Camp Borneo Island 1 Month
Arrive by boat on to your paradise island home in the South China Sea, Camp Mantanani. Blue skies, towering palm trees, crystal blue waters and ancient drift wood decorate the white sands. Behind the idyllic surface lies a number of environmental and socio-economic challenges facing this isolated island community. You’ll make a difference to the community that our camp is based alongside, working on projects to combat waste management, inadequate school facilities and overfishing. Help teach conversational English to the local children and arrange games and sports sessions to keep them active and engaged in their education. You’ll have time to relax and soak in island life on Mantanani. Snorkel, kayak, swim and get yourself up early to walk to the tip of the island for the most beautiful sunrise you’ve ever seen.
The second two weeks of your programme will be spent back on the mainland at Camp Bongkud, under the watchful eye of mighty Mount Kinabalu. We’re building a kindergarten here, so you’ll be involved in improving the local education infrastructure. The area is rich in culture, history and natural diversity; we’ll take you to visit tea plantations (see where your cuppa started life), and visit the world’s only Sun Bear Conservation Centre. You’ll become part of the community during your month in Borneo, truly immersed in the local culture and inspired by the warmth of the people you meet.
The impact you will make
Developing Community Amenities (Mantanani)
The small isolated community of Mantanani remains one of the poorest in the region with high levels of unemployment. Many families have set up homestay initiatives to generate income for their families. You’ll help by continuing the development of a purpose built office & reception to welcome guests and expand this initiative.
- Digging foundations & laying bricks
- Plastering, painting and decorating buildings
- Installing bathroom facilities for visitor toilets
- Making furniture
Kindergarten Development (Bongkud)
Bongkud village has a small kindergarten that uses a small church building. However, the population of young children in the village is growing fast and the current kindergarten is becoming overcrowded. You’ll help by continuing the development of a purpose built kindergarten, providing a stimulating and safe environment where these young children can learn and play.
- Digging classroom foundations & laying bricks
- Plastering, painting and decorating buildings
- Making classroom furniture
- Creating a play area & landscaping
- Installing water storage tanks & associated piping
What people say
For those who love white sand beaches, crystal blue waters and their own remote tropical island (and let’s face it, who doesn’t?), Mantanani might just be the perfect location.
The island lies about 80km north of Kota Kinabalu and is home to around 800 permanent residents. The surrounding coral reef and lagoon are home to juvenile turtles, rays, a variety of tropical fish and even the occasional dolphin passes by.
The camp itself is set right on the beach a little way from the main village where many of our community projects are based, allowing you to feel part of this amazing community for the time that you’re here.
Location: 80 km north of Kota Kinabalu. (around 1.5 hrs drive from KK to Kuala Abai Jetty, then 1 hr boat ride to Mantanani Island)
Accommodation: Beautiful open sided driftwood bunk houses with comfy mattresses & bedding including mosquito net. Asian style toilets, cold water showers & sinks
Power: Generator (between 18:00 – 06:00). British 3 pin power sockets
Phone Signal: Intermittent
Meals: Three healthy, well balanced and tasty meals a day e.g. bread, pancakes, oats for breakfast; rice, beef stew/fish with veg for lunch/dinner & fruit
Signature dish: Stewed beef in soy sauce & pumpkin in coconut milk
If you’re feeling brave: Try Sambal Bellman (shrimp paste) or Kuih Tahai
Social: Beach, campfire, snorkelling, kayak, volleyball
Set in the shadows of the mighty Mount Kinabalu, Camp Bongkud is surrounded on all sides by lush picturesque scenery. It’s hillside location gives it a pleasant breezy climate which makes it the ideal hillside retreat after a hard day’s project work.
Being in the heart of the village also has its advantages; all your project sites are only a short walk away and you can challenge the locals to a friendly game of volleyball on the community court during your downtime.
Location: 140 km (3-4 hours drive) from Kota Kinabalu Airport & 30 km from Kudat
Accommodation: Traditional longhouses with comfy mattresses & bedding including mosquito net. Flushing toilets, cold water showers & sinks
Power: Mains electricity backed up by generator (between 18:00 – 22:00). British 3 pin power sockets
Phone Signal: Yes
Meals: Three healthy, well balanced and tasty meals a day e.g. bread, pancakes, rice/noodles for breakfast; rice, chicken curry with veg for lunch/dinner & fruit
Signature dish: Banana fritters & steamed banana cake
If you’re feeling brave: Try Tuhau (wild ginger), Tuntul (river snails) or Butod (sago worm)!
Social: Chilling hut, volleyball court, badminton & board games
Manager at Camp Bongkud, she might be small, but Eve is a force to be reckoned with. Super organised and tons of fun, she’ll get you addicted to coconut jam and dancing in true Sabahan style.
Day to day - Sample itinerary
Welcome to Borneo
Arrive in Kota Kinabalu, where you will be met at the airport by a member of our Camp Borneo team and transferred to your accommodation in the city. Here you will meet our Country Manager who will run an arrival briefing for you and your group before your welcome dinner.
Welcome to Camp Mantanani
After a much needed sleep and a good breakfast, you will be transferred to the paradise island of Mantanani by boat. Meet the Camp Mantanani team, including your Camp Manager, who will give you a tour of the island. You will also have an overview of what your time here will involve. Then it’s time to choose your bed in your new beach style longhouse home.
Spend the next few days volunteering alongside the island communities. This is your chance to get stuck in to some valuable initiatives such as helping to build community ablutions, teaching basic English to primary age children, working on our marine conservation & awareness programme and running fun activities and sports sessions with the local children.
What better place to spend a relaxing weekend. Kayak, snorkel, sunbathe, watch the most amazing sunrise and sunsets you’ve ever seen.
Get stuck back into project work.
Explore the vibrant town known as KK. Check out the shops and culture. You’ll spend your last night in a hostel in KK, there’s plenty of bars and restaurants.
Welcome to Camp Bongkud
Upon arrival you will meet our Camp Bongkud staff, including your Camp Manager who will show you around. You will also be given an overview of what your time here will involve.
Chill out weekend
A well deserved weekend off and a perfect time to enjoy the hot spring pools at Poring Hot Springs. You will also be taken on a tour of a tea plantation and Kundasang WW2 memorial.
Spend 7 days working on community projects which include the building of a kindergarten.
Chill out weekend
Explore your amazing surroundings.
Get stuck back in to project work.
We’ll transfer you to KK, you’ll stay overnight in a hostel. Enjoy a farewell meal and drinks.
Time to say our goodbyes, we will get you to the airport for your flight.
Top up your trip
Add some extra adventure to your time in Borneo. All of our top ups are bookable through our friendly travel advisers.
Jungle Trek Borneo
Experience a true jungle adventure and get back to nature by spending a few days trekking in the beautiful and ancient rainforests of Borneo, away from civilization. Spend your days trekking through dense forests and...Find Out More
PADI Scuba Borneo
Borneo is surrounded by beautiful beaches, blue tropical ocean and abundant coral reefs, so why not take the opportunity to explore this underwater paradise! Whether you are a complete novice or an experienced diver, there...Find Out More
Don’t forget… flights, travel insurance, visas and vaccinations. Please note, you must be over 18 years old at time of departure.