Semenggoh Wildlife Centre
An orangutan poses for a photo at Semenggoh.Photo by Greg Rodgers.
The Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre is located about 20 km. away from Kuching in Sarawak and is an easy way to encounter orangutans face to face. The orangutans here are semi-wild, they are being rehabilitated to be later released to Sarawak’s rainforests. The Semenggoh Wildlife Centre is the cheapest place in Borneo for a guaranteed orangutan encounter.
Do not expect wild rainforests, unfortunately. There is no sitting quietly waiting in the bush for the signalling sound of moving trees. More likely you will be surrounded by tourists with flashing cameras and ringing mobiles even though they have been politely asked by the Semenggoh rangers to switch them off.
Visitors are no longer allowed to walk through the rainforest on their own in order to protect both animals and humans. The Semenggoh Wildlife Centre welcomes you with a warning poster and a few nasty photographs showing what a monkey attack might look like. Take some time to read about the project and the centre’s vision. Every orangutan has its own story that is printed together with a photograph. The biographies of each orangutan show just how much love the rangers have for these endangered animals.
Feeding times are when you have the best opportunity to see some orangutans. The rangers seem to learn a bit of the orangutaneese language; they have a special way to let them know that there are visitors waiting.
The orangutans eventually come to the feeding platforms to score some juicy fruit and check out what is going on in their corner of the forest. The orangutans are shy but also curious.
You may see less orangutans during the months of November to April when fruit is more abundant in the wild.
Feeding times are between 9.00 to 10.00 a.m. and between 3.00 to 3.30 p.m.
Entrance and Open Hours
The centre is opened seven days a week from 8.00 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. and from 2.00 p.m. to 4.00 p.m. The entrance fee is 3RM for adults and 1.50RM for children.
Getting to Semenggoh Wildlife Centre
The buses from the STC bus station on Jalan Mosque in Kuching to Semenggoh Wildlife Centre are not the most frequent or reliable. Keep an eye on buses #6, #6A, #6B and #6C. The official time schedule states that bus #6 is leaving STC every day at 7.30 a.m, and 1.30 p.m. The bus goes directly to the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre. Always ask the driver to drop you off at your desired destination. From the gates where you get off the bus, it takes about 30 minutes of walking to reach the actual centre.
If you catch some other bus, it may drop you off in the nearby village; expect to walk between three to five km. to reach the centre. The locals are always keen to help with the directions, even though the language barrier might be quite a problem. Use hands, legs, pretend to be an orangutan yourself to get your message across!