can see your muscles developing. Along with the Rangers we help construct some bridges using hand drills, saws and digging holes two feet deep for the supports. By midday you’re pretty hungry and very sweaty.

12-12:30pm Lunch break – You check the job rota to see who’s on cooking duty. If it is you, you start planning how to prepare the lunch crackers – with soup? Tuna and sweetcorn? Hummus? It’s a great chance to get creative and we have managed to eat very well.

2:30pm – You’ve had a chance to do some washing, had a nap and you have had a great lunch. Now it’s time for afternoon work. You could be carrying more wood, nailing the planks of a bridge down or taking up an old bridge. All of this with the help of the lovely expert Rangers. It is incredibly hot, and you have never been more grateful for the thick leaf cover of the tall forest trees.

4-7pm – It has been a long day and you have never been so ready for a shower. You might get time to swim in the river first before 6 ‘o’ clock, or as we now affectionately call it as longs ‘o’ clock, where we all put on long clothes to protect from Mosquitoes

7pm – Dinner time! In our group while we are waiting for food to be ready we fill our time playing cards and bananagrams. We have managed to make some pretty elaborate meals ranging from curry to bean burgers to stir fry noodles.. You also can’t forget the tinned fruit as dessert to give you that little boost of energy.

9:00pm Bedtime! P.S Make sure your mosquito net is intact and there aren’t any surprise friends in your bed!

Rafael a venturer on expedition from Spain took time to reflect on his experience in the Basin:

Venturer Rafael
Venturer Rafael

“We have been digging holes for posts, preparing foundations, measuring, nailing, sawing and most of all transporting the large Belian Wood or ‘ Iron Wood’ (which is resistant to termites, and can last up to 100 years after being cut) to the construction sites along the trail. We are beginning to get a feel for the larger project being developed here at Maliau Basin and what a fantastic place we are working together to help to protect.

It has been fantastic to work with the rangers here at Maliau Basin. They are really friendly and open, quick with a smile and happy to teach us a thing or two. It has been a great experience working on a daily basis with these men who are dedicated to looking after this incredible world heritage site-to-be!

Our work on the trails here has helped the rangers reopen the ‘Knowledge trail’ and improve conditions on the ‘Belian trail’ this will help access for ecotourism which in turn will increase the number of projects the Rangers can embark on such as more interpretive signage, substituting diesel run generators for hydroelectric systems and make Malian Basin more sustainable and eco-friendly”.


Looking Ahead:
29th March – Change Over Two
30th March – Allocations to Alpha Groups for Phase three
31st March – Deployment to Phase three locations
7th April – World Health Day

Remember you can contact anyone on 16A expedition here 

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